The 4 F’s of Behaviour

The 4 F’s are;

Feeding, Fear, Fighting and Reproduction (I’ll leave you to work out what the fouth F is but its nothing like as smutty or rude as you might at first think).

In my last blog post I wrote about the Lizard Brain and told you that I got the concept from Seth Godin, who’s a big deal when it comes to thinking. If you ever get the time, and I strogly recomend you find the time, fire-up YouTube and seek him out. Outstanding! Thought Leadership!

Okay so I’ll get on with the story; I was talking to my good lady yesterday about these very subjects and how they apply in cycling, (I’m a big cycling freak, it hits just the right spot between cardio-workout and meditation which works really well for me). And then I got to thinking how these basic emotional reactions work in the workplace.

Hear’s the thing;

Feeding; feeding is really about seeking out satisfaction, nothing to far out there, a position or situation of comfort. Most of us, if not all of us really like being in our comfort zone. There’s no challenge when you’re there, no need to worry. The day comes and goes and all’s well. We’re happy.

People who persistently seek out this satisfaction feeling really dont go out of their way to contribute to an exceptional service and experience for the customer. Nothing wrong with that, but hey nothing too great either. From time to time its your job (even if it isnt) to shake things up and restrict the food supply. Do this and you’ll find out who shrinks in fear and who’s coming out fighting.

Fear; those who suffer from fear probably aren’t the kind of people you want in senior positions or positions that could make a difference. The simple fact is this, they will be so afraid of being responsible for the screw-up that they wont find the courage to even try, they will never know the feeling of success. All they want to do is go back to their comfort zone, be safe and unchallenged.

Fighting; this is a symptom of being out of control. People go into fight mode when they feel they have something to defend and they dont see so many choices on how to keep it without a fight. If people go in to fight mode too quickly or as a first reaction then you really need to keep them as far as possible away from customers. The customer experience will suffer if you let them loose and unchecked.

Reproduction (Fornication for those who didnt work it out); we all want (or should do in a business sense) to leave our mark, a legacy if you like. The best kind of legacy you could leave is that you have somebody replace you, someone who’s better suited to the prevailing business environment than you were/are. They are able to deliver on the customer experience in buckets, big-time!

MGL reckons that what this all means is that if you have a person prone to any of these traits, that actually you have a (big) problem. She says that we have to rise above these basic emotional reactions and engage our ability to think. This sounds ideal and easy, but it sure feels a lot more difficult when you’re caught in the situation and dealing with it.

I got to thinking about cycling again. There are some days when all I want to do is stay in the peleton (the pack) and ride an easier ride, sheltered from the wind and protected from other road traffic. This is me in feeding mode, seeking out the safe. Nothing wrong with this and to an extent I suppose its about self preservation, I get to ride another day and I’m not exhausted at the end of the ride.

Play this through into a business situation and this means that really I should keep my best efforts for when they will be best used. Most days are just about turning up and doing the work. Putting in enough effort so I’m ready for the big push when it’ll really make a difference.

Back to cycling, I have to admit that I am afraid when cycling on the roads when I’m alone. I’ve had a couple of nasty accidents and come-off the worse for them. Fear in these situations has led me to use a mag-trainer in-doors. Safe in the knowledge I’m getting a good workout and I’m safe from those nasty and dangerous cars & vans. I can also listen to music which is a bonus. Added to this MGL prefers me on the trainer safe in the knowledge she wont be getting a call to say I’m in hospital after being run off the road by a car or van.

In the business environment, fear can become an enabler if used correctly. By recognising fear in others you can structure you product or service offer to address their fears. It becomes a tool for selling what you do potentially (think lawyers or insurance). From a personal point of view, fear if not allowed to rule over rational thought can lead to way better decision making. But you have to keep it in check, you are a leader and a leader must not show fear, caution however is okay just don’t let it strangle creativity and bravery.

Fighting in a cycling sense is all about reacting to a challenge, in my case normally on a hill climb when I want to be first to the top or overtake the rider ahead.

Business world fighting is all about winning the order ahead of the other supplier. Keep this under control and you win, allow it to get out of hand and you look like an idiot who just want’s to out do the competition. Your product and service comes a distant second, price becomes the conversation and yes, you lose!

Reproduction in cycling is concerned with bring the younger (normally) rider on. Allowing them the room to grow and flourish and win. Learning the tricks of riding either solo or as a team member.

Reproduction in busness is concerned with training and learning experiences. Do you honestly want to be the only go-to person in your business? No I thought not. So you have to spend time and put the effort in to developing your people.

Juniors need to learn the business from top to bottom, all the way through. This is your responsibility to replicate your knowledge and encourage self learning, everyone wins! One day the juniors will be in your shoes, chair, at your your desk and in your position. What’s not to want about employee development and reward?

In the end MGL is right, you have to understand all of these aspects and temper them with logical thought processes. Do this and you meet your emotional needs (well the basic ones anyway) and you get to do your business dealings better.

As always thank you very much for taking the time to read my blog and if you have any comments please feel free to make them.


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