Strategic behavioral change by building new habits

To succeed, we need to break our habits and implement new ways of working to our everyday life. This means that the company strategies have to be transparent and implemented into daily actions.

Let’s start with a question: what did you choose to wear to work today? Odds are you are wearing similar clothing as you did yesterday, last week, month, or the past year.

Now ask yourself this: what did you do when you first got to the office today? Did you consciously choose to do something that would improve your bottom line or customer experience – or, did you simply carry on doing what you always do, habitually?

And even if you succeeded to make a change today, then what about yesterday or the day before that? Were you able to make one systematically?

We humans are slaves to our habits

There’s a classic saying – old habits die hard. Unless something unexpected happens, we tend to do the same things day after day. As far as business goes, this is both a good and a bad thing. If your people consistently do things that create the most customer value while simultaneously trying to find the most efficient means to do them, you’re set for success.

However, most organizational change initiatives fail to acknowledge the limited capacity of people to process new information. Because of this, they fail to create supporting structures that would facilitate lasting behavioral change: by building better habits, one by one.

When our customers ask us for help in strategy implementation, the most typical problem they struggle with is that even though a strategy has been communicated, it hasn’t been embedded into the everyday behavior of the people in the organization.

One of our increasingly growing customers which manufactures and provides solutions for better and cleaner indoor air, both nationally and internationally, was struggling with how to get their strategy – which was clear in the top management’s minds – to be as clear in terms of daily work for the employees. “It was important for us to understand and learn how to get our strategy to show up in the daily work of our people. We needed a model to clarify this strategy into daily actions, and the BEAT Impact Map was just what we were looking for. We also took up the BEAT App, and I have to say it’s far more than just an app! With the help of BEAT, we were able to increase transparency and break down silos. Now everyone knows each other’s most important actions. – Tommi Uksila, CEO, Climecon Ltd.

 

 

Our brains are calibrated to use the least amount of energy necessary. This means we mostly do what we always do.

Habits are economical, change requires substantial effort.

If you want different results, you need to do something differently. If you want people to consistently do something they’re not used to doing, you need to help them make it into a new habit.

”People are always involved in planning their own most important actions and BEAT tasks. We update the BEAT Impact Map and tasks regularly according to current priorities. This way it’s always clear for our people which actions are currently important. Our way of leading has taken a step forward and our people are really committed. When it comes to business results, we exceeded our goals last year. We are truly living our strategy and performing well in all areas.” says Tommi Uksila, CEO, Climecon Ltd.

We need inspiration and support to get out of our comfort zones

Doing things in a new way can be uncomfortable. BEAT helps your employees push themselves past this discomfort in two ways: inspiration and support.

A clear and inspirational story on why it’s necessary to strengthen the leadership was created for Kemira Pulp & Paper EMEA. The story was titled ”Our Way of Leading”. It created a framework for identifying the leadership cornerstones that make it easier to empower people.

 

 

Also at Ponsse, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of forest machines, a strong and inspirational story was created to fuel the change. “One Ponsse has created a shared language and way of thinking. People are now talking about the most important topics,” explains Paula Oksman, the HR Director of Ponsse.

 

 

Another one of our customers in the forest industry had been operating in a declining market and was fighting to surmount dropping market shares. The solution to the seemingly complex and global problem was simple: we engaged all the supervisors to design the necessary changes together. ”We wanted to emphasize empowering and engaging leadership as part of the management style and offer our supervisors tools for everyday situations,” says Sappi Finland’s Plant Manager, Martti Savelainen.

 

Create your strategy as an inspirational story and engage both management and employees to a common goal.

English author Samuel Johnson put it nicely: “People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed.” BEAT helps you remind your people why what you’re trying to accomplish is important, and what specific actions they need to take – week in, week out.

Succeed with BEAT like our customers do

Keira Pulp & Paper EMEA used the BEAT Change Management Platform for transparent rooting of leadership practices, as well as for sharing experiences. ”People now actively participate in assignments that are beyond their responsibility area. Managers are more committed and give more feedback. Key leadership themes are discussed more openly and people mirror their own work through them“, says Janne Silonsaari from Kemira Pulp & Paper EMEA.

At Ponsse supervisors are supported through training, BEAT Change Management Platform and regular calls. Content, such as videos related to the current themes, are regularly shared through BEAT platform and supervisors reflect their leadership actions weekly there. “The communication between departments has improved and people’s accomplishments are emphasized more. We have been able to change leadership practices globally throughout the organization within a short time,” says Juho Nummela, the CEO of Ponsse.

At Sappi, the success was constantly measured in terms of the numbers of absences due to illness and usage deviations, the frequency of accidents, and the effect of the ideas that were produced in terms of net sales and savings. “An important factor in our success was the ability to monitor progress. We used the BEAT Change Management Platform for this purpose. We changed the BEAT tasks whenever our training theme changed, and these questions guided our work in the right direction. The theme of occupational safety was present throughout.

As a result, Sappi’s market share increased and the result improved. Above all, occupational safety improved significantly. The number of absences due to occupational accidents decreased dramatically from 2.7 to 0.7 per 200,000 working hours. Additionally, other absences due to illness decreased from 6.7 to 5.2 days per man-year,” Savelainen says. ”The number of ideas produced increased and we received more than half a million’s worth in one year. All in all, we took measures worth more than EUR 12 million to improve our result. Additionally, our EBITDA margin doubled in this period. Our entire management team was unanimous: this solution provided the best value for money. Yes, I can recommend BEAT and in fact, I have,” Savelainen concludes.

Once everyone knows what they need to do and why they need to do it, the only thing that’s left is to make sure they do it – and support them when that becomes difficult.

As a leader, you want to create and sustain positive behavioral change to meet your goals. In order to do so, you need to help your people turn selected activities into habits.

Once again: “People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed.”

If you keep track of the most important activities in your company or team and hold people accountable for doing those actions, you’ll eventually reach a point where those activities will have become winning habits that replace less desirable ones.

To be better, we need to do better. BEAT helps a company or a team to identify the most important actions and lead them week by week until they become winning habits that create results.