My dog Sadie is now 9 years old, but I remember when we brought her home as a puppy. The first thing on the list? House-training. I had heard that the best book on dog training is How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend by the Monks of New Skete. Their advice is simple. Take the dog out in regular intervals. When they go in the right spot, you praise them: hoot, holler, cheer, smile, clap! Good girl! If they have an accident, you admonish the dog with a growl, take them outside and show them where to go. When they go there, praise them again!
Lo and behold, years later when we potty-trained our son (and are now going through it with our daughter), the book Toilet Training in Less Than a Day recommends the same course of action! And it worked just as effectively.
Am I comparing working adults to puppies and toddlers? Yes! Because we all enjoy receiving praise, no matter what age and maturity. We want reassurance and recognition that we are doing a good job. And the good news for change agents is that giving people praise for doing something correctly reinforces the behavior and improves the likelihood that they will do it again!
For what might you give people praise?
Read more of the 99 Ways to Influence Change.