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Small Business Digest


Shaping The Right Business Behaviors To Add Profits

What companies encourage from their employees, they get.

What they discourage, they don’t get.

That’s the basic principle behind behavioral science.  It seems simple and is easy to learn, and when put into practice in business settings, it offers a life-changing model for leadership.

In Unlock Behavior, Unleash Profits: Developing Leadership Behavior that Drives Profitability in Your Organization (McGraw Hill, Second Edition), Leslie Wilk Braksick, PhD, shows readers a step-by-step approach.

This process uses tools as the ABC model – finding the right Antecedents to prompt a behavior, identifying which Behavior will produce the desired result, and providing Consequences that align with desired outcomes to improve employee behavior.

Braksick identifies three types of leadership and the impact that each type has on performance including:

  • Effective leadership, which earns discretionary performance – this is the highest level where people perform at peak levels for sustained periods.
  • Coercive leadership (“do it because I said so”), which earns minimal performance – this style may see improved performance in the short-term, but it will not last long-term.
  • Poor leadership, which earns unsatisfactory performance – this type will eventually end with the leader leaving or the company folding.

Recent research has uncovered sobering data about leadership transitions including that 70% of all leaders fail within two years of their assignments. 

In addition, perceptions of a leader’s ability are formed within the first five days in the organization and on average it takes six to twelve months for new leaders to fully adapt to their new role. 

Clearly, effective leadership is critical to an organization’s success.
Braksick believes that the introduction of new generations in the workplace, as well as technology advances, and competition, have put “tremendous pressure on companies to be more thoughtful in how they select, lead, manage and retain talent. 

Leaders in these organizations have to be much more thoughtful about the role of people and behavior.”

Braksick introduces the IMPACT ™ Model, which is a process for how leaders align and manage critical behaviors in an organization on an individual level.  The four steps include:

  • Identify and Measure the target results
  • Pinpoint the critical few behaviors needed
  • Activate and Consequate those behaviors
  • Transfer fluency to sustain behaviors

The companion MAKE-IT ™ model is then introduced for behavior change on an organizational level and includes:

  • Make It Clear
  • Make It Real
  • ·Make It Happen
  • Make It Last

With these two models, she believes that leaders can address a large range of common and critical leadership challenges including:

  • Achieving sustained/predictable top-line growth
  • Improving customer loyalty, retention, growth
  • Boosting innovation across the organization
  • Effectively and rapidly integrating cultures and organizations

In situations following mergers/acquisitions the need is for:

  • Excelling at executing strategies
  • Boosting employee engagement/retention
  • Smoothing leadership transitions and accelerating the new leader and team to hit full stride
  • Ensuring that strategic talent management truly results in well-developed leader.

These skills and guidelines can be applied to address changes faced by all types of leaders, including C-suite executives, supervisors, HR professionals, team leaders, employees, teachers, coaches, and parents. 

For more information about Braksick and unlocking behaviors, visit

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