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Wednesday, June 05, 2013


The Behavior Breakthrough by Steve Jacobs & Colleagues - Book review

The Behavior Breakthrough

Leading Your Organization to a New Competitive Advantage

By: Steve Jacobs

Published: May 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover, 240 pages
ISBN-10: 1608324184
ISBN-13: 978-1608324187
Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group Press

"To perform well over the long term, to make everyone's valiant efforts work and 'stick', you need another ingredient, something basic and seemingly ordinary: behavior. New results require new behavior. It's that simple - and that difficult", writes behavior based management strategist, and Chairman and Senior Partner in The Continuous Learning Group, Steve Jacobs, in his culture transforming and organizational behavior changing book The Behavior Breakthrough: Leading Your Organization to a New Competitive Advantage. The author describes the critical importance of changing the behavior of people within an organization in order to make sustainable change, and shares the strategies and techniques necessary to facilitate that behavioral change.

Steve Jacobs understands that even the best thought out business strategies and change initiatives will fail if the behavior of the people within that organization remains unchanged. As a result of this insight, the author places behavioral change at the core of any initiatives designed to achieve new results. As Steve Jacobs asserts, new results require new behavior.

The author makes clear that those changes in behavior do not happen automatically, but they require a process that remove the human based obstacles that derail the change efforts from the very beginning. Steve Jacobs recommends what he calls behavioral leadership, based on the latest research findings in applied behavioral science, as the means to achieving lasting change.

Steve Jacobs (photo left) recognizes that the walls and roadblocks erected by people in any change process must be removed through behavioral change. To achieve the essential transformation toward desirable behavior, the author proposes his four foundational pillars of peak performance that lasts and creates real improvement through the removal of the human challenges to those improved results. The fours cornerstones are:

* Direction
* Competence
* Opportunity
* Motivation

Steve Jacobs provides the the techniques to put the snapshot of the behavioral leader into action. To achieve the sought after revolutionary and sustainable change, the author proposes the following essential steps toward that outcome:

* Target the business opportunity and desired results
* Pinpoint the high-impact behavior
* Understand the drivers
* Implement the behavior change plan
* Continuously improve your own leadership practices
* Measure behavior change progress and impact
* Sustain it, improve it, apply it to new priorities

For me, the power of the book is how Steve Jacobs combines a strong theoretical framework for behavior leadership, with the practical strategies and techniques to put it into practice. The author provides a complete overview of why change is so difficult and why strategic initiatives fail so many more times than they succeed, despite the best intentions of the leaders and change agents. Steve Jacobs presents the core of the problem in the failure of leaders to understand and incorporate the need for behavior change into the process.

Steve Jacobs offers the latest research findings in applied behavioral science to outline why the best planned changes fail to happen or last. The author also offers the concept of the behavioral leader who provides the impetus for the desired outcomes. To help illustrate the concepts in action the real world, Steve Jacobs shares examples and case studies of the principles of breakthrough leadership within a wide range of organizations.

I highly recommend the culture change driven and scientific research based book The Behavior Breakthrough: Leading Your Organization to a New Competitive Advantage by Steve Jacobs, to any leaders, executives, and managers seeking a clear and concise blueprint to facilitate real and lasting change within any organization. This book will ensure that leadership achieves the sought after results through a recognition of the importance of behavior change.


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