At Leadership Resources, we talk a lot about behavior change. Whether clients are looking to create a more cohesive team, or polish the management skills of an emerging leader in their organization, when it comes down to it, they’re seeking behavior change. We are in the business of helping people create new behaviors. The tricky thing about this is that, most of the time, these clients already know what behaviors they need to be doing – opening lines of communication, training and delegating to their team, identifying and monitoring performance metrics, etc. – they just aren’t in the habit of actually doing them on an ongoing basis.
It’s easy to go to a seminar or conference and identify a behavior that we should be doing and it’s easy to go back to the office, motivated after the conference, and do it once or twice. The problem is, after a few days or a week, the initial excitement and motivation we felt at the seminar has worn off. Reality and business pressures have set in and we fall back on the old routine. On top of that, doing something once or twice doesn’t usually create significant and lasting improvements in results, so we haven’t yet seen the results that will motivate us to keep doing the new behavior. In terms of the Success Chain, we haven’t yet been conditioned to change our attitudes and behaviors. As life and business coach, Dr. Danielle Dowling puts it, “Change is a very, very long process. If you start running today it’ll be months before you have those long, lean legs you’re craving.”
The key to creating new behaviors is to maintain them, to repeat them intentionally until they become a habit. This can take some time, in fact, it generally takes somewhere between two and eight months to create a new behavior according to James Clear’s research. This is where ongoing training processes stand up and one time seminars and conferences fall flat. Bringing people into training sessions every week, every other week, every month, keeps them accountable, gives them motivation and a reason to keep repeating these behaviors. Once they begin seeing the results of performing the behavior regularly, their attitudes change, and the behavior becomes the new habit.