Alan Weiss’s Monday Morning Memo® – 01/24/2022
A little over a year ago we bought a Toyota pickup truck to haul the dogs and animal food around. Every animal on our property seems to love turkey grower pellets, which we buy at a feed and farm shop a few miles away. I carry dog biscuits in the glove compartment for the four times a week I take the guys for coffee at about 6 am.
The first time in this truck I was distracted, and placed half a biscuit in the cup holder while sorting my change from Dunkin’ Donuts. Before I knew it, Coco was cleaning out the cup holder. She began checking it every trip, and sometimes I’d put the biscuit in very quietly, but she’d never fail to check it. So now it’s part of our routine, one-half thrown in the back seat, one-half in the cup holder. (Bentley gets whole biscuits which he uses his tiny front teeth to gently grasp, not the fangs. Shepherds are quite smart.)
Coco isn’t disappointed or situational. She checks the cup holder every time, even when we first get into the truck (she has found crumbs). I didn’t “train” her, per se, I simply recognized a habit I wanted to help perpetuate.
And therein lies my moral tale. Are you rewarding yourself for positive behavior (not merely “victories”)? If you want others to be more innovative, for example, reward them for innovative behaviors (presenting new ideas, not being cynical, prudent risk, focus on improving not “fixing”) not just successes. In one of my clients we organized an annual award for “the best idea that didn’t work.”
Are you “rewarding yourself” for making three referral requests a day, or only when you ultimately manage to get business through a referral? Sometimes merely finishing the race is as important as winning, or more so.
I don’t mind telling you I learn a lot from dogs. And my reward is easily knocking off this Monday Morning Memo.
Good habits are worth being fanatical about. —John Irving
When we don’t get any treats, we feel depleted, resentful, and angry, and we feel justified in self-indulgence. We start to crave comfort – and grab that comfort wherever we can, even if it means breaking good habits. —Gretchen Rubin