Behavioural Change in Organisations

Behavioural Change = Organisational Change

In our experience, organisational change programs are typically not set up for success as there is:

  • Lack of shared intent, vision and/or rationale for the change
  • Inattention on the people who are required to, or are impacted by, change
  • Insufficient time allowed to embed genuine behavioural change

This ends to result in:

  • Insufficient resources allocated so the change program misses critical milestones
  • Key stakeholders do not buy into the journey and become confused and unproductive; valued employees become disengaged and/or leave
  • Progress made through initial change efforts are quickly lost as people regress back to the “old ways” without changing habits.

Our Model for Behavioural Change

Intention + Action – Landing = Regression; there appear to be early wins in bringing people along for the journey, but these will quickly revert back to those all too familiar yet unproductive/inefficient ways of doing things

Intention + Landing – Action = Stagnation; people will hear the message about the need to change over and over, but will not know how to change and/or are not supported to modify their behaviours

Action + Landing – Intention = Confusion; people will have all the tools and ongoing support needed to change their behaviour, but without a clear vision they will diverge in different directions all chasing their own version of the goals.

Intention followed by Action supported by Landing gives any change program the best chance of sustained success.

Our approach includes the following activities to help safeguard against change failure and associated costs:

  • Purposefully include “people factors” into the planning phase of the change program; develop human and behavioural objectives for the change (as well as budget-related and technical goals)
  • Provide multiple channels of communication and active feedback mechanisms to ensure a wide understanding of why the change is needed and the consequences of not making the change
  • Share progress stories and reward and recognise changed behaviours in order to normalize the “new” way of doing things.

Sustaining Behavioural Change

Sustained behavioural change is required for the success of any organisational change; it needs individuals and teams to engage with a new way of thinking and working and requires different habits to be embedded on an ongoing basis for a new culture to prevail.

Our approach recommends:

  • The Case for Change – providing a clear rationale for the change together with a comprehensive picture of the desired future
  • Communication –
    • clear and concise – leadership must contextualise the need for change into language to which the various stakeholders can relate, being specific about new expected behaviours
    • across multiple channels – multiple versions of the same message, repeated across many key channels and delivery modes enhances the communication for people of different thinking styles allowing for each individual to respond to the change in their own way
    • over an extended period of time – new habits need to be formed to reinforce the desired behaviours. As old habits are replaced with new there is a constant temptation to revert to the old (more comfortable) ways of doing things. Communicating and providing support over an extended period of time helps people to keep connecting with the new mindset and a new culture will emerge
  • Stakeholder Impact – it is important to identify all individuals and groups that will be impacted by the change, to what extent and in what way they will be impacted, and to consider their likely response and resistance to the change. This understanding will facilitate working closely with each individual or group through the change managing their resistance along the way
  • Sponsorship – it is critical that strong sponsorship for the change is demonstrated throughout the change program and reinforced through behaviours, actions, systems and processes to recognise and reward new behaviours.

How can we help?

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