Many organizations are prioritizing, renewing, and re-committing their efforts in reshaping their D&I strategy to fast-track inclusion, mitigate bias, and become more empathetic. Many, too, recognize how difficult it can be to get people to change at scale.
Whatever the impetus for change, shifting the organizational culture requires everyone or at least most in a company to change. People can and will change, if they understand why they must change, how they must change, and how change will benefit them and the organization. In short, we can’t just tell people to quiet their biased brains and expect it to happen.
In Forbes magazine, Khalil Smith shared his conversation with the senior director of neuroscience research at the NeuroLeadership Institute, Dr. Kamila Sip, “to get a better sense of how developing new habits really happens and how it relates to behavior change.” She reminds us:
What we need, at both an individual and organizational level, is to think of behavior change as a process, not an event. And having a simple framework—in Priorities, Habits, and Systems—can help us come up with a plan.
Nevertheless even when entire organizations believe in and embrace the value of becoming a more Inclusive culture, it doesn’t always happen. The way people act now is not an easily changeable thing. Behavior is embedded in peoples’ brains, deep in neural pathways, based on past behavior, and reinforced by habit. “The way we do things around here,” is not just a common expression, it’s a warning sign that a social behavior groove may have become a rut.
A short course in neuroscience would help explain just how fierce a hold habit has on behavior. But simply put, the brain likes patterns of behavior and rewards habitual behavior deep in its innermost labyrinth of neurological connections with highly satisfying feelings. Likewise, it can react to the simple idea of behavior change with emotionally painful reactions.
Organizations make big investments in unconscious bias training—but, what happens when a workshop is over? How will you know if your employees are applying what they’ve learned in their day-to-day behavior? In the hustle of daily activities, it’s easy for your employees to fall back on old habits and behaviors.
The key is to enable individuals to integrate one small behavior change into their daily activities, while gaining insight into what’s happening, so that you can monitor progress and pivot accordingly.
Most of what we do every day may feel like decision making, but at least half of our actions are habitual. Our habits develop from responding to cues that, over time, become routines. Which is why it’s so difficult to eliminate bad habits and to develop new good habits.
Our D&I work shows what leads to sustained behavior change at scale. If you want deep transformation, consider following these steps as a continuous process to build momentum and stay the course.
At Align4Profit we integrate 4 steps that provide you data and the visibility to see how your culture is shifting. We combine micro-learning, workshops that get to insights, social learning through leader-to-team conversations, and active habit practice. With our guidance, your cultural transformation can be a smooth and seamless process. Or as Dr. Kamila Sip assures us:
In sum, behavior change won’t necessarily be easy, but there’s no reason it has to be complicated.
Our mission at Align4Profit is to help you create environments where everyone profits and work with our clients in an Inclusive approach to deliver fit-for-purpose solutions that are right for them.
The moment is now upon us to make a big splash that traditional approaches cannot achieve. Want to make your mark and bring your workforce along the Inclusion journey? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And have a look at our Transformation Video.
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