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  • Writer's pictureRonald van Aggelen

Four tips on behavioral change in organisations

Thinking differently leads to doing differently

Patterns, mechanisms, and automatic behavior. You hear about it, you read about it and we are probably not telling you anything new when we say that we constantly show standard behavior that we created ourselves. Very comfortable and super easy, because we don’t have to reinvent stuff all the time. But is this behavior helping us?

Understand what limits you

From an evolutionary point of view, it has always been useful to build on experiences. It gives you time for other things, such as surviving! Also, we as humans, are very sensitive to success and reward. We enjoy it to the fullest. It gives us a kick, with the associated effects in our brain. Substances that are released give us a wonderful feeling.

However, that reward tends to make us repeat what previously put us in that state. We know how we achieved success and so we repeat it. Apparently we would rather do that than try something new.

Be aware

Sadly enough we often don't even realize that we have a certain way of thinking and working. We often judge situations and people from an unconscious perspective. We were raised with standards and values. We have created a “normal” around us and from that point of view we look at the world. Often unconscious of the prejudices that this entails.

That thin boy full of tattoos and piercings or that fat gray man in a business suit. We think all kinds of things and act accordingly. Unconsciously, but often enough from reason. Or at least the ratio that makes sense to us.

Let it go!

In our work at Braintality, we are often approached by people who want to change, innovate or grow. Both personally and from an organizational perspective. They are driven and have a vision of the future. We always encounter the same dilemma. Innovations and growth require letting go of current ways of thinking and working, but guess what? We're not very good at that.

Make room for change

We can learn a lot from the psychotherapeutic successes in behavioral change: By introducing a different way of thinking we can change our behavior. Cognitive behavioral therapy uses a simple, but very effective scheme: The circle of thoughts, feelings and behavior. Scientific research has shown that psychology is increasingly recognizing that 'learning to think differently' and 'learning to act differently' can be effectively combined in one and the same activity.

Behavioral change is not easily accomplished

For many innovators and leaders who want change, changing behavior is the biggest challenge. In order to accomplish this, people have to get out of their system or pattern first. We have four different ways to go about this.

Our 4 tips

1. Establish a clear story about ambitions and goals. This leads to legitimization; it answers the question "why is different behavior necessary?".

2. Change the environment and behavior will change accordingly. The impulses from the environment stimulate behavior.

3. Make the people owners of the change by letting them make their own choices. As owner of the change, you feel involved and responsible for the end result.

4. Use language and communication principles to translate thoughts into action. Thoughts are the trigger for emotions and behavior. Language is a very strong instrument in accomplishing this.

These four influencing techniques are an example of the various instruments and methods that we use at Braintality to change behavior within organizations and support leaders in realizing their strategy.

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