Changing Behavior—What are you seeing through your “belief window”?

Want to know what a person believes? Watch their behavior. People act consistently with their world view. If someone is acting scared, or selfish, or self-centered, they are telling you something about their beliefs. That’s the message Hyrum Smith, co-founder of LegacyQuest and former vice chairman of Franklin Covey delivered at The Ken Blanchard Companies 2011 Summit yesterday.

Smith explained that people are constantly seeking to meet deep seated needs in four areas: survival, love, significance, and variety. And their experience in getting their needs met in these four areas creates a “belief window,” that drives their behavior. Since everyone has different experiences in these four areas, Smith explained that we each have different belief windows that color our perceptions.

At work, the challenge is when we have beliefs that result in behaviors that hold us back. For example, procrastination based on a fear of making mistakes or a constant need for attention based on a past sense of insignificance.

As a leader, it is important to periodically look at your beliefs—especially if you feel that your behaviors are not generating the results you want. Here’s a six-step process that Smith outlined that will help you get started

  1. Identify the behavior patterns. What is holding you back?
  2. Identify possible principles driving the behavior. What are your experiences and beliefs in this area?
  3. Predict future behavior based on those principles. If you continue to hold on to these beliefs, what are the likely outcomes you can expect?
  4. Identify alternative principles. Is there a way to challenge or reframe that belief? Is it necessarily true? More importantly, is that belief serving you?
  5. Predict future behavior based on the new principle. If you did adopt a new belief, what are some potential new behaviors you might expect?
  6. Compare steps three and five. Look at the results you want versus the results you are currently getting. Are you where you want to be? If not, what beliefs need to change first?

Our reality is based on our perception. How are you perceiving the world? Is it getting you where you want to go? If not, take a look at your belief window. Are their some things you can clean up starting today?

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