June 7, 2007
Book Short: Shamu-rific
I re-read an old favorite last night in preparation for a management training course I’m co-teaching today at Return Path: Ken Blanchard’s Whale Done! The Power of Positive Relationships. I was reminded why it’s an old favorite. It has a single concept which is simple but powerful. And yes, it’s based loosely on killer whale training tactics.
Accentuate the positive.
The best example in the book is actually a personal one more than a professional one. The main character of the book has a “problem” in that he chronically works late, then comes home and gets beat up by his wife about coming home so late. The result? No behavior change — and probably even a reinforcement of the behavior because, after all, who wants to come home and get beat up? The change as a result of the new philosophy? The wife thanks her husband when he does come home at a more reasonable hour, makes him a nice dinner, etc. which makes the husband WANT to come home earlier.
That’s probably a poor paraphrasing of the story, and as I’m typing the story out here, boy does it sound a bit 1950s in terms of its portrayal of gender role stereotypes. Nonetheless, I think it makes the point well.
Try it out sometime at work (or at home). Pick a behavior you want to see more of out of a direct report, especially one that’s linked to another behavior you don’t like. Accentuate the positive. Make the person WANT to do more of it. And watch the results!