How to Get People to Change Their Behaviours


Adapted from the book: The Talent Advantage: How to Attract and Retain the Best and the Brightest by coauthors Dr. Alan Weiss and Dr. Nancy MacKay, published by Wiley.

Leading change is the ability to get people to change their behaviours to produce exceptional results.

Three Leading Change Approaches:

A. Share relevant experiences

B. Provide advice

C. Ask Coaching Questions

  1. What is the issue?
  2. What is the current situation?
  3. What do you want?
  4. What options do you have?
  5. What will you do?


Here are six strategies to enhance your ability to get people to change their behaviours:

1. Step into Their Shoes.

  • top two basic needs (love, certainty, variety, significance, contribution, learning and growth)
  • belief system
  •  emotional state (physiology, focus, self-talk)


2. Create a Sense of Urgency for Change.

  • people avoid pain and seek pleasure
  • create immediate pain for not changing now
  • create immediate pleasure for changing now


3. Honour and Let Go of the Past.

  • past does not equal future
  • what got you here won’t get you there
  • learn from the past and move on


4. Clearly Define the Problem.

  • specificity speeds up results


5. Hold People Accountable.

  • focus on outcomes and deadlines
  • no judgement
  • remove the barriers


6. Create an Enabling Environment.

  • clarify commitment
  • commit in writing
  • commit publicly to