Being more effective at driving behaviour change within your organisation

Wil Wylie • 8 min read

As organisations evolve and adapt to a constant shift in social, economic, and environmental sustainability, most will face a combination of challenges and triumphs. These will impact the way the company operates and have a significant bearing on its stakeholders.

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Change is inevitable—no organisation exists in a void—and your customers expect you to respond to shifts in the outside world. A recent survey by Sprout Social, for example, indicates that 2/3 consumers want their brands to take a stance on social and economic issues. This is a far cry from the traditionally conservative atmosphere, which encouraged businesses to keep their heads down and stay out of the political fray.

In order to remain competitive in today’s market, organisations must be willing to constantly encourage and drive change within their environment. Employees within these organisations, at any level, should not be exempt.

As an individual working at the frontline, you want to be sure that you drive behaviour change in a highly meaningful way that will help shape the future of your organisation and better your workplace.

Effective strategies for encouraging behaviour change from within

Many employees feel that they’re unable to effectively drive change themselves. Communication, however, is key, both with upper-level management and with members of your team. Get a better idea of what everyone wants from the organisation, then look for ways to help meet those demands and goals.

Harvard Professors John Kotter and James Heskett’s research showed that firms who embrace responsive and forward-thinking ways of working enjoy average revenue growth four times greater than those who don’t. With a behaviour change towards a more engaged work mindset, employees can start to affect real change in their workplace, and contribute to their company’s success.

When you want to see change within your organisation, start by changing yourself. This may include a variety of small adjustments.

1. Shift your attitude

If you show resistance to every change that leadership suggests, it will be difficult to achieve your ultimate goals. Instead, shift your attitude. Become more positive about change. This may mean that you need to become more comfortable with ambiguity, or that you need to shift your thinking to become more comfortable with the unknown.

Keep in mind that changes made by leadership may not reflect the changes that you would make within your organisation. On the other hand, you may find that adapting to those changes creates a positive shift in the organisation, rather than a negative one. Approach change as though it is positive first, rather than waiting for something to go wrong.

2. Ask for training

Be the first person in your department to ask for training on new technology. Get comfortable with new strategies or processes, then volunteer information about them to others.

The more you know about the changes taking place within your organisation, the better you can adapt to those changes. You may also want to ask for key leadership training to help you move into a new position or to help you better influence those around you.

3. Do your research

In many cases, it’s easier to assume that a change will be negative than accept it positively or even get to know more about it. Before making assumptions, take the time to learn more about the proposed alterations and how they can impact your company.

Sometimes, that means sitting back and waiting before deciding how you will respond, since all the necessary information may not yet be available.

4. Exert your influence

As an employee without a leadership title, you may feel that it’s difficult to create a positive influence for others within your organisation. The lack of a leadership title, however, does not necessarily mean that you can’t provide the right level of influence.

5. Speak positively about change

Be on the front lines, getting excited about the latest changes within your organisation and how you plan to take advantage of them. Often, the naysayers are the ones who are heard most clearly throughout the organisation.

By speaking up as a positive advocate for change, including making your voice heard even when it’s not the popular opinion, you may create a positive culture shift.

6. Communicate with your peers

Are there people around you who are struggling with changes in your organisation? Do you know that there’s a certain level of discontent about a specific policy or change? Open the doors to communication. Take the time to talk to those individuals.

You may not be able to change everyone’s opinion, but you can certainly exert your influence, and that simple step can substantially change the way others react to what’s going on in your organisation. You may have more influence than you realise.

7. Communicate positively with those in authority

When you’re a positive advocate for change, others within the organisation will hear your voice and become more likely to listen to what you have to say. Take the time to communicate with them.

Suggest positive ways to adapt to new situations, whether that means increasing training or offering a new approach to a potential problem. In many cases, they’ll take note of your positive attitude and listen to your suggestions. This attitude can improve conditions for everyone even in the midst of uncertainty.

Keep it up

Becoming a positive voice for change can present many unique challenges. You may struggle to accept changes within your organisation, or you may find that changes don’t seem to point in the direction you would prefer.

With these steps, however, you can learn to positively address change and even shift the way your entire department reacts to new challenges along the way. In order to create change, it needs to be an ongoing conversation and process, not just a one-off directive.

Big changes don’t happen overnight. In many cases, habits are too deeply built-in, and resistance is chronic. That makes ongoing communication a cornerstone of changing attitudes and practices throughout your organisation.

If you’re wanting to enact a culture of change and help drive your business forward, our team at Plural can help. If you’re interested in finding out how we can aid you in driving change within your business, contact us today.

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