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Driving Behavioural Change

Did you make any New Year’s resolutions at the beginning of this year? Did you achieve them, are you still working towards them or did you fail, like most, and revert back to your old behaviour by the second week in January? So, how do we drive real behaviour change in ourselves and our organisations?

Edwin Locke’s (1968) ground-breaking Goal Setting Theory of Motivation has the answers. Outlined below are its main features:

  • Goals should be specific and clear – don’t be vague or ambiguous, decide exactly what you want to achieve, set yourself a deadline, and put measures in place to assess your progress.
  • Goals should be realistic and challenging - don’t set yourself up for a fall by deciding to achieve the impossible, but also make sure there is some stretch in there - the more you challenge yourself the greater the likely results and rewards.
  • You need self-belief and confidence to achieve your goals. Seek confirmation and ongoing feedback from those around you, and discipline yourself to ‘keep the faith’ in moments of weakness.
  • Make your goals open and known – declare them to your friends, family and colleagues, keep people posted on how you are doing and encourage them to ask you about your progress.
  • Set your own goals – you are much more likely to stick to those you set yourself rather than those designated to you. (If you manage people and are setting goals for others, ensure they are ‘participatively set’).
  • Make sure your immediate goals align with the broader themes and aspirations in your life. In business, ensure your personal goals align with the wider organisational objectives and vision.

Within management practice, effective goal setting is critical to employee engagement, motivation and performance. Whether you are involved in appraisals, performance reviews, coaching, or development planning, all of these initiatives are likely to be enhanced if these principles are followed. And once goals have been agreed, feedback is the magic ingredient - as important as rainwater to a seedling. If you would like to discuss how we can support you and your team in reaching your goals and enhancing organisational performance, please contact Liz Lawson.

 

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