I am excited about the launch of my next book Unite! The 4 Mindset Shifts for Senior Leaders in May 2017. This will be the second in our People-First Leadership Series. What I’ve discovered and written about in Unite! is that senior leadership is less about skill development and more about behavioral change. That’s the work I focus on as an executive coach and the differentiator between senior leaders who succeed and fail.
But behavioral change isn’t easy. Our executive coaching and business training experience shows that without the right ingredients, sustained change rarely happens. Here are the five key components that I believe must be in place to win in the behavioral change game.
Component #1: Create an Action Plan
The first component, as basic as it sounds, is that you need to have an action plan. AND, it needs to be online. We’ve found that when action plans are paper based they simply don’t get done or don’t get completed to the extent that they should. Online action plans create transparency with others who might be supporting you such as a coach, mentor or manager. With that transparency comes more accountability to support your intended change.
Component #2: Overcome Limiting Mindsets
Have you ever set a New Year’s resolution or tried to create a new habit but nothing changed?
In my experience, it’s because you weren’t able to unpack the deeper cause of your current behavior.
Here’s what we’ve found with high performing leaders.
- They want results.
- When they don’t get the results they want, they change their actions.
This two-step process is reactive at best and only taps into a small part of a leader’s capacity.
Instead, you have to uncover the limiting assumptions, beliefs and stories that are driving your current behaviors. This is where an executive coach can help. Then, with a shift in mindset, you can drive a new set of behaviors that lead to different results.
Component #3: Surround Yourself with Supporters
Ask any Olympian why they’re successful and most will point to the people who surround them.
We need to do the same when when it comes to behavioral change.
The third component necessary to sustain our change efforts are what we call Supporters. A Supporter’s role is to support you throughout your change process. Supporters are people who are (1) in a position to observe you. (2) In fact they are often impacted by your behaviors. (3) They are willing to provide ongoing input on how well you are tracking toward the goals in your action plan.
Component #4: Measure Consistently
The next component in creating sustained change is to measure on a regular and ongoing basis. In our leadership development and executive coaching programs we call this pulse feedback.
Pulse feedback captures ongoing monthly measurement from Supporters so that you get a clear picture about the important perceptions others have of your behavior over time. What gets measured gets done.
Component #5: Follow-up with Others
The last component needed to sustain behavioral change is follow-up.
Follow-up is a process in which you consistently engage your supporters and say:
- I’ve been working on_____.
- How have I done in the past 30 days?
- What are your suggestions for the next 30 days?
Follow-up not only helps reinforce behavioral change, it helps you overcome a much bigger challenge, which is changing the perceptions that others have of you.
You can make a decision in an instant to change. And by adding these five components to your effort, you’ll be much more likely to sustain that change.
- Create an action plan.
- Uncover your limiting mindsets.
- Surround yourself with supporters.
- Measure consistently.
- Follow-up with others.
What change do you want to make to take your personal and/or professional life to the next level?