The usual approach to changing behaviour is to focus on the individuals one wishes to see act differently, and coach them to adopt new behaviours. But there are three problems with this. First, while many clients report being happy with their coaches, the quality of some coaching can be poor. Second, the link between executive coaching and improved business outcomes is far from proven. And third, behaviour is heavily influenced by context, so to expect behaviour to change while context is held relatively constant is unrealistic.
That behaviour changes when context changes is taken as axiomatic in the behavioural science literature. So, we focus on changing context by building governance structures to influence decision-making behaviour. The questions then become, which governance structures should be built and why. To address these questions we use a proven method.
We start by defining the behaviour required, from whom it is required and their behavioural preferences. We identify the cues that are influencing current behaviour and then trace the source of those cues back to structures in the organisation.
We crystalise the changes needed to structure and cues, leaving behavioural preferences untouched. We map the boundaries of acceptable behaviour and understand the organisation’s appetite for sanctioning rogue behaviour. Understanding what needs to change, we generate hypotheses for testing.
We then build out a range of interventions based on those hypotheses, test and refine them, so that we have a small number of considered changes ready for implementation. Once launched we monitor and work with client to make any adjustments necessary.