What does it take to change behavior?

changeLast week, the temperatures in the Portland metro area were forecasted to exceed 100 degrees for three straight days. If you are in other parts of the country, this may seem mild and not a big deal. But in this area, many people do not have air conditioning and are not used to temperatures at that level. So, it was no surprise on the first day that the number of people out walking early in the day was significantly higher than it normally is at that time of day. But, by day two, the number of people out walking had dropped back to normal levels. The prompt for behavior change was a short-term event. Behavior changed for one day, then normal patterns returned as the weather normalized.

Have you ever attempted a change initiative in your organization? Many times they fail because people are used to the periodic change initiative, understanding that it will be an area of focus for a short period of time, then normal patterns will return. Sustained change requires a known benefit that is being targeted, and consistent focus on that change such that old behaviors will not return (or be accepted if they are attempted). How are you driving change in your organization?

Posted in Change Management, Leadership.

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