make the right behavior easier

I really enjoyed the book “Influencers” by Joseph Grenny, who was a speaker at this past year’s Leadership Summit at Willow Creek.  Here’s another great quote from the book:

Make the right behavior easier and the wrong behavior more difficult

When I think about what separates great production from bad, much of it can be solved by following this great advice.

When I was doing set up in a rented high school theater we had a difficult time getting rehearsal started on time. After years of frustration, I started keeping track of how much we could actually accomplish in the time we had available. Not surprisingly, we were trying to cram too much stuff into the short amount of time we had, with the people at our disposal.

What we ended up doing was figuring out what a “normal” set up looked like, so that we would know if we needed more people or more time to get it done for rehearsal to start on time.  We made starting rehearsal easier by figuring out how to get there.

For years, when we would play a video in our services, the background music would overpower the people speaking.  So now we split the talking from all the other audio, so that in the moment we can adjust in the moment.  We also check the videos on Friday to make sure they look and sound good, so that we aren’t scrambling around on Saturday afternoon to fix a problem.

I recently helped at a fundraising event. There were lots of wireless mics involved, which are typically unreliable at this venue. While I suggested we shouldn’t use them, the organizers of the event overruled me. Guess what, 3 out of 4 mics failed during the event. With every speaker standing behind a podium, we could have eliminated 95% of the risk by using a wired mic.

Now that I’m reading back through this post, it is less about right and wrong behavior and more about reducing error by eliminating points of failure; building systems to minimize “wrong behavior”.

In your world of production, how can you develop ways for your team to have good outcomes and avoid bad outcomes?

 

 

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  • Micah Yost

    It’s the million dollar question in a lot of situations. I think one important piece to the puzzle is helping tech leaders become people of influence. We need to be viewed as trusted advisors who have the best interest of the event and it’s leaders in mind. Instead, we are often viewed as “the people who say ‘no'” or “hard to work with” or “always making it complicated”. The more work we can put in to creating real relationships with people before the moment of influence, the more likely we are to have influence in the moment. I think influence is often confused because it’s really more about us than it is about others. If we want to have influence over others, we must become people worth following.