What is rewarded will be repeated

I totally stole that title.

You may have heard it before. It’s one of those easy-to-remember phrases John Maxwell uses to capture a complex problem with a simple solution. I hate it when he does that, and yet I love it.

In life, people will most often repeat something for which they are rewarded, and this is true in a family setting as well as in an organization.

The tricky part is understanding two key aspects of this principle:
1. What constitutes a reward?
2. Which behavior needs to be repeated?

For some, a reward is a positive affirmation, usually in the form of a verbal acknowledgement, a financial bonus or a privilege if some sort. But for others, just getting attention or to be talked about is a reward. This is why many children and some adults continue less-than-desirable behavior because they get what they want, which is attention from mom & dad, from their friends or from the culture.

Although its important to address bad behavior, this should always be done in private so as to not feed the I-want-attention craving so many people desire. What’s more important is to recognize and reward publicly the behaviors we want repeated.

This is what separates a good leader from a great one, so take a good look at your situation, write down the desires you want repeated, and start rewarding those behaviors. Whenever possible, make sure everyone in your organization hears about it.


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