Change demands positive answers to two questions.
Joseph Grenny et al* in their book Influencer: The Power to Change Anything
, describe a powerful model for implementing positive change through people. It’s a model we use a lot here at PBC to help our clients achieve transformative wealth-creating behavioral change in their enterprises.
When asked to do different things or to do things differently, the human mind questions itself continuously and in two key ways. We all question inwardly…
- Our ABILITY: Can I do this thing? Am I able to learn?
- Our MOTIVATION: Do I REALLY want to do this?
This natural and innate uncertainty underpins our work lives in three arenas: 1) the personal, 2) the social and interpersonal, and 3) the structural or organizational arena. When we, as business leaders, internalize this mental model, we can use six sources of influence that can positively transform the behavior of our employees.
Six Sources of Influence:
1. Engage individuals in their personal work thoughts by ensuring the “undesirable is made desirable.” If your employees are more robots than people, there is no way you can achieve continuous improvement through innovative change in their work practices. Encouragement and pressure produce motion, not long-term motivation.
There are two tactics to positively influence employee engagement.
a. Provide new opportunities and activities that are both fun and personally challenging, e.g., participation in a matrix working in an “IMPROVEment cycle“ quality-action team.
b. Training and coaching support to make the new activities of personal significance to individuals.
Train, support, coach, and provide good feedback to individuals so they remove personal barriers and “surpass their limits
.” Just because your people do not engage with new or different activities, DO NOT assume they don’t want to change. It is more often a case of inertia rather than ignorance. The way to kickstart new behaviors is to emphasize deliberate practice. “Try it! Unless you do, you’ll never know how it works for you!”
Speaking up in team meetings and volunteering thoughtful dissent, for example, are activities essential to wealth creation. But that can only be achieved with practice, repetition, encouragement, and timely feedback.
Network with opinion-formers within your work teams to “harness peer pressure
” and drive improvement. Really, there is no more effective way to overcome inertia and break down chronic problems within your business than seeking out the natural team leaders and opinion-formers. You know who they are, right? 80% of your workforce just need the informal leadership of the other 20% that your people gladly follow or imitate.
Facilitate teamwork by bringing people together and eliminating barriers, and “find strength in numbers
.” There are synergy and creativity in matrix-team working, but it doesn’t just happen. Business leaders must supply the resources, the time, the training, and the encouraging culture for total engagement in continuous improvement. Team leaders will need real-time coaching to deliberately practice the interpersonal skills crucial to employee engagement.
Revolutionize your reward and recognition process so that it motivates and both “rewards and demands accountability
.” Performance-related pay is old hat. Employee-of-the-month schemes are counterproductive. Recognition and rewards need to be targeted on instances of changed behavior. Feedback must be measured, prompt, and accurate.
“Change the environment
.” Look to the ergonomics of your work environment. What subliminal messages of hierarchy and status do you send to your employees? What are the invisible barriers to authentic 360-degree matrix communication? Many chronic problems disappear and great leaps forward in productivity occur when the invisible is made visible, but it needs the input of the people doing the work. They know best and respond best without walls and within easy communication distance of their peers.
To embed organization-wide systematic change, you must use all six of these sources of influence. Only then do you answer the two questions that we all ask ourselves when faced with change. “Can I do it?” and “What’s in it for me?” To help your people respond positively to change initiatives, you must enable them, so that they can perform the necessary behaviors well. And you must motivate them, so they will want to do it.
Call PBC for a free consultation on this or any other business issue.
* Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler.