Driving Behavioural Change

By Ineke de Boer

Organisations are transforming all the time. Transformation is required to make sure your organisation grows or remains competitive. A difficult element of transformation is to make sure that your people change their behaviour to support the transformation. Changing behaviour is a tough nut to crack.

Great leaders are realizing that a one-off communication or training isn’t sufficient to change the behaviour of their teams. This article helps you with 3 ingredients to optimize your investments in communication, training and documentation to actually drive the desired behavioural change within your organisation.

Ingredient #1 – Case for Change

Most organisations do well in explaining the benefits of a transformation for the company itself. But far too often they forget to explain the “what’s in it for you” for the people that are impacted by the transformation. Explaining the benefits of the individuals from whom you expect the behavioural change is the first crucial element in your transformation.

You can do so by building and communicating a case for change, the people-oriented counterpart of a business case, where you outline:

  1. Why the change is needed
  2. What the transformation looks like including what behavioural change is expected
  3. What happens to their organisation if the transformation doesn’t happen
  4. What’s in it for the people that need to support the transformation

My advice would be to start all communication on all levels or your organisation with the above-mentioned case for change, prior to even starting your transformation project.

Ingredient #2 – Buy-in from managers

Behavioural change starts at the top, first line managers influence the behaviour of their teams on a daily basis. If they are not convinced they will not convince the individuals in their team to change their behaviour.

The minimum level to get buy-in from managers is to make sure that they know what’s coming prior to their teams. Walking them through the case for change and the actual transformation plans is the baseline to get buy-in.

You can take this a step further by  enabling your managers to properly coach their teams:

  1. Training them first through a train-the-coach program
  2. Allow them to ask questions related to the transformation
  3. Pro-actively involving managers to build your organisation’s answer to the expected resistance of the team.

Though, you actually bring your managers at their full potential by involving them in the design of the change in the early stages of your transformation project. People are better ambassadors for things they have contributed to themselves. Bottom-up requirements gathering or feedback moments increase the chance that your managers become true internal champions.

Ingredient #3 – Blended Learning

Rolling out a transformation to your organisation doesn’t happen overnight, the roll-out program needs to be structured and project managed. Build a blended learning program increases your changes to learning retention. It’s all about repetition, I advise to share your message at least 3 different times through 3 different channels.

A well blended learning program consists of:

  1. A communication plan detailing when and how you will announce the case for change and the learning program. How you will update throughout the program and how you will close the program.
  2. A training plan to cover how you’ll train the managers and the impacted teams. Detailing training objectives and training channels (self-paced digital training, classroom training, webinar,..).
  3. A central go-to place to find all information related to the program.
  4. Feedback and Q&A process
  5. How you’ll measure the effectiveness of your program

Before you start building your learning program make sure to define your audience (based upon the earlier created case for change) if your transformation expects behavioural change from multiple different stakeholder groups it makes sense to build role-specific learning programs.

To conclude, driving change is a tough nut to crack. Build out your case for change, getting buy-in from your managers and building a blended learning program are ingredients to help you drive behavioural change in your organisation.

Author, Ineke de Boer is Sales Enablement Manager at Showpad 

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