I was chatting to someone from a design agency this week and we got into this conversation about behavioural change. We were discussing how important it is to align executive/senior leadership behaviour with brand core values. Especially as many companies invest heavily in brand design and development.
I remember at one point he said, well yes it’s hard to ‘get people to change’. As I said to him ‘getting someone’ to do anything or change is something that rarely works in the long-term. And it is pretty presumptuous. Change is a choice, always.
It is so important to ensure that executives and senior teams are actively committed to role modelling brand values. We copy what we see, right? However leadership teams behave, that’s what will be played out day-to-day throughout the company culture.
Role modelling isn’t about being perfect or getting something ‘right’. It’s about a commitment to being conscious of one’s own behaviour and proactively working towards growth (and brand alignment).
The cost of not doing so can be big, particularly with customers. For example: if one of your core values is integrity, yet the company culture is to not call customers back, not be honest about mistakes or product suitability, not stay in communication when you can’t deliver, not keep your word – the result can be a huge loss of reputation. Just look what happened to banks with the financial crisis or more recently energy companies.
So how does one change habits, particularly habits and behaviour that may have been around in our lives for 20, 30, 40 + years?
Here are 3 recommendations to start you off:
- Willingness – ask do you really want to change your behaviour? It may be a nice idea, aspirational even – but is it something you actual want to do? Being totally honest with yourself is the crucial first step. Once you are clear about this you can make a conscious choice to go forward. Thoughts such as ‘I should’ or ‘I have to’ can indicate a state of obligation not willingness
- Definition – what is it that you actually want to change? The important thing is to be extremely specific. Define your actual step-by-step behaviour in a scenario that is usually challenging for you. Be honest! Definitions such as ‘stop procrastinating’ or ‘don’t react aggressively’ are great, however they are too ambiguous for you to be able to pin point when they are happening in the moment
- Practise – this is where you get to play! Once you have defined the behaviour you want to change, the game is to practise, practise and practise. Practise NOTICING when you are doing the behaviour you want to change, this is critical and powerful part. When you NOTICE, you have the opportunity to make a different choice. Then keep practising…it may take hours, months, years even and every little bit counts. Whether you change something or not, the challenge will be to go back in and have another go – one more time.
The wonderful thing about changing behaviour is that you will always have ‘one more time’ – you will always have another opportunity no matter how long it takes.
Now that’s something to be grateful for…
If you’d like some insight into your leadership behaviour – or to get clear on what to change and how. I am offering a limited number of FREE 45min insight sessions during August…
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