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Is past behaviour always a predictor of future performance?

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By Rebecca Heaslip

This question is important to consider in both a professional and personal context. If the question really is: “Can people change their behaviour?” and the answer is yes, then we can assume that performance will improve through greater self-awareness, self-discipline, self-motivation and supplementary coaching or training. In this instance, the past is not the sole predictor of a person’s capacity and talents.

If the answer is no – ‘you are who you are’, this presumes that our destiny and potential are solely a function of our DNA. This implies that there is a limit to what we can achieve. If we assume that ‘we are who we are’, this means we can’t learn and grow and are destined to make the same mistakes over and over. The statement ‘past behaviour predicts future performance’ then has strong validity.

In the case of superior performance we don’t want people to change – we just want them to keep doing what they’ve been doing, only perhaps with greater regularity and efficiency! In the recruiting world, interviewers use behavioural interview questions that often start with “Tell me about a time when….you overcame major obstacle to complete an assignment”; or “Please give me some examples from your past where… you successfully dealt with a difficult employee. (You’ve probably been on the receiving end of those questions yourself if you’ve applied for any position – front-line to senior management – in the past few years.)

If a candidate can supply multiple examples of how they’ve succeeded in the past, the interviewer makes the assumption that the candidate will repeat the performance in the future and therefore assigns them a high score for ‘behavioural fit’. Interviewing is ‘part art and part science’. Validated behavioural assessments should also be used to supplement the interview as they provide a more accurate evaluation of who a person really is (as opposed to the type of person they want to project). Of course, if the person has limited work experience, behavioural event interviewing is not as effective. For younger people or people new to the workforce, we have to make assumptions about their potential fit for the role. We base our decision using common sense, good judgement and our intuitive abilities. In other words, we take a leap of faith.

Is past behaviour always a predictor of future performance? This is a question we consider even sub-consciously when setting new goals, professional or personal. If only we had a crystal ball to tell us whether the growing pains are worth the effort! Should I embark on a program to lose weight, stop smoking, pay down my debts etc. or am I playing a losing game?

Here’s my thought on this: when the desire for change is greater than the pain endured in the past and present, you’ll commit to change and profound change is entirely possible. Once you make this commitment and declare your intentions you’ll have the confidence and determination to confront any obstacles that get in the way of success. And when you make a daily practice of getting in tune with your intuition for guidance, the universe will respond in kind.

Best wishes for every success with your goals and intentions for 2013!
Let the source be with you!

About Rebecca:RHeaslip

Rebecca is a grounded free spirit who lets her intuition be her guide. She has been in business for more than 14 years, helping people develop their full potential by making smart decisions that balance intuition with facts and data. Rebecca shows you in 5 easy steps how to simplify your life and re-gain control by connecting with your inner wisdom every day.And live your life without regrets!

Find out more about Rebecca here: www.leadership-insight.com

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January 15, 2013 |

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