Why is behavioural change so difficult?

Most of the work that we do is about change and/or causes change and we have noticed how our clients and organisations in general struggle with behavioural change. We decided to bring this forth to slice and dice in this month’s edition of our OD Talk. We are so fortunate as Worldsview to have a community of knowledgeable colleagues who attend our intuitive conversations and share their views and experiences!

Insights from our colleagues 

  • We need to change our perception of behavioural change, specifically in the organisational context. Organisational behaviour is human behaviour – organisations are made up of people. 
  • Change is a continuous effort and not a destination. Often clients focus on getting “it” done rather than focusing on bringing the people along and helping them effectively navigate the change.
  • Human behaviour is rooted in our beliefs and values, change should be aligned with those. 
  • People do not resist the change they resist the pain or loss that comes with it. 
  • Resistors are often branded as negative and against the change: we should see resistance as something positive, an opportunity to provide more information, remove obstacles, listen better to understand how to make the change easier on people. 
  • Information alone or “communication” will not effect the change, behavioural change is more complex than that. Change requires time, effort, patience, and empathy. There may be risks, sacrifices, and losses that people associate with the said change.
  • Sometimes we make the change so complicated that it creates anxiety, and it makes people more reluctant. 
  • Although it may be good to understand change frameworks and apply them where suitable, being married to one framework can trip us up, it is better to understand and apply the principles of change. We need to understand the larger context, the audience and ensure that we involve the right people in the process of behaviour change, like behavioural psychologists.
  • Change Leadership is different from but as significant and beneficial as Change Management. It is important to recognize this because yes processes, resources and systems need to be managed but people need to be lead during a change project/journey. 

A lot of useful information came out of this conversation and the above is just a fraction of it. However, what stood out is how organisations have lost sight of the people aspect of change. It is not just organisational change, but human behaviour; therefore change frameworks are not a “one size fits all”- human behaviour is rooted in different beliefs, motivations, values etc. 

We would like to thank our colleagues for attending and engaging with us. If you missed this edition of OD Talk, please click on the link below for the recording: