Building a Change-Ready Culture – Part 2
APPLYING THE BEHAVIOUR CHANGE MODEL
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them — that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” – Lao Tzu
In the first part of this article, we discovered that we feel that change is hard not because it is, but because we fail to set up our environments for success. The crisis of confidence that results from our lack of success is often internalised – we blame ourselves, our ability or our motivation, and neglect to understand the compelling relationship between our behaviour and the environment – and this makes any change appear difficult. We tell ourselves stories like “we can’t do it” or “it’s not for us” when nothing could be further from the truth.
In this article, we explore the practical steps that any organisation can take to create a change-ready culture. In a change-ready culture, you see opportunities in confusion and chaos. Even in our pre-COVID world, we were already destined to experience a rapidly changing world under the influence of digital transformation and technological acceleration. Now, change-readiness will be a critical success factor.
Need something that works for your unique culture?
One of the questions we are most frequently asked in our client engagements is “will this work for me/my culture/my business/in this country/at this time?” The fear is that the model only caters for one specific set of circumstances and might, therefore, be unhelpful or at worst damaging. Given that many programmes are culture specific, this is a valid concern, but one we have addressed by not restricting ourselves to a single model.
One of the major strengths of the Change Craft behaviour change framework is that it doesn’t matter where you start from, there’s always a method that you can use to improve things. The Change Craft behaviour change framework is a deliberate amalgamation of the models and thinking of others. Amongst many others, for instance, it incorporates BJ Fogg’s Tiny Habits methods, Robert Cialdini’s Influence and Persuasion techniques, and Christakis and Fowler’s Social Contagion theory. This means that within the framework there is likely to be a model, an idea, or method that can be used effectively in your circumstances to achieve your goals! The trick is to know where you are and where the most impactful starting point might be.
You are here
The first step on any journey is to know your starting point. If you don’t know where you’re coming from how can you choose a pathway that will get you to your desired destination? Most businesses know what they would like to achieve, but are struggling to get there. A typical problem statement might be “we’d like our people to be healthy because we know they’ll perform better at work”, or “we’d like teams to work more effectively and be more creative”. However, in most cases, you don’t have a good handle on where you are right now and what needs to change to create these outcomes.
An assessment of the status quo against the Four Powers behaviour change has several uses:
- It indicates where you are so that you can build a clear pathway – a series of steps, iterations or changes – that move you consistently and deliberately towards your goal
- It identifies strengths and development opportunities in the context of the Four Powers framework. The results will point directly to influence methodologies that are likely to have the greatest impact in creating change-readiness
- The initial findings will form the base measures on a scorecard to test progress and help determine the value generated
- It can be repeated periodically to track progress
- It creates a business imperative for change by providing an objective statement of the current situation for the executive.
Whether you’re looking to test your company’s readiness to respond to change or simply evaluate your wellbeing programme, Change Craft offers assessments designed for different circumstances and purposes. If you want to get a feel for what’s involved based on your perceptions of the organisation, you can also try our free-to-use 16 question assessment.
Future-Proofing: Getting clear on the strategy
Once you know where you are and where you are going, it’s time to start thinking about strategy. At this juncture, key stakeholders and senior leaders that have role or responsibility for the proposed change are asked to engage and contribute during a facilitated workshop session. Leaders can’t be told what to believe – they must look at the circumstances of the company and draw the same conclusions that the change leaders have about the importance of the proposed change. Only then can they craft the vision and decide the first critical steps. These should be relatively small, relatively easy to achieve and widely celebrated. Remember – you’re going from a standing start and it takes time to build change momentum.
In summary, the goals of these workshops are manifold, including:
- To ensure everyone is on the same page and aligned to the vision.
- To agree to the initial steps required on the journey.
- To define what success looks like. This means taking the journey to the vision and dissecting it into measurable reality made achievable by taking modest steps along the way.
- To set up the scorecard by agreeing on the items that will provide reliable indicators of progress towards the vision. Items should have a current value and a value at the achievement of the vision, be measurable in a reliable way and ideally should be available from the outset of the change programme.
At the end of the session, every leader with a stake in the change process should understand what change is required, why that change is necessary and desirable, the first steps in the change process, what the vision looks like and their role in achieving that. Importantly, they should be bought in and emotionally attached to the success of the project.
How to Build Capacity and Sustain Results
Throughout every business, there are people who will drive the change process forwards. These people will typically be managers, have influence over colleagues, will usually have some budget, and will have the ability to change the environment for other employees. Training managers on the behaviour change framework and the specifics of the change process will be the most effective way to ensure success. The change process is highly likely to fail if you do not build these influencers into the system and engage their services as Change Agents in the process.
Change Craft educates and engages managers in the behaviour change framework using online and face-to-face training services that are practical and allow individuals to deliberately practice the tools and techniques they learn.
Becoming a Change Agent is an intense learning process lasting four weeks. Contrary to popular belief, new habits usually take longer than this to form. This means it is imperative to keep practising and applying the learned behaviour over a sustained period, not lose focus and fight the temptations that might lure you back to your old ways. To stay motivated, human beings also require novelty. For this reason, we recommend post-course support to help embed the new behaviours including:
- Support for the individuals to work through the challenges that they face and strive for mastery
- Further training on the influence methods to supplement those learned during the Change agent training
- Access to the BRATLAB research resources for further reading, ideas and reminders of on-course learning
- Deliberate practice of new behaviours with a buddy and mastery partner.
The Magic Circle: Evaluate and Adjust
We should complete the cycle by returning to the assessment to determine if progress is being made and value-added. To the extent that it’s possible, value generated should be tested using all available resources and data.
If you’re changing your wellbeing program focusing specifically on healthy behaviours, the Outcomes Value tool will be extremely helpful in determining value generated by the change process. The scorecard should be populated, progress critically reviewed and the change leadership should decide which interventions should be continued, which should be refreshed and which should be scrapped. The cycle will begin again from that point.