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Monday, November 06, 2006

Sustainable Behavior Patterns and Habits

"Culture changes, strategy execution, performance improvement all require people to change existing behavior patterns - habits that have been supported in the past because they worked in a particular organizational environment."

According to Jerry Pound from Management Issues, changing behaviors is the key to breaking the motivational code within an organization.

The premise:

  • The specific employee behaviors and the performance results these behaviors collectively produce are observable and measurable, hence more accessible to influence once one understands something about behavior change technology.

But organizational change initiatives have poor success rates because they seldom take into consideration the fact that real people have to change behavior that has paid off for years.

To achieve sustained behavior change, consider some of the following recommendations:

  1. Train your supervisors in behavioral principles.
  2. Behavioralize performance language.
  3. Incorporate behavioral root-cause analysis into your formal and informal problem-solving tactics.
  4. Measure every intervention (initiative, training program, or seminar).
  5. Remove the barriers and constraints that dysfunctional systems and processes create for employees
  6. Involve your employees in systems and process improvement.
  7. Vertically align your strategic objectives into the results, tasks, and most importantly—the specific behaviors required from every employee to achieve those objectives.

Remember that the unstated purpose of employee motivational programs has always been to change employee behavior—to encourage employees to perform tasks more quickly, seek more tasks, put forth additional effort, and increase value-added behavior.

BOTTOMLINE: "These kinds of behavior changes cannot be sustained unless the work environment supports new behaviors. New behavior must have ongoing supportive consequences or else the extra effort brought about by any change initiative will be discouraged. "

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