Chapter 15

Reframe Your Team’s Internal Talk Track with One Pivotal Behavior

Behavior is the mirror in which everyone shows their image.

—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Can a single behavior elevate an entire organization? It can—if it’s the right behavior.

Here’s how a simple 1-minute act helped an organization reinforce its purpose and outperform its competition by leaps and bounds.

I mentioned earlier in this book that I have a college-age daughter. My family and I were moving her into Boston University (BU) over Labor Day weekend. The four of us, mom, dad, college daughter and her younger sister, were standing on the street, looking befuddled at the campus map. At that moment, a friendly and official-looking gentleman approached us, asking, “Can I help you find something?”

He introduced himself as the dean of students. He asked where we were from, told us he was delighted to have us on campus, and pointed us in the right direction.

Keep in mind that this is a major university in the middle of a huge city with 4,500 freshmen moving in on the same day. Yet the dean himself personally approached us. And here’s the kicker: it’s not just because he’s a friendly extrovert. It’s their official campus policy.

Any staff member who sees someone looking at one of the big maps is expected to approach them and offer help. One staff member joked, “It’s a fireable offense to walk by people at the map and not offer to help.”

They don’t view it as a punitive thing. That single behavior—help people ...

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