Performance is an Outcome of Behaviors

(This model is the heart and soul of my “Simple is Sustainable” process.)

The model is uncomplicated, easy to understand, and intuitive. Once you study it for only a few minutes you will get it. You can take it with you and make strategic decisions wherever you are and under the intensity of any pressure you might experience.

Performance is the outcome of a decision (Behavior) that was made based on what an individual Believes is the right thing to do.

If you want difference Performance, the culture must be remodeled and aligned to support the new Beliefs and Behaviors that generate the desired Performance.


Beliefs are the sum of our knowledge, perceptions, and emotions. When faced with a decision, people, for the most part, make that decision based on what they believe to be the right action to take. For the most part, people want to do what is right.  

(Based only on my observations over the last 30 years in the trenches, I believe somewhere around 90% of people want to do the right thing.)

Difference between beliefs and values

A monumental issue limiting Performance in many organizations is leaders have not “taught” the employees what is the right thing to do – the right decision to make in a specific situation, how to treat people or how to interact with customers. So, well-intended people are forced to make the decision they believe is right at that moment.

Teaching people to believe the right thing is one of the most critical elements of leadership. Teaching happens in two ways – communication and actions.

Consistently communicating what leaders want the employees to believe takes place in meeting, internal communications, one-on-one interactions, and having people read and study the right information.

But the true power of teaching emanates from leaders role modeling the desired beliefs and behaviors. Employees rarely listen to what leaders say; they only “listen” to what leaders do.

Employees are typically cynical. They have all heard the vitriolic speeches by a CEO promising greatness, wealth, happiness and other Utopian principles that never happen. Why should they believe what any leader says?

If leaders do it, workers will follow.


Behaviors are the actions and decisions based on a Belief of what is the right thing to do. It’s the way a person acts.

Because people are humans, they learn that if they act in a specific way they will be rewarded or punished. Or a certain behavior will make them famous, or popular. Or happy or sad.

A culture is defined as the normative Beliefs and Behaviors of the people in an organization or cohort. Therefore, if the culture aligns with the performance, a strong culture will generate strong outcomes. A bad culture will generate bad outcomes.

That’s why legend Peter Drucker said, “Culture eats strategy every time.”


Performance is the outcome of the Beliefs and Behaviors. That’s fairly straightforward.

Performance is also the tangible proof that the Behaviors used to make the decision were right.

I will discuss this in more depth in later chapters. But the Simple performance model is you get the Performance you want by rewarding and recognizing the Behaviors that yield the desired Performance.


Ultimately you will only get what you hold people accountable for. Accountability is both positive and negative. The less punitive you are the greater performance you get.