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How to embed sustainable performance behaviours

As a motivational keynote speaker, I'm aware that it's a common experience to be at an inspiring away day and committing to a new way of working, only for everyone to revert to the default.

This breeds cynicism.

Here's a 3 step method to embed a new way of working after an Away Day.

1. Co-create sustainable performance behaviours with the CEO.

Two examples:

💡 'Around here, we do all our internal meetings and slack chat before 1pm'

(this allows for deep focus)

💡 'Around here, we don’t email people after 7pm unless urgent'

(this allows for renewal)

We need all leaders role modelling these behaviours, otherwise people won't do it for fear of being seen as lazy.

Before the Away Day: do a pulse survey to see how many employees are experiencing the desired behaviour (establish the baseline)

2. Use your Away Day to create buy in from the wider leadership group

As a resilience keynote speaker, my job is to articulate the personal pain of working in an unsustainable way. It's easy because leaders also hate being constantly interrupted and having their evenings stolen.

Once the pain has been established, the CEO articulates the new leadership behaviours that are expected around here.

3. Get the leaders practising the behaviours until they become a habit

After the away day, my job as a motivational keynote speaker ends, and my job as a consulting partner begins.

The first step is to break the leadership group into practice groups of 4.

These groups make a time bound commitment to meet online for 30 mins, once every two weeks, for six sessions. This is the minimum viable commitment.

Format: Each person shares for 3 mins about how they are doing practising the behaviour, and any resistance they have. It's not about being perfect or proving you're doing it. It's understanding why it's hard to do and celebrating wins.

You stack each crew with a senior leader, who are mandated by the CEO to join every single one. This creates a networking incentive to join. The CEO also joins to walk the talk.

After six sessions, you have partially embedded the behaviour. Do a survey to see if employees are experiencing the new behaviour. If it's less than 80%, the CEO has the mandate to do another round. You keep doing it until the behaviours are default. You use the next Away Day if necessary.

You can do this for any desired leadership behaviour!! Psychological Safety, Feedback, you name it.

This is the reality of what it looks like to shift out of a deeply engrained culture.

As I say to my clients: 'around here, we're wise enough to know it won't just happen.'

Would love comments on hidden obstacles and how to improve this 🙏

Thanks Nick Petrie whose 3 M's Framework (Mechanisms, Mindsets, Modelling) inspired me to share my own process.

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