During my teen years, I played a lot of baseball. Practice shifted from inside to outside as winter turned to spring. From the bubble gum and sunflower seeds to getting a base hit or turning a double play with best friends, there’s nothing quite like it.

But every now and again, even the best teams find themselves way behind in the game. And when this happens, after putting on our “rally caps,” the manager would cheer us on and say, “Let’s go! Hitting is contagious!”

I’d think, “Really? So you’re saying that the same hitters who’ve been dominated by the same individual pitcher somehow have an opportunity to catch up?” And sure enough, one hit after another, baserunners turned to runs, and the gap in the score closed in no time.

As crazy as it sounds, after a while, we started to believe it. Hitting really is contagious.

And so are values and behaviors in a company. Core values hanging on a wall are not contagious. But, the values that are expected and rewarded over time will both be contagious and normalized.

What is a value or behavior that you want to be more true of your team in one year?

What is a behavior that drives you crazy and you’d like to reduce by 75% in one year?

Got it?

Okay, it’s not easy, but it is simple:

1. Say It

“In one year, we will be a team that __________.”
“In one year, we will be a team that is nearly void of ________.”

2. Recognize It

Share examples of people inside and outside the organization who carry this value/attitude/trait.
Challenge people kindly but directly when they miss the mark.

3. Reward It

Honor and promote the people who exemplify these traits.

Over and over. This realm most certainly isn’t accidental. It’s possible to gain ground in a year and infuse it into the organizational DNA in three years.

Cheers to illuminating the values and behaviors that will in-time, become contagious and normative!!

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