Your Unconscious Patterns that drive your behaviour (or how to understand cats!)

If you are or have been a cat owner then I know you’ll love this story, because this could be you. If you have never owned a cat before then you should definitely read further, because it may help you to understand people and their unconscious patterns better, especially those who work with or for you.

This story about unconscious patterns of behaviour was told to me many years ago by one of the world’s elite behavioural researchers – NLP Certified Master Trainer and Behavioural Modeler, Marvin Oka, and I believe its message is even more valid today during these times of rapid change in the workforce than ever before. Enjoy…

The saga of John and his cat.

Every morning, same time without fail John goes to the cupboard, gets out the tin of cat food, opens it on the bench top and then bends down and shovels its contents into the cat’s food bowl with a spoon. And every morning same time without fail, that bloody cat meows in response and then ambles over and starts eating as soon as the food hits the bowl and in doing so half the food ends up on its head which of course gets in the way of John performing his food bowl shoveling chore.

And every morning, as soon as that annoying event happens, John curses the ‘naughty’ cat and yells at it to wait; then stops what he is doing, picks up the cat and puts it outside the kitchen until the food bowl is filled and ready for the cat.

John has tried all manner of things to train the cat not to be so annoying in its behaviour — admonishing; cajoling; growling; pleading; yelling; cat obedience training — yada yada yada — but that cat just doesn’t get it does she?

Of course the cat doesn’t understand John one iota.  She has one driving motivation evidenced by her pattern of behaviour….. Early morning; Empty Cat Food Bowl; Hungry Cat; Here comes John; He’s bending over the cat food bowl; Mmmm – Food smells appetizing….Let’s eat!    Fairly obvious if you are a “cat whisperer!”

Ask John which behaviour would be more useful in this scenario?  Continue to try and train his cat, which he loves, to not be motivated to start eating when food appears in its bowl until John has finished his task.  Or…lift the bowl up on to the bench away from the cat – fill it full of cat food – place it back on the kitchen floor with the food in it and step back to allow the cat to do what comes naturally to cats.

Isn’t this silly example what we often witness in business?  Trying to make people’s unconscious patterns; talents and motivation preferences fit we want them to do or to be, rather than find out how they are motivated and align our actions or tasks we give them to leverage what they are most motivated to do. It’s called putting square pegs in square holes.

Why try and train the cat to do something that DOESN’T come naturally for the cat.  Wouldn’t it be better to change the nature or scope of the task to fit what the cat does do naturally?  Result being?  Happy John…Happy cat…..Effective use of resources…..More productive scenario……Less frustration….No wasted time…and NO CONFLICT.

What else could John do?  Well he could always fire the cat and send it on its merry way, probably to a more empathetic owner who knows a little bit more than John about the ways of cats and their unconscious patterns of motivation and how to see the world from their point of view.

And if he does that, what will John do with the replacement cat that joins his household?  (I think that this is the point where we hear that old management refrain — “Why is it that we just can’t seem to get good cats anymore?”)

Over the coming months, I might not be able to teach you how to become a “cat whisperer” but let’s at least explore that whole realm of cognitive science where we begin to understand better what motivation really is; how it impacts upon ourselves and our colleagues in a myriad of subtle ways at work; and most of all what we can do about it so that we can get the best out of ourselves and each other! Because when we do, it is like the difference between having a cranky, unproductive work environment or an environment that just purrs!  (And why does it purr one may ask?  Because we know how to stroke the people in it and their motivation just the right way.)

Precision Profiling — What Makes You Tick? Revealing the hidden secrets about yourself that even you didn’t know, and how to leverage them for your benefit.

About Brian Clark

Brian Clark is the principal director of Precision Profiling®.

He is a renowned practitioner, writer and speaker on building total customer cultures; values driven leadership and world best practice strategy and implementation.

He has been a guest lecturer on world best practice for the executive management programme at Monash University’s business college (Mt Eliza campus); an adviser to and key note speaker for the Singapore Productivity Association and a consultant to many major Australian and overseas corporations and government departments.

Read more about Brian Clark Here

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