Recently, I was on my motorcycle on a beautiful, hot sunny Saturday afternoon racing down the highway when I was interrupted by a small, lazy out of the way town. It just kind of crept up on me. I was somewhat familiar with the area, but this was a spot that the speed limit went from 55 down to 25 in what felt like ten feet!
I saw the sign and reduced my speed in time to be adhering to the law but felt rushed to get down to that speed in such a short amount of time. You know those type of places, right? I have to admit, I was enjoying the day, the scenery, the weather and the freedom of being on a motorcycle so much that reading signs was not on the top of my list. Realistically, it did not even make the list…only enjoying the moment made the list.
Anyway, as I slowed down, I looked around to gain my sense of place enough to see a police car just past the speed limit sign. That instant panic entered my body right as my eyes locked on him and his on me. I looked down and realized I was obeying the speed limit sign and then I felt a huge sigh of relief as I passed him and he stayed in his spot.
Just for good measure, I looked in my rearview mirror to make sure that he did not move toward me…I was safe…even though I did nothing wrong, for a moment fear gripped my gut.
My question is this…why did he not pull me over to tell me what a great job I did in doing my job as a responsible citizen? Why did he not thank me for making his job easier? Why did he not catch me doing something right?
This is a great way to manage a team or run an organization. Find someone, anyone, that is doing something right and make sure that you point out the positive! Think about it, the more that you pay attention to a particular behavior, the more it will get repeated. If you don’t want to encourage poor behavior, then don’t spend a lot of time on it. Catch them doing something right, for a change! Change what you are looking for and let the people around you know what you are looking for.
But what about consequences? What about when they really mess up? What should I do, just thank them for messing up and let them do it again? All great questions…for a list of different reactions that we can have when these things come up, please Contact Us and ask for “The List of Consequences,” and I will send them to you!
So please, go and catch someone doing something right today…and tell them about it once you have caught them…for what it’s worth, I still swallow hard when I see a police officer but I am hoping someday that they pull me over for obeying the speed limit! I will let you know what that happens!