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frustrating to have to decided to make changes, then not be able to just do it all at once, but incremental change has been shown to improve the chances of embedding new behaviours.

3 Not allowing time to learn or embed new behaviours

Behaviour change can’t just be treated as an aside from day-to-day work or as a bolt-on. If you’re serious about wanting to make changes that stick, you will need to make it a priority. Tat may mean rearranging your team’s

responsibilities to allow them the time and space to practise and hone the behaviours you want to encourage.

4 Underestimating the influence of culture

Te culture of your organisation really does have a massive impact on the success of behaviour change programmes and it’s important to understand the environment in which you’re operating from the outset. Tis means not only understanding the stated culture, but also micro-cultures that exist in the organisation. A well-researched and crafted communications campaign can go a long way to easing through any change.

5 Relying on top-down communications

6 Leadership not modelling the change you want to see

Leaders inspire – their job is to translate the vision that will come about due to the behaviour change, manage the emotions associated with it and keep everyone on track. However, leadership will be more readily accept- ed if leaders are also modelling the change they are expecting their team to make. Be the change you want to see.

7 Assuming that people will always act rationally

Behavioural economics turns the assumptions of traditional economics on their head and suggests that, instead of humans being rational beings who evaluate their situation in a logical way, making decisions based on cost-benefit analysis, actually, we are myopic creatures whose choices are loaded with emotions and cognitive bias. Don’t be surprised if your behaviour change programme doesn’t go to plan. Tere are a number of ways to harness this irrationality that can help: contextual- isation, limiting options, storytelling,

No one likes being told what to do. Allow your people to own behaviour change by involving those it will impact upon at the planning stage. Tis will assist buy-in and will also help you to understand and overcome any objections, in partnership with those the change will affect.

social learning and providing little nudges in the right direction.

8 Telling people what they are doing wrong

Do you like being criticised? I certainly don’t. Although it may seem counter- intuitive, the trick here is not to try to stop old behaviours but instead create new ones. Show people that the preferred behaviour is the new norm.

9 Not considering how the environment enables or cements the old behaviour

We are myopic creatures whose choices are loaded with emotions and cognitive bias

Context is important. Tis relates not just to the cultural, economic or political environment but also to the physical environment. Are there elements of your processes or even the way your office desks or shop floor is arranged that will limit the success of the

change? Tese aren’t always easy or obvious things to spot but always have in mind how you can change things to make the new behaviour easier.

10 Not planning

Behaviour change is not something that just happens. It requires planning in terms of learning and communications, and an understanding of the culture and environment you’re working in. Timing can be so important. If you try to do it at a time of redundancies, for example, when your team is on edge, then it may well fail. Pick your moment carefully.

Tere are many ways to get behaviour change wrong. Although some are tricky to navigate, none are insurmountable. Behaviour change is complex, but if you try to understand the context, include those it will affect from the outset, encourage leaders to model new behaviours, focus your efforts and time it right – you’ll not be far off success.

Tess Robinson is a director of LAS. Find out more at

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