Crack The Behavior Code


Propel Employee Engagement To Sky-Rocketing Levels

Season 1, Ep. 3

Often leaders are focusing so intensely on growth that we miss the fact that our team’s emotional experience is suffering. And when they’re suffering, they’re in their Critter State (versus the ideal of being in their Smart State.)  


Most likely because safety, belonging or mattering are missing. But how do you know who needs what, and when? When I do culture coaching I use three main tools to find out: 


Today we are diving into the SBM Behavior Decoder and how this tool can help forge greater emotional agility for your tribe. 


You don’t need to ask if a team member needs safety, belonging, or mattering--their behavior says it all. The SBM Behavior Decoder below will help you give them what they need to shift to their Smart State. Click the infographic link and view the Behavior Decoder.


SBM Behavior Decoder Infographic

What Do Your People Really Crave? 


  • If people are in their Critter State and craving safety, they’ll take safety away from others. They need their outside world to match their inside world. This could manifest in the workplace as someone spreading gossip, rumors, or fear in general. 


  • If people are in their Critter State and craving belonging, they’ll isolate, withhold information, or form silos—they will essentially “leave the tribe.” They feel they don’t belong, so they’ll behave accordingly… and their outside world will reflect their inside experience. 


  • If people are in their Critter State and craving mattering, they’ll take mattering away from others via condescending behavior and making people feel small. They don’t matter, so they make sure that others don’t either. Then their world will make sense. 


Discover the SBM Trigger of An Individual 


Once you determine what you think your people really crave, based on their behavior, you can begin a dialogue to confirm your findings. 


Ask your people - What is most important to you at work? 

Please list in order of importance: 

  • You’re on a team that has a plan, and people have your back. (safety) 
  • You’re part of the team, and you have equal value to others. (belonging) 
  • You’re acknowledged and appreciated for your unique contributions, and you are making a difference. (mattering) 


This dialogue starts the process of becoming aware and once we are aware of what state we are in, we can apply the appropriate tools to manifest change. Next, notice both the “go to” behavior of a person in Critter State, as well as what lights them up. If their “go to” is Belonging in Critter State, you may want to try giving them Belonging regularly to light them up. You could do this by saying “I’m so glad you’re on the team. You really bring a lot to everyone! The team is better with you on it.” Notice also your “go to” and what lights you up, as well as your family members too! 


The Net-Net 

When we give people what they crave, their critter brain calms down, and we can guide them into their Smart State. This is where true rapport, connection, alignment, enrollment, and engagement live. Oh—and high performance, collaboration, and sustainability are the results! 


Remember, safety + belonging + mattering = trust. I’ve added links to more information on this topic in today’s show notes for you.

Resources Mentioned:

You’re busy growing. Let’s have a strategy session when it makes sense, which means you are…

· Committed to getting better results and finding out how awesome your performance can truly be

· Ready to make this a priority and get started in the next few months

· Allocating budget to improving the leadership, culture and results of you and your company

· Able to make the decision to move forward (or can convince the person who can)

Ready? Great! Please fill out the form here. If not, check out our resources and subscribe to receive news and more tools as they become available, and we’ll work together when the time is right.

