Business Transformation initiatives are typically undertaken to solve a pressing issue, bring about improved performance, or to serve customers better. A critical element of the success of such initiatives entails transforming the existing behaviors of the employees across the organization. However, this isn’t a straightforward task.
Attitudes and practices get reinforced in people by following established routines day in and day out. Such practices become a part of an Organizational Culture over time. Ingrained organizational behaviors and practices aren’t considered burdening until the organization’s performance starts declining considerably over time. That’s when the leaders start thinking about changing these beliefs and habitual actions.
Psychology and Neuroscience can help enterprises change the deeply embedded attitudes and practices of people and replace those with new beliefs and practices. Leading organizations are using psychology and brain research to induce successful change. Specifically, they focus on the right priorities to enable Organizational and Behavioral Change and take the following 6 steps—or 6 Rs of Behavioral Change:
Let’s dive deeper into the first 3 steps critical to render behavioral change.
Step 1 – Recognize
The first step involves the leadership reflecting on the behaviors that are required to be transformed. Leaders are responsible for articulating the future vision of an organization, prioritizing and implementing initiatives to achieve the vision, and take measures to tackle disruption caused by technology and rivals. Self-Reflection on undesired behaviors by role models (including senior leaders) is essential to make other people ponder over their behaviors.
Leadership behaviors inform the workforce about the Transformation required, assist in championing the agenda, and make these behaviors resonate across the board. Individuals, in turn, should contemplate on the alignment of their behaviors with their personal / organizational goals, think of new improved ways of doing things, and dump convenient yet unproductive behaviors.
Step 2 – Relabel
The 2nd step of the 6 Rs to Organizational Change necessitates categorizing and naming the flawed or unfit behaviors. Neuroscience research has revealed that by naming behaviors and understanding that thoughts are merely ideas, persons with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can disregard useless thoughts and behaviors that trigger them to wash their hands again and again.
Relabeling thoughts allows individuals to stop reflecting on useless thoughts. Likewise, in an organizational setting leadership needs to evaluate which shared thoughts don’t work well, categorize them, and communicate the reasons for their unsuitability across the organization.
Step 3 – Reflect
In this step, senior management replaces outdated beliefs and behaviors and outlines the vision or desired objectives and behaviors. The outlined desired objectives and behaviors need to be explicit, translated into daily actions, and attractive to the people. This may warrant training of people to reflect on the desired expectations and behaviors collectively. Effective communication of benefits of altered objectives and behaviors assists in subsiding the unrest associated with change in people and relaxing their mind and thoughts. This must include informing people that uncertainties are part of business and that they should keep their focus on organizational values and what matters most during change. Reflection creates a sense of ownership among employees that is otherwise difficult to be achieved by any cascaded top-to-bottom directives.
Interested in learning more about the other steps or Rs critical to engender Change ? You can download an editable PowerPoint on 6 Rs to Behavioral Change here on the Flevy documents marketplace.
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Inculcating productive workforce behaviors is of utmost significance in Business Transformation, successful Strategy Execution, and Performance Improvement. However, making people embrace productive behaviors involves a concerted effort across the organization.
The realization of Transformation, Strategy, and Performance improvement goals can become a reality by developing a thorough understanding of the 4 components of Organizational Behavior. These components act as powerful levers in shaping the desired behaviors in the workforce:
- Organizational Structure
- Roles and Responsibilities
- Individual Talent
- Organizational Enablers
These Organizational Design levers work effectively when combined and aligned. Let’s discuss the first 2 levers in detail now.
Organizational Structure represents the management reporting lines that create the organization’s spans of control, layers, and number of resources. Organizational Structure is a foundational driver to Organizational Design, which also has a strong positive bearing on promoting the behaviors critical to improve the overall performance of the enterprise. This is owing to the power that a position exerts on the subordinates based on factors that are important for individuals—e.g., work, compensation, and career ladder.
The Organizational Structure indicates an enterprise’s priorities. An organization is typically structured in accordance with its top most priority. For instance, functional organizational structure is adopted by enterprises having functional excellence as a priority. In present-day’s competitive markets, most organizations have to deal with several priorities at a given time, which could be conflicting. However, this does not mean adding new structures on top of existing ones, thereby increasing unnecessary complexity. Creating overly complex structures to manage multiple priorities results in red tape and delayed decisions. All roles are interdependent, necessitating cooperation. This means taking care of the needs of others—instead of just watching over personal priorities—and encouraging individual behaviors that boost the efficiency of groups to achieve collective objectives.
Roles & Responsibilities
Roles and responsibilities deal with tasks allocated to each position and individual. Organizational Design depends heavily on redefining clearer and compelling roles and responsibilities—to avoid any duplication of efforts or creating adversaries among team members. In a collaborative culture where cooperation is the mainstay of an organization, individuals should not only be aware of what is required of them, but also appreciate the responsibilities of their team members, the authorities their roles exercise, the skills required, and the metrics to measure success.
A methodical way to outline roles and responsibilities effectively—while minimizing complexity—that encourages cooperation and empowerment is through the “Role Chartering” technique. The technique requires distinctly identifying all roles on the basis of 6 key factors:
- Describing shared and individual accountabilities
- Outlining indicators to track success
- Specifying who has the right to decide what
- Indicating the capabilities critical for roles
- Assigning the leadership traits valuable for the roles
- Charting the abilities required for accomplishing personal and team goals.
Interested in learning more about these components to Organizational Behavior? You can download an editable PowerPoint on Organizational Behaviors here on the Flevy documents marketplace.