Employee behaviors are critical for the success of Business Transformation endeavors. However, transforming the ingrained behaviors and mindsets of the workforce isn’t straightforward, and when tackled cause the enterprise’s emotional state to go down.
Leaders need to identify the components of Culture that are in line with their Corporate Strategy. They have to ascertain and harness the positive elements of culture that can drive the desired Transformation and suppress those that obstruct it.
For the desired Organizational Culture to sustain, leaders should work on gaining acceptance of the transformed behaviors. Leaders who do not give culture its due importance risk ruining their strategic endeavors, as they lack the commitment required from the employees to achieve success.
The real question is why senior leaders fail to use the positive elements of Organizational Culture constructively in the first place. The answer is simple; there are 4 common yet wrong assumptions—or myths—regarding culture change that are deeply established in most businesses that are anything but facts. Paying heed to—and acting on—these 4 myths results in grave consequences:
- Culture is the root cause of all our failures
- Changing our Organizational Culture is beyond us, forget about it
- Let Human Resources deal with Organizational Culture
- Culture is the responsibility of top management
When senior executives devise a strategy to transform the deeply entrenched organizational culture—by putting in place new policies, practices, reward structures, and performance management systems—there is strong resistance that outplays the strategy.
This is primarily due to employees’ reservations and uncertainties regarding the impact of these changes on their work, colleagues, atmosphere, routines, family, and their enterprise’s reputation. Transforming the Organizational Culture using the individual’s actions and conduct necessitates seeking assistance from 7 guiding principles:
- Be Practical
- Reinforce New Behaviors
- Seek Out Role Models
- Identify Cultural Carriers
- Leverage Existing Culture
- Be a Role Model
- Explain Impact of New Behavior
Application of these guiding principles facilitates in transpiring successful culture change. Let’s dive deeper into a few of these guiding principles.
The first guiding principle to changing the culture involves starting rationally and pragmatically. It is not feasible to strive to change every behavior at once. Leaders need to concentrate on the behaviors most critical for the organization. The ones that reverberate with the existing company culture and have a key role in improving the organizational performance. This entails ascertaining groups of employees whose behaviors should be transformed immediately. A clear demonstration of the requisite changes goes a long way in reinforcing the desired behaviors and culture in the organization.
Reinforce New Behaviors
The 2nd principle to changing culture involves emphasizing new behaviors. The desired behaviors should be reinforced using formal and informal mechanisms. Formal reinforcement mechanisms include metrics, processes, appraisals, salary reviews, training, and incentives to reward new behaviors. These formal mechanisms allow people to practice new behaviors repetitively, until they begin to realize their value. Informal reinforcement mechanisms include support networks and associations to nurture sensitivity and devotion needed to cope with uncertainties.
Seek out Role Models
Organizational Culture Transformation necessitates distinguishing role models to demonstrate the desired behaviors. Culture change begins when change practitioners act by modeling the new behaviors. These change practitioners are pride builders for an organization. The examples set by these practitioners assist in inculcating pride in others about embracing the desired behaviors. This action is referred to as “positive deviance” or constructive non-conformity. These pride builders in turn identify and develop more exemplars.
Interested in learning more about the other guiding principles of culture change? You can download an editable PowerPoint on 7 Guiding Principles of Culture Change here on the Flevy documents marketplace.
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Product managers, marketers, and designers are often confused as to what they should do to increase the chances of customers’ engagement and uptake of their offering. Changing individuals’ behavior to enhance engagement, productivity, innovation, and happiness isn’t straightforward.
It takes a lot of effort, time, and resources to execute initiatives aimed at transforming behaviors and Organizational Culture. However, most people aren’t interested in changing and like the status quo to prevail. This is where Behavioral Economics can help to know how customers behave, interpret their decision-making methods, and create solutions targeting those behaviors.
Product designers and marketers aspiring to drive acceptance of their products can make use of the 3 Bs of Behavioral Change to change understand consumer behavior. The 3 Bs of Behavioral Change classify the 3 elements essential to change behaviors, i.e.:
Understanding and employing these 3 Bs helps the designers and product managers instill change, inspire design and strategy-related decisions, increase the acceptance of new products / features and product engagement levels, and build new behaviors in people.
Let’s discuss the first 2 elements in detail.
People have an inherent tendency to maintain the status quo. Behavioral change necessitates:
- Identifying individuals’ existing attitudes.
- Assessing and tackling psychological biases affecting individuals’ decisions.
- Carefully tracking behaviors that need to be changed.
- Ascertaining the most important desired behavior and exact action that is imperative to drive results.
- Getting the buy-in from all stakeholders on the key behavior.
- Deciding if the behavior should be permanent or transient.
Examples of key actions to change behaviors include spending 30 minutes thrice weekly doing cardio exercises and consuming salad at lunch daily to stay healthy.
Understanding the barriers in behavior adoption assists in creating effective solutions to improve uptake of key behavior. The second step to induce behavioral change is to reduce barriers in its adoption.
- Every decision that a product user has to make, no matter how negligible, increases resistance in the likelihood of completing a specific behavior.
- These actions and decisions an individual has to take in order to achieve the desired behavior create points of friction in embracing key behaviors. For instance, people often find it difficult to decide when presented with complex choices. They tend to procrastinate or become a victim of decision paralysis.
- Removing the points of friction and resistance from any key behavior necessitates documenting and streamlining all decisions. The path of least resistance leads to desired key behaviors.
Examples of barriers include the thought process involved in the decision to select where to have dinner. This thought process is, in fact, a psychological barrier in actually going out and having dinner. Likewise, the decision to walk or drive to a restaurant is a logistical barrier and a point of friction that warrants making a decision.
To eliminate these barriers, we can either remove barriers entirely or just simplify the decision. For instance, elimination of a non-critical, open text field from a sign-up form—that probed the users about their business, which requires significant time to think and answer—can increase page-over-page conversion. In case choices are helpful for the users and cannot be eliminated, then it is best to simplify the decision process by giving fewer options instead of many, or by suggesting “recommended option” to the users.
Interested in learning more about the details of the 3 Bs of Behavioral Change? You can download an editable PowerPoint presentation on 3 Bs of Behavioral Change here on the Flevy documents marketplace.