Do you want to deliver rapid and dramatic performance improvements?

by | 26 Jan 2023 | Leadership

There are ways to de-risk your transformation effort by focusing arguably on the most complex transformation of all – changing human behaviour.

From delivering numerous transformation programmes, there are ten steps to de-risk your transformation effort based on a combination of behavioural science and economics, psychology, cognitive and social science.

1. Involve all levels of the organisation in the transformation and create a sense of purpose for the change. Any transformation needs a big idea that people can buy into, and linking to a bigger purpose inspires loyalty from the beginning

2. Create a campaign based on the big idea – which involves creating a compelling story and engaging people to shape the final destination, so people don’t feel change is being done to them but instead are actively involved

3. Diagnose people’s preferences upfront and make them integral to the change.

4. Create a change development plan based on the initial diagnosis at all levels, identifying activities to increase change adoption and address behaviour change gaps. This includes development activity against priority behaviours and the formation of change coaching relationships that will live through the life of the transformation

5. Ingrain new behaviours based on nudging and habit formation theory but grounded in day-to-day activities people and teams perform to ”make it real” on the job. Utilise behavioural nudges (delivered digitally) and habit formation theory to reinforce and hardwire behaviours and reinforce with socially ambient cues. Nudges and cues work if executed at the right time in the correct format

6. Embed agile and iterative ways of working and build short change cycles and sprints around a culture of trust and security. A ‘fail fast mentality’ ensures speed of change with the security that it’s okay to get it wrong sometimes

7. Institutionalise the change, bring ideas to life through stories, competitions and scorecards that keep people engaged and motivated to change, and when resistance happens, address it head-on and fast; otherwise, it will fester

8. Have specific measures and indicators that measure changed behaviour needed, agree on priority KPIs / frequency and build in intrinsic/extrinsic rewards to ensure continuous reinforcement

9. Throughout the life of the transformation, deliver authentic communications frequently, which cut through the noise and create and reinforce the mindset for change

10. Provide a post-transformation assessment to quantify the extent of behavioural change that has occurred and plan to continue to support changing behaviour into a more business-as-usual environment to ensure sustainability

If these ten steps are deployed, it ensures you maximise the chance of beating the transformation odds.



Based in London and with over 24 years’ global experience, Karen Thomas-Bland is often cited as one of the top business transformation and M&A integration consultants and coaches in the world. She is a trusted advisor to boards, executive teams and investors, having led complex, enterprise-wide turnarounds and integrations to $105bn turnover. She writes for many publications including The Times, FT, Association of MBAs and Management Today.