Managing People for Maximum Performance

For more than two decades, I have been leading a two-day seminar for the Center for Management Research in Cambridge, MA.  The session has always been a popular one, particularly for executives and senior leaders, but what I enjoy most is the level of engagement that attendees display during the session, producing many "wows" and "ahas". After a short hiatus, my session is restarting this coming July.  As I began to prepare, it occurred to me that it may be worthwhile to share more publicly, some of the key points taught during the session that I believe are valuable for any leader:

  1. The number one challenge faced by most companies is getting employees to focus on what you need them to do in order to reach your organization’s goals.
  2. Regardless of industry, size of business or the organizational position, the laws of behavior are always the same.  The key is to ensure that you have the right consequences for the critical behaviors that will produce the desired results.
  3. One of the most popular topics, past, present and future is "how to create discretionary effort" from their employees. Through the proper use of positive reinforcement, people will consistently want to and do more than is expected of them, thus creating Discretionary Effort.
  4. Creativity is behavior and is subject to the same laws as all other behavior.  Creativity is not a mysterious talent that only a few people possess.

One final note; The past attendees of this session have come to understand how to make the personal behavior change at all levels of management that is necessary to achieve success in maximizing organizational performance, a critical indicator of their leadership impact.  I've said it a million times but it always bears repeating; performance begins and ends with your people, and more specifically, their behavior.  Because of the level of competition in the marketplace today, understanding the science of behavior is more important than ever.  Those who understand it best will ultimately be the ones that come out on top.


Posted by Aubrey Daniels, Ph.D.

Aubrey is a thought leader and expert on management, leadership, safety and workplace issues. For the past 40 years, he has been dedicated to helping people and organizations apply the laws of human behavior to optimize performance.