More Episodes


12 Stress-Busters Happy Healthy People Know

Season 2, Ep. 8
Email. Texting. Voicemail. We’re constantly connecting with others, so why do so many people feel so disconnected–which is a key factor in excessive stress?According to Dr. Edward Hallowell, an expert on anxiety and stress, there are twelve ways in which people need to connect in order to have full, rich, healthy, long lives. I had no idea how much more connected I could feel until I read his outstanding book, Connect: 12 Vital Ties That Open Your Heart, Lengthen Your Life, and Deepen Your Soul. I learned more about connecting in that book than I have from any shrink or at any seminar.Here’s his list of 12 Stress-Busters of where we should all be connecting. Ask yourself these questions:1. Family of Origin:Do I have strong bonds and clear communication with my parents, siblings, relatives? Do I connect with them regularly?What are some ways I might increase connection?2. Immediate Family:Do I treat them with love and respect?Are we emotionally close?What are some ways I might increase connection?3. Friends and Community:Do I see friends and neighbors on a regular basis?Do I share my life with them frequently?Do I make time to enjoy their company?Am I involved in community groups and projects?Do I identify with and support the community I live in?What are some ways I might increase connection?4. Work:Do I have emotional equity and a sense of mission at work?Do I share a connection with my co-workers and company?What are some ways I might increase connection?5. Beauty:Do I enjoy beauty regularly, do I appreciate it and pay attention to it and savor it?Do I take time to enjoy a favorite art form?What are some ways I might increase connection?6. History:Do I feel part of the history of humankind?Do I learn about it, feel the power of it, and cherish the history of my country, town, culture?What are some ways I might increase connection?7. Nature:Do I connect with nature on a weekly basis?Do I spend time outdoors or indoors caring for plants or appreciating nature?Do I have special places that are healing to me?What are some ways I might increase connection?8. Pets/Animals:Do I enjoy playing with and having a relationship with a pet?Do I value animals and enjoy seeing them, listening to them, interacting with them?What are some ways I might increase connection?9. Ideas and Information:Do I learn new things often?Am I interested in new ideas and perspectives?Am I getting the most out of my brain power?What are some ways I might increase connection?10. Organizations and Institutions:Am I a member of any organizations?Do I contribute to their growth and welfare?What are some ways I might increase connection?11. Greater Truth/Spirituality:Do I have a spiritual practice?Do I make time to read spiritual, uplifting books or listen to CDs or podcasts?Do I continue to seek meaning and truth in whatever way resonates with me?What are some ways I might increase connection?12. Myself:Do I meditate, have quiet time alone, know what matters most to me and live according to it?Am I comfortable being who I am?What are some ways I might increase connection?Years after reading Ned’s book I’ve maintained these connections, to varying degrees, in all 12 areas. And my life is richer and more fulfilling than it has ever been. Email? Texting? Voicemail? Helpful, yes. And now I use them to better connect with others.How connected are you? How connected would you like to be?Additional resources:Connect More Deeply With Others infographic:

Guarantee Work-Life Balance With These 3 Daily Actions

Season 2, Ep. 7
What is your life experience when the work day is complete? Are you spending time doing things that you love or are you too drained to do anything other than recoup before the next workday begins?We spend a lot of time at work and the brain-based tools that I teach my executive coaching clients show them how to maximize their efforts, stand in their energetic weight and master executive presence. If you aren’t having fun when you aren’t at work, it may be time to reflect.Life is a balancing act, and work will become less fulfilling if your downtime is void of ease, grace, joy, and fun.These are the three actions that leaders can do each and every day that will put them on the path towards guaranteeing work-life balance.Action 1: Move The Needle: Focus 70% + of your time on HVAs. There will always be a parade of bright shiny objects trying to distract you. Keep those beasts at bay by tracking your high-value activities (HVAs) and low-value activities (LVAs). Resolve to get to 70%+ of HVAs in the next 60 days. Effective delegation increases the amount of time that you will have to focus on the items that will move the needle. [see below for our HVA/LVA Tutorial -- and share it with your team!] Action 2: Honor Your Boundaries: Are you honoring your personal life commitments? We all avoid uncomfortable human relations issues sometimes, but what is the cost? It’s exorbitant. As we give our power away and compromise our integrity, we inadvertently teach our brain that not honoring our personal life is acceptable. Set up a new system with healthy boundaries and behaviors that will anchor the fact that a commitment in your personal life is equally as important as a commitment at work. [See below for our energetic weight infographic--you can test your energetic weight with it!] Action 3: Embrace Mindfulness Practices: Do you have a mindfulness practice? If not, it may be time to start incorporating at least one mindfulness practice into your daily routine. One of the biggest causes of stress is ruminating, or repeating a certain stressful thought. The brain sets off down an old thinking pattern and stays there. Mindfulness practices teach our brain to pop up out of that old pattern and recognize it for what it is: a default and well-worn groove that we have a choice to step out of. Mindfulness meditation re-grooves the brain and builds a new neurological network. Do it enough and, like the studies show, you can train your brain like a muscle to stay calm and present in the face of adversity or good old daily stresses of life. [See below for our Beyond Your Brain infographic -- this will help you determine the ROI on mindfulness/meditation]Leaders learn how to manage their energy. They focus on the actions that only they can do to move the needle in their organization, they honor their boundaries and personal life commitments, and they know how to stop the world and stop their thoughts on command.Try the three above actions and you’ll find your personal life will be as fun and fulfilling as your work life!Resources mentioned:HVA/LVA Tutorial: Anchoring infographic: Weight infographic: Your Brain infographic:

