Behavioural engineering applied
In part one, we looked at why it is important to be able to influence behaviour and what causes and may inhibit the effectiveness of attempts. In part two, we look at the practical side – making it happen.
In our race to ‘simplify’ (during the time – early 50s to the late 90s – when technology was not available to assist), many performance management processes were actually ‘trivialised’. 21st century technology now enables us to do things correctly and individuals are readily accepting, even welcoming, of more complex or richer tools – so long as they add value. Behavioural Engineering (BE) thinking enables us to design processes that seize on these new technologies i.e., to enable or to drive desired behaviours. For example:
• We can now use global secure access to enable ‘Spider Planning’ (where pairs of individuals, irrespective of formal reporting relationships, agree specific performance contracts that integrate with and align with the web of other agreements around them into a plan that will achieve the overall goal) and so drive the behaviour of one-to-one contracting of individual contributions and the collaboration that this leads to.
• We can now use real-time communications and remote access to enable collaborative working with shared virtual whiteboards and project plans. Individuals, irrespective of level, location etc can participate in the creation of ideas, turn them into draft plans, review their practicality and commercial viability and then develop action plans to effect them.
• We can now use real-time data analysis to address data quality by detecting potentially low quality assessments at source. For example, on entry, data is subjected to strict validation rules prior to acceptance and the quality of that data is evaluated, and real-time feedback is presented back to the submitter to inform them that it could potentially be enhanced (i.e., we influence the thinking and then assessment behaviour of the user at the time that the behaviour is displayed).
• We can now use technology to enable individuals to determine and specify clear personal goals, to identify pragmatic small next steps and then to track progress as part of a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy programme.