Behavior change is so hard! If you’re faced with a health crisis, you might make a long list of things you’re going to do differently – get more sleep, eat better, exercise daily – but then when real life rolls around, it’s often hard to do. The same holds true for organizations. If the organization is faced with a financial crisis, leaders make a list of things they want employees to do differently – be more innovative, collaborate more, take more ownership – but again, when real life rolls around, it’s often hard to do.
Knowing which behaviors will make the greatest difference in results is the key. Leaders need to spend time aligning the right results with specific behaviors. Let’s say an organization is trying to increase innovation to meet the new emissions laws in California. The results can be measured by number of new products produced in the next 18 months. Well, what behavior is going to drive those results? And more importantly, what leadership behaviors will reinforce the employee behaviors needed to drive those results?
The best organizations know to:
- Be very specific about what behavior change is needed (and from whom).
- Pick wisely when asking for behavior change. It’s hard enouth to change a single behavior, so don’t pick five to change.
- Align behavior across the organization (you can’t have it in engineering and not in manufacturing).
- Get change, you need to track and coach to the behaviors, not only the results.
All behavior is rational, if you understand what the drivers are. If you want new results in your organization, spend time figuring out what those drivers are, what behaviors are needed, and then coach, coach, coach.