Become A More Emotionally Intelligent Leader in 4 Simple Steps

Season 2, Ep. 6
The CEO tells the VP Marketing candidate he’d hire her if she lost 20 pounds. She’s “too fat to represent our company.”The VP Operations tells her team if they were competent they would’ve achieved their quarterly goals.The CFO sends the Controller an angry email saying his budget “sucks and is pathetic.”The VP Product Development says “deal with it” when the favorite lead engineer and keeper of the culture quits.What do all these leaders have in common?They aren’t emotionally intelligent. They are sending “nasty-grams” to their teams and causing emotional disengagement and shutdown in others. They have low EQ.And EQ = money, according to Drs. Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves (see resources below).“The link between EQ and earnings is so direct that every point increase in EQ equals $1,300 to an annual salary. If that’s not enough, EQ accounts for 58% of performance in all types of jobs”.All. Wow.So let’s figure this out in a straightforward way. First, i’ll summarize emotional intelligence and you’ll see a handy infographic in the show notes:Here’s how to start becoming more emotionally intelligent:1. Figure out what you’re feeling. It’s essential to be in tune with your emotions—this is Self-Awareness. Now based on what you are feeling, is it the appropriate time to send that angry email? Right now it’s key to remember that communication is redundant: humans cannot *not* communicate—our facial expressions, body posture, vocal tone/pace/pitch betray us. Even in email or texts our vocal tone/pace/pitch can be detected.You know what it feels like to receive an email when someone is spewing anger or venting frustration. You also know what it feels like when someone handles a challenging situation with compassion, a spirit of collaboration, and overall respect and kindness. People can tell. Your vocal tone does indeed come through in written communication.2. Take a breather. Holding off on sending a nasty-gram until you cool down is Self-Management. We need to shift out of Critter State [fight/flight/freeze or Amygdala Hijack] into Smart State [clear thinking, behavioral choice, innovation, collaboration, creativity] in order to practice Self-Management. Now is a great time to unpack the visual, auditory and kinesthetic cues that triggered you. And if you’re in Critter State one of the easiest ways to shift out of it and into Smart State is to practice 7-7-7 breathing. Inhale for a count of 7, hold for count of 7, exhale for count of 7. Do 7 times. Ahhhhh. Now you have choice to respond vs. react compulsively. Excellent!3. Consider the recipient. While you are practicing #1 or #2 above, consider what the recipient might feel upon receiving your communication. This is Social Awareness. They are a different person from you, so they’ll likely make different meaning—they’ll interpret your communication–based on their Map of the World and not yours. Many components factor into a person’s map of the world, such as education, where they grew up, socio-economics, religion, childhood experiences, adult experience—which is why we misunderstand one another so often: we all have different maps.This consideration is Social Awareness.4. Focus on the outcome. What is the outcome you’d actually like to achieve? How would you like to make someone feel in order to empower them and move the ball forward? It’s time to craft a message that will get the result you want and make the person feel powerful, effective, enrolled, engaged, whatever positive emotion you want. This is Relationship Management.Let’s revisit the above real-world scenarios. When I was asked to come in and coach these leaders to become more Emotionally Intelligent they had team members ready to quit, some were totally checked out and no longer cared, some were downright hostile due to prolonged mistreatment. So I had my work cut out for me.Once the leaders were in touch with their feelings and had boosted their Self-Management and Self-Awareness, we then worked on Social Awareness and Relationship Management. This transformation took 4-6 months (based on the leader) to become an automatic response.When I asked each of them how they would’ve navigated the scenarios above were they able to turn back time, here’s how the communications were edited (yes, after the fact, but better than repeating the mistake!).The CEO tells the VP Marketing candidate she has great skills and he’d like to explore how she can best represent the company.The VP Operations asks her team what they need to achieve their goals next time. Did she set the bar too high? Were they all too ambitious? Do they need more/different resources? Were there cross-functional dependencies that we all missed considering?The CFO meets with the Controller and works through expectations for the budget, filling in any gaps so what defines “success” is super clear. The Controller feels safe to ask questions and push back on things they disagree with.The VP Product Development sits down with the team and lets them express their grief without judging them. Then she asks what the team needs to heal and move forward, noting that they’ll tackle this together, as a team, all for one, and one for all.How emotionally intelligent are you? Where would you like to increase your emotional intelligence?Resources mentioned:EQ Research: Wheel: