Let’s go back to the example involving our 100-large payroll team who felt undermined and downtrodden. Gaining these individuals’ trust and involvement in developing and implementing the new system was paramount to its success. The MD said as much stating that we couldn’t do this alone, and that it was about involving and empowering staff and making day-to-day improvements.
Here’s how we can break down the creation of our new staff habits which included involving and empowering staff.
- The cue (trigger) we created pertained to all issues raised at weekly team meetings. Instead of it just being an airing of dirty laundry, we asked employees to fill out “suggestion” sheets. These were collected and discussed at the weekly management meetings.
- The routine (habit) became the completion of suggestion sheets, tabling of improvements at weekly management meetings, as well as following up and communicating progress on suggestions.
- The reward was monthly awards for best suggestions. The MD personally attended a Friday morning tea with all staff to hand out retail vouchers to staff members with the best suggestions.
We consider involving and empowering staff to be keystone habits as it had a trickle down effect. Not only was it addressing staff morale, it was delivering on the much needed improvements in the payroll process and systems which resulted in improving customer service. Empowering staff members and allowing them to be an important part of making improvements played on emotional components of the desired behavioral change. Because of this, the staff members had no problem signing up for this change.
The tricky part of changing keystone habits is identifying keystone habits. One way to do this is to look for organisational habits that contain both practical and emotional components.
Another way to identify keystone habits is to think of that one problem that causes you to lose sleep each night. You will not lose sleep over a few issues of lost mail in the mail room because of improper procedure. However, you will definitely lose sleep over how your human resource management team neglects to train employees correctly.
Business change is almost always underpinned by a behaviour change and unfortunately people don’t really think of change from this angle. It is really important in the initial stages of defining the business goals, to translate the business goal into a practical behaviour everyone can understand and everyone benefits from emotionally. Once you identify that new organisational habit you wish to change, break it down using the “trigger, routine, reward” process to ensure you create a habit that sticks!
When you do this, you have done more than change a basic organisational habit. You have changed the culture of your company.
Know where you want to lead your company culturally. Next address the keystone habits which will support your efforts to move you towards that change. Then choose the practical steps which also include emotional elements to create the change you desire. That is how you change the culture of your company successfully.
Have you ever been involved in addressing and changing keystone habits? Please share your experiences in the comments below.