The Belief / Behavior Principle

The Law of Attraction: like attracts like; we attract into our life whatever we focus on.

We’ve all had The Experience…  You’ve purchased a new car, worn a new piece of clothing, or discovered a new show or podcast.  Now you see that same make or model of car everywhere.  You notice others are wearing the same clothing brand.  You are excited to share your love of the new show with others only to discover they already watch the program, and you begin to share your favorite episodes and characters.

Researchers call it the Frequency Illusion or frequency bias.  It is a cognitive bias in which, after noticing something for the first time, there is a tendency to notice it more often, leading someone to believe that it has a high frequency of occurrence.

Our brains act like a filtering device.  We are constantly taking in large streams of data and input from each of our senses.  Our brains can filter out unimportant information so we can focus on a task and not be overwhelmed by external stimuli.  This ability allows us to make decisions faster.  Interesting, but what does this mean for career development and advancement?

Identifying and managing your “belief/behavior” link will guide your attention, focus, what you attract, and success as a leader or business owner.   What you believe influences what you focus on.  Belief drives behavior, which drives results.  If you are not happy with your results, you can attract what you want by altering your beliefs, focus and behavior.

In the 1950s Douglas McGregor developed the Theory X and Theory Y theories of human work motivation and management. Theory X style managers believe employees are less intelligent, lazier, and work solely for money.  Theory Y managers believe employees are internally motivated, enjoy work and responsible.

If you believe workers are lazier, you are more likely to behave by increasing supervision, and use rewards or punishments as motivation, which often results in a rule-based culture where people perform well when closely monitored, but not when left on their own.  On the other hand, If you believe workers are self-motivated and enjoy their work, you are more likely to behave by sharing responsibility, and giving employees more autonomy, which often results in a more collaborative and adaptable culture.

Make the Belief / Behavior Principle Work for You

Imagine two people, Tangela wants to become a better leader at her health services organization, while Liz wants to find a new job in the hospitality industry.

If you’re like Tangela identify and manage your beliefs and behaviors to become a more effective leader.  Think about the following:

  1. Leadership Beliefs – describe your two or three most important leadership beliefs. How do those beliefs show up in your day-to-day behavior?  Ask your team members how changing one or two of your beliefs or behaviors would improve results.
  2. Success Formula – what approach has allowed you to be successful in the past? Ask your manager and team if they think the same approach will work in the future?  If not, what changes do you need to make?
  3. Leadership Style – how would you describe your leadership style? Based on your style, what is missing on your team?


If you’re like Liz, you need to attract opportunities from the new industry. Think about the following:

  1. Companies – what companies do you admire in your target industry? What do you like about the way they serve customers?  How does that relate to your beliefs?
  2. People – how can you attract people that work at your most admired companies? Who can introduce you?  Where can you meet them in professional and social settings?
  3. Role – how can you talk to people that have the job you want? Where can you go online or in person to get a feel for what happens on a typical day?


Bottom Line

Like Tangela and Liz, you can use these questions to focus your attention, deliver better results, identify new opportunity, and grow as a leader.

Want more Career and Leadership Advice?

Develop: 7 Practical Tools to Take Charge of Your Career

Stay up to date on career and leadership content, book news, and events.

Learn more about having ted speak to your organization

Share This Post

More From The Blog...

The 3-Year Job Cycle

I recently caught up with the 2015 Class of my human resources leadership development program.  After sharing updates on engagements, marriages, children, and current living

Read More »