Leading behavioural change - Primeast

Leading behavioural change

Author: Clive Wilson

Date: 25/08/2020

A significant proportion of our work at Primeast is helping organisations to really understand their corporate culture and manage it in the best interests of the work they do and the people they serve. In designing behaviour change programmes we employ PrimeFocus™ as a framework which allows investigation of eight core conditions. One of these conditions is character which is driven by the organisation and individuals' values and behaviour.

Values can be identified and measured

We repeatedly support this process by measuring the values brought to the organisation by the people who work there and sometimes by other stakeholders, such as customers, suppliers or shareholders. We also measure the values people see playing out in the workplace (referred to as the current culture) and those required to fulfil the corporate potential (the desired culture).

Getting this data is priceless but relatively straightforward. The hard part is when it comes to making the change from the current culture to the desired culture. There are many ways of doing this but one key method is to work with leaders (and others) to understand their own values and behaviours and what they might do to make helpful changes.

From the outset, this is not about making clones. We might be forgiven for thinking that all we need to do is help each leader behave totally in alignment with the desired culture values. However, this is inauthentic and probably down-right impossible. It's not even helpful. For a start, we also know that organisations need diversity in all its richness, including diversity of values and behaviour.

Exploring the impact of values and behaviour

Well, knowing what values and behaviours are needed for the best possible future is really helpful. Analysis will also tell us what values and behaviours are unhelpful. If a leader has access to this data, along with data on their own values and behaviours, they ask questions like the following - which I offer as my top tips for leaders seeking to make behavioural development conscious:

  1. Take time to really understand what the organisation needs and what it doesn't. Examine the data and ask others to bring it to life with examples.
  2. Ask what you already do. Either to reinforce the way things have been done until now or to set the example for the future. Recognise that you may be behaving in ways that are not yet acceptable to the organisation, but which may be totally necessary for the future.
  3. Ask what you'd like to do less of. Sometimes we just need a nudge in the right direction to drop unhelpful behaviours. And if they're not helpful at work, maybe they're not helpful in other situations - perhaps at home.
  4. Ask what you'd like to do more of. Maybe there is an aspect of your character that the organisation really needs for the future but, so far, you haven't had "permission" to bring it into play. Having data regarding what the organisation needs in the future might give you the incentive to be "more of yourself".
  5. Play to your strengths. There are almost certain to be aspects of the desired culture that fit to your own strengths. It doesn't matter that you may not be strong in all aspects of the "new way", but where you excel you can become ambassadors for the future.
  6. Ask people to support you. Good leaders have humility and are not afraid to share with others what they are doing and why. Getting people you work with to notice, comment and encourage is very powerful. Getting a special someone to buddy you might be helpful, especially if this is reciprocal.
  7. Get a coach. Many organisations will provide a professional coach to support with behavioural change.
  8. Get a mentor. Whilst a coach will support us from a non-specialist perspective, a mentor, maybe from within the organisation, will bring their own experience to the situation. So, for example, if we're trying to be more innovative (something many organisations are looking for), find a mentor who is massively innovative and who might light the way for us.
  9. Measure the gains. Ask what key performance indicator will be positively improved as a result of our behaviour change. Are we looking to retain more people, improve productivity, enhance employee engagement or sell more stuff? Make the connection and find a way of measuring it.
  10. Celebrate success. Right from the outset, determine how you will celebrate your own successes. Do something that means a lot to you - quiet and personal or shared with others you work with. And remember to update your CPD (continuous performance development) record. Behavioural change is hard and should be recorded, whether you've had to go on a course or not!

If you would like to find out more about how Primeast could support your organisation, email enquiries@primeast.com to arrange a call with one of our consultants. To find out more about Primeast global services visit our 'What we do' pages here.

Read here how Primeast supported a chemicals client to achieve huge success with an under performing newly acquired plant.

Clive Wilson is an experienced facilitator and speaker and author of Designing the Purposeful Organization published by Kogan Page.

About the Author


Clive Wilson

Clive is an enthusiastic writer, keynote speaker, facilitator and Primeast coach, whose main focus is the purposeful alignment and leadership of individuals, teams, organisations and communities.

Experienced in working with leaders and groups of absolutely any size across the world, Clive is committed to organisational sustainability in service of a better world

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