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How to Inspire Behavior Change

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You’ve tried everything, and the bad behavior continues. You don’t want to say “You need to change this behavior or else,” but the truth is–there will be consequences. Keep that “feedback-is-a-gift-and-I-care-about-you” loving feeling in mind, while having a direct conversation about specifically what must change. Don’t linger. Don’t sandwich. Do document.

The INSPIRE Method

Use the INSPIRE method to have a short, to the point, specific conversation about what must change.

I-  Initiate

Initiate the conversation in a respectful manner. Traditional feedback models always start with “asking for permission.” Most of the time that’s an awesome start. Sometimes, though, the conversation isn’t optional. You may need to be more direct.

“I need to talk to you today.  Is this a convenient time?”

N- Notice

Share your concern or observation.

“I’ve noticed there are paint drips on the floor when you leave a job.”

Or, “In listening to your calls, I’ve noticed you’re not really making a connection with the customer.”

S- Support

Provide supporting evidence.

“In the last two homes you painted, there was splattering on the hardwood in the dining room and on the rug in the baby’s room.”

Or, “When the customer told you they were calling to disconnect because their spouse had died, you didn’t express any empathy, you just said that you would be happy to disconnect the line.”

P- Provide

Provide specific suggestions on how the employee could improve.

“I suggest you put down a drop cloth every time you paint.  You should also use masking tape to protect drips on the molding.”

Or, “I suggest you stop to listen to what the customer is really saying, and pause and use an empathy statement before you jump right into action.”

I- Inquire

Ask one or two open ended questions to check for understand and one closed ended question to secure commitment.

“How would your results be better if you did that every time?”

“What concerns do you have about this approach?”

“Do I have your commitment to do that going forward?”

R- Review

Ask them to review what they are committing to do.

“Would you please recap what you’re going to differently next time?”

E- Enforce

Enforce the behavior and why it’s important, while reinforcing your confidence that they can do this.

“Using the drop cloth is a fundamental requirement of this job. In order for you to continue in this position you need to do a quality job.”

“I’m going to check back with you on your next three paint jobs (or calls) and look to ensure you keeping your commitment.”

“You are a very important member of this team and I have every confidence you can do this well.”

“Thank you.”

Often when behavior isn’t changing the feedback is too vague or the conversation goes so long, the employee forgets specifically what they need to do. Work to INSPIRE specific behavior change by using this easy technique.

Your turn. What are your favorite techniques for inspiring lasting behavior change?
Filed Under:   Communication
 
 
Karin Hurt
Karin Hurt
Karin Hurt helps leaders around the world achieve breakthrough results, without losing their soul. A former Verizon Wireless executive, she has over two decades of experience in sales, customer service, and HR. She was recently named on Inc's list of 100 Great Leadership Speakers, AMA's 50 Leaders to Watch in 2015, & Top Thought Leader in Trust by Trust Across America. She’s the author of 2 books: Winning Well: A Manager's Guide to Getting Results-Without Losing Your Soul and Overcoming an Imperfect Boss.
 

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What People Are Saying

LaRae Quy   |   22 April 2015   |   Reply

I love all of your points, Karin!

For me, positive feedback is one of the most effective. The ability to encourage new ideas and behavior is truly a talent! And walking next to a team member and giving them reinforcement and positive words can really make a huge difference…

Karin Hurt   |   23 April 2015   |   Reply

LaRae, Thanks so very much. I’m condidering using this model in my new book Winning Well. I’m so open to ideas to take it to the next level.

David Perks | Pay Compliment   |   30 April 2015   |   Reply

I love this approach Karin.

It is so important to provide this type of structure for leaders to feel more confident in the difficult task of giving feedback to others and then following up.

I have seen feedback backfire so many times due to poor scene setting, poor presentation, lack of evidence,absence of active listening and no follow up. This approach ticks all the boxes.

For any leaders who have tried everything to master the art of feedback, we’ve systematised good practices into our online feedback platform with templates, documented records, adhoc peer to peer feedback and leader schedules (because let’s hope there is more goodness to recognise than behaviour to correct).

This would be a great structure to use within the platform.

Karin Hurt   |   30 April 2015   |   Reply

David, thanks so much. Your tools sound helpful.

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