Present behaviour dictates future behaviour

“Present behaviour dictates future behaviour” is a phrase I hear myself saying often to clients. I said it again in a coaching session on Friday so it inspired me to write about it. I tell my clients that all my blog post ideas come from client sessions; this one is a case in point!

This phrase applies in a number of different business scenarios, but let’s just focus on 2 of them:

Taking on a new client

We all want to win new business and when we are in a place of ‘abundance’ it becomes clearer and easier to be selective and ensure we only take on the ideal type of client. When we need new business we can take on clients that don’t necessarily fit within our core ideal customer – that could be based on what they do, what they are asking for or cultural fit. If you are dealing with a prospect that is proving difficult, demanding or needy then buyer beware because remember “Present behaviour dictates future behaviour” – so if they are like this now, they are likely to be like this (but probably worse) once the relationship develops!

We need to listen to our instincts and have our eyes wide open. When taking on this type of client then boundaries and clear scopes of work become crucial to creating a mutually respectful relationship.

Taking on a new member of staff

Without a doubt, the number 1 issue for all my clients is finding and retaining great staff and it’s becoming harder and harder to find them.

So when you desperately need to fill a vacancy you may overlook some concerns that you are hearing but choose to ignore. But again remember “Present behaviour dictates future behaviour” and whatever niggles or concerns you have at the interview stage will probably be magnified once they start working for you.

To overcome this smart organisations will have a methodical process to assess the candidate not only against a set of clearly defined roles & responsibilities but also against their company culture. You have to get both parts of this right – their ability to do the job and their ability to fit into your culture and buy into your values. And if you choose to ignore any of your concerns, you are storing up more problems for yourself than just having an empty chair to fill!

So am I saying a ‘leopard can’t change its spots?’ No, we are all a work in progress and we can all choose how we develop and evolve – that’s if we want to. I doubt a new painful client will want to change their ways (after all it will be your fault, not theirs!) and a new member of staff that is proving to be difficult will probably have a lack of self-recognition and ultimately will find themselves in the wrong job.

So remember, Present behaviour dictates future behaviour and if your instincts are telling you this then listen to them!

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