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THE SIX BOXES® MODEL – The Systems View

Now that we’ve linked what people do to what the organization wants to accomplish by identifying what they need to produce (the Performance Chain), we can identify and coordinate all the factors that affect a change in behavior, what we call behavior influences. 

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Behavior influences comprise the far-left link in the Performance Chain, the enablers of human performance.

The challenge in any organization is to determine what combination of behavior influences are most likely to produce desired changes in behavior, to establish and accelerate it.  The list can be very long, and investments made to change behavior often come from many different parts of the organization.

The Six Boxes® Model is a comprehensive categorization of these influences, based on over 60 years of basic behavior science, simplified into six easy-to-remember “boxes.” We use this plain English model to teach leaders, managers, and performance professionals how to think systemically when identifying factors that currently enable or obstruct behavior, when planning for new behavior or programs, and when working on continuous improvement or development. It allows us to coordinate all behavior influences for maximum impact. 

Balancing and tuning the system of behavior influences that affects any given behavior is how we achieve maximum return on investments that the organization makes in people. Choices of which steps to take (Do they need training? Would a bonus be motivating? Should we provide a coach?) are better understood and addressed when the whole picture of influences is understood. Often, additions of inexpensive programs or simple changes in management are discovered and bring greater impact.

Sharing the Six Boxes Model across levels and functions in an organization leads to a shared understanding and coordinated implementation of all interventions. Organizations can often dramatically improve productivity and profitability per employee while increasing employee engagement by using the Six Boxes Model as the foundation for performance planning and performance improvement.

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