It isn't what we say or think that defines us, but what we do. -Jane Austin
Each of us has our own patterns of how we show up in our daily lives. These behavioral patterns can be observed by others but often we're to close to them to recognize what we're doing (or not doing) consistently or the impact our behavior has on others. Often, our behavior is rooted in ways we instinctively learned to survive or adapt in the world. It's important to pause from time to time and evaluate what we're doing and whether our behaviors support or hinder us from fulfilling our vision for our lives or the vision of the communities and organizations in which we belong.
Stages of Behavior Change
The behavior change model we've used successfully for years is one I developed with my colleague, Ed Manning. Typically, we sense that the way we're doing things isn't working long before we're ready to make a change, and often we find ways to adapt around making a change with little to no success. Once we recognize a behavior pattern as being ineffective at best or destructive at worst, we're ready to make a change - we just don't know what the new way looks like yet.
Once we recognize the limitations (or worse) of our old behavior, we can step back and explore where we may have learned that behavior, how it impacts ourselves and others, and alternative approaches that might actually bring us the results we seek. I've found that there are three essential ingredients to a successful behavior change: ownership, commitment and enthusiasm. When we take responsibility for how our old behavior doesn't really serve us or the people around us, land on a new approach that is more congruent with who we really are, and are energized by making the change, we're on our way to a lasting behavior change.
Hidden Behavioral Drivers
In addition to more obvious behavioral drivers such as the goals we set for ourselves, there are a number of more hidden influences behind why we engage situations and relationships the way we do. These include:
Assumptions we've made or conclusions we've reached
The informal roles we play (mediator, hero, boat rocker, etc)
Individual core values (fairness, family, honesty, etc)
Fears and concerns
Standards to which we hold ourselves and others
Emotions and attitudes
Survival needs & strategies
Understanding our behavioral drivers related to any situation allows us to self manage their influence and engage life more effectively and easily.
Individual & Team Behaviors
Healthy organizations focus on behavior changes that both individuals and teams need to make to be fully aligned with the stated mission and vision.
Typical individual behaviors that limit or hurt the organization:
Gossip (and avoiding direct, honest conversations)
Spending too much time/energy on non-essential tasks or projects
Retreating when feeling stuck or demotivated without asking for support
Blaming others rather than taking personal responsibility
Staying quiet during decision making then criticizing the direction later
It's best when the leadership team models behavior change by focusing what they need to do differently individually and collectively.
Initiating Behavior Change
Do you know you need to change a limiting (or even destructive) behavior and are just not sure how to get started? We've designed an interview protocol for initiating a behavior change that will help you get moving in the right direction.
You can download the protocol here and ask a colleague or friend to interview you - or you can contact us and one of our coaches will walk you through the questions so you can access the information you need to get started.
If you're ready to make a change,or are just curious about what a behavior change might look like for you, then this protocol will support you in taking the first step. No convincing or judgment - just a guided exploration.
1:1 Behavior Coaching
One behavior change can profoundly impact your quality of life or your effectiveness in the workplace. Consider doing a series of targeted coaching sessions designed to help you could make one lasting positive change in a way that won't feel like you're scaling Mount Everest.