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4 Steps to Behavioral Change

4 Steps to Behavioral Change

Time and again, when working with clients we’re asked, “All this stuff is great, but how do we make sure it (training, programs, strategy, etc.) sticks long term?”

This is an important question for individuals and organizations alike – anyone wanting to implement behavioral changes. Yet it’s one not easily answered.

From an article by Scott Asalone, he wrote: “Recently in studying long-term, positive behavioral change I came across an article by Brendan I. Koerner about Alcoholics Anonymous. Reading the article I realized there is much that AA can teach all of us about long-term change even in the face of addiction. Though they admit their failure rate is very high they still have created an astounding record of behavioral change. Let’s explore four of the elements of AA as an opening for a dialogue about creating long-term positive behavioral change.”

1. Gain commitment
For Alcoholics Anonymous to have any measure of success, commitment to the process is key.

Initially, an individual will attend a meeting because they want to change but without commitment to the process, they will likely fail long term.

How do you gain commitment? Trust must first be established.
How to gain Trust? A certain amount of safety must be created.

A safe space for individuals, groups, teams to open up, share their struggles – perhaps even fail – without negative repercussions so that they can have the opportunity to learn and grow.

Can you see this challenge in a corporate setting? One where success is so highly valued that people have been known to engage in illegal acts to gain success (Wells Fargo, Enron, etc.)?

Training can be trying – where employees often feel captive, a prisoner – something being done “to” them. Often a low trust scenario with little commitment. At Catalytics, we work with groups first and foremost to create a “safe” space in the classroom. Simple strategies such as having participants sign action plan agreements or even discussing the “elephants” in the room can often release pressure off the trust valve.

How do you encourage and insure commitment in your day to day words and actions?

2. Build self-efficacy – confidence in one’s own abilities to achieve intended results
Members of Alcoholics Anonymous receive constant support to continue their change. One of the most effective methods of support is to know they’re “not alone”.

At meetings, in their safe space, they hear from others who were in their situation and choose sobriety – and there is strength to be shared in that sharing of stories.

In an organizational setting, highlighting links to past accomplishments, providing mentors or role models, offering verbal persuasion and engaging employees to the point where they believe in themselves is key to assisting behavioral change.

What do you do to build or help build self-efficacy? How do you know it works?

3. Form groups or relationships.
One of the most effective yet often unacknowledged success strategies behind long-term behavioral change is the power of the group. A key component of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Whether through accountability or support, individuals are more likely to continue change within a supportive context. Again, it’s the shared stories and knowing that someone is not alone in their struggles, while also sharing in others success – to see that they too, can succeed.

Catalytics makes use of breakout sessions, triads, teams, experiential learning and more – while asking that these spontaneous groups check in with each other on a regular basis after we’re gone.

How do you create your support groups? For yourself? For your employees?

4. Instill new habits.
We’ve all heard the stories: do something for 30 days and it becomes a new habit. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. It’s often too easy to travel those same, worn, cerebral pathways of old. Alcoholics Anonymous recommends 90 consecutive days of meetings when you first join them. It’s one small way they try to make the program a new habit for participants.

After working with Catalytics, you will be instructed in our 30, 60, 90-day follow-up with an open line to contact us at any time. It’s up to you to continue reinforcing commitment and build self-efficacy, but we’re there with you when you need us…every step of the way.

Research has shown that workshops on connecting emotionally with clients increased productivity in financial advisors at least 17% compared to a control group if they continue with it at least 90 days.

What are you doing to instill new habits? How do you know it’s working?

Personal and professional growth and long-term behavioral change is a goal for many. Recognize that it’s a process, one that can be built upon – and over time can changes people’s lives, and organizations, for the better. Strategies of commitment, confidence, community, and consistency at Alcoholics Anonymous provide a well-documented model for change that can assist in creating long-term behavioral change.

What are your strategies?

The Original 2011 Article by Scott Asalone in Positive Psychology News Daily can be found here.

Looking for ways to change behavior in your workplace? Contact us now.