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The Dead Man's Test

The Dead Man's Test

Motivation Minute Newsletter

A great litmus test to gauge the effectiveness of your recognition strategy is the "Dead Man's Test," coined by Dr. Ogden Lindsley in 1965.  In a nutshell, "if a dead man can do it, it isn't behavior and you shouldn't waste your time trying to produce it." 

Unfortunately many initiatives fail this test - especially in the safety arena.  "Zero defects" or "Days without a lost-time accident" are examples of goals that don't pass the test.  Dead men never have accidents and they don't manufacture defective products. Another problem is the focus on the negative.  "Don't have an accident, " "don't be late," "don't make a mistake."

What we must always remember is that employees are hired to DO things - be active.  Active behavior gets things done.  Pinpoint specific actions that are necessary for your desired result and make sure they are observable, measurable, and reliable.  Specific behaviors achieve specific results.

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