In our quest to always be improving performance in business, we often talk about changing people’s behaviours. We want people to work more creatively or efficiently. We want people to communicate better. We want people to collaborate more. We want people to take risks. We want people to problem-solve more effectively.
Of course, we can show and tell people how to do these things. And we can have them practice new behaviours.
However, this won’t cause people to change their behaviour. Our behaviours are a result of our thoughts. If we want people to change their behaviours, we must encourage them to change their thoughts first.
If you don’t feel confident doing a task, you won’t be able to do it more efficiently. If you don’t think you can trust someone, you won’t be able to communicate more openly with them. If you don’t think another team has the same priorities and goals as yours, it will be hard to collaborate with them.
To change behaviour, we must always look to the thoughts behind them first. There is always a reason why people are behaving the way they are, and it usually isn’t because they are incapable of behaving a different way.