The Power of Positive Programming

In the last few blogs, I’ve written about staying on the same page and reinforcing and strengthening culture and goals. Another key ingredient to success is to become a broken record.

To excel at any sport, you don’t just need to know what to do, you have to practice it again and again and again until muscle memory does the work automatically. The power of repetition puts you on effortless autopilot.

The same with math in school: saying the times tables again and again makes it automatic. When someone asks you, decades later, “what is 9 x 9?” you instantaneously know the answer is 81. It’s burned into your mind.

Same goes for repeated prayers. Or a popular jingle: you can hear the first few bars and finish the rest.

If it works in sports, math, religion and advertising, why not use the same principle in business?

As a CEO or leader, your goal is to figure out what people need to have top of mind and then to repeat it again and again and again so that the whole organization is automatically in sync.

I call this Positive Programming. And most organizations are horrible at it because they always focus on the next thing. You want to apply positive programming to a few tangible things:

  • Values, purpose and BHAG – by CEOs, executives and team leaders. You can even make them the default in the first few slides of all your PowerPoint presentations
  • Company goals
  • Key systems, beliefs and habits that create amazing customer experiences because, at the end of the day, the customer is always the boss and there are things we can do to delight or drive them crazy.

Some examples:

  • Retail companies use the ART of selling to take care of the customer and increase sales:
    • Approach
    • Recommend
    • Thank
  • One organization has their seven steps to SERVICE
  • A professional services company focuses on excellence using GREAT
  • A valet parking services business uses a calendar of the 31 behaviours every associate is expected to understand and deliver. Every day, every team at every location looks at the calendar and talks about the daily principle, to keep it top of mind. Over the year, every employee will hear every principle many times. With lots of turnover, it becomes training about what matters most – again and again and again.

People often believe that the work lies in defining a policy or procedure. But the real work is bringing the greatness behind them to life – and you can only do that as a broken record.

And when you’re made fun for doing that, and when people start saying “I know” or automatically finish your sentences or key phrases, you’re almost there.

The Challenge

  • What are the three or four things you and your organization need to repeat this year – again and again and again?

Need help figuring out what to say again and again and again? We can help you with that!