Accentuate The Positive – Whale Done!

I take my daughter to a reading class. While she is with her reading tutor for an hour I also take a book to read. I started to read a book called "Whale Done" written by Ken Blanchard.
In this book Wes a manager at a company decided to attend a show at Sea World. He was amazed at how well the trainers and whales interacted with each other. The whales do lots of acrobatic activities for the audience. He waited until the show was over and then decided to ask a trainer how they can get a 2 ton whale to entertain the audience so well.
Seaworld-Killer-Whale-Show Seaworld-Killer-WhalesThe trainer took him behind the scenes and explained their approach. Of course you cannot reprimand an animal of that size.The trainer said that they accentuate the positive. The trainer explained to Wes that the more you accentuate the negative behaviour the more it will be repeated. If you focuss on what is being done right then it will get done right more often. They develop a friendship with the killer whales. They take the time to understand each whale individually and create the training into a game.
If a whale is not doing what the trainer wants then they redirect the whales attention back to the task at hand or to something that they are good at doing. If the whale does the assigned task then they are rewarded. Sometimes it is with food but other times it is by rubbing their head as they like to be rubbed and touched. The food reward meant that the whale had to be kept hungry to perform well which is not healthy for the animal. Many of us are motivated  by words of encouragement or even a physical contact like the whales as much as financial reward.
If you are taking the redirection approach you need to describe the error or problem as soon as possible, but never putting blame on the person. It may be that you need to take the blame for not making the task clear. A current example in our home was my husband's daily drug regime. He decided that we needed to create a chart to keep track of the three drugs that he takes throughout the day. I created the spreadsheet and my daughters and I were in charge of writing down the time that we gave him each drug. We didn't explain clearly to the girls where to fill in the time. The spreadsheet was set up in six columns because he takes one drug six times a day. We were to go across the page with the times but we did not communicate this to our daughters. They started writing the times down the sheet instead of across. Once my husband noticed their mistake he took ownership of the fact that we hadn't explained to them where to put in the time. He commended them for writing down the time and then explained it needed to go across the page and not down. This is a great example of redirection or Whale Done approach. He went over the task in detail until he knew that they understood where he needed them to put down the time he gave them each drug. He expressed confidence and trust in their ability to do it the right way going forward.
It is more motivating to get a Whale Done. It is amazing how often we don't verbally express our appreciation for someone's efforts. We are quick to criticize someone for not meeting our expectations. I remember a boss I had at one of my jobs said that I was great at coming up with ideas but everyone else had to do the work. I was offended by his comment because I was spending extra hours at the workplace outside of what I was being paid organizing an area that had been under neglect for many years.
I am a systems person so I was putting things together that were the same. For example, there were lots of writing pens of different colours and styles. I put them all together so I could review how many that I had of each. After a few days I had the items that were alike together so I could take stock of how much of each of something I had in inventory. This saved the company money because I would not have to order it if someone in the office or factory needed it. I took great pride in getting the many items that were spread across many shelves condensed into a smaller area with like items together.
Eventually my efforts did get recognized by my boss and his peers. My Whale Done was in a raise in my salary. It felt good as I had been told that there was no money for raises. I asked my bosses's boss how I had gotten a raise when there was no money. His response was that there is always money somewhere that can be accessed if it is deemed important.
It is human nature to look for someone doing something wrong rather than something right. I have caught myself getting irritated with my daughters when they don't do a household chore when asked. There are times I have not given them a timeline on the task so it is my fault when it doesn't get done by a certain time. I know for myself it helps if I write down what I  need to do and check it off when done. We all get so busy with our day to day lives that things get forgotten.
I listened to a webinar where the speaker said to block off your time into segments of 15 minutes. You sit down to do something in that 15 minute period. He even suggested setting a timer that rings at the 15 minute time. He then says to stop and take a 5 minute break. I was thinking that a break wasn't necessary but he explained that you are fresh after a 5 minute break and get more done in your next 15 minutes. To me this is accentuating a postive work habit like the Whale Done relationship approach.
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Robert and Bethany Jobb
Our Motto: "The Best Is Yet To Come!"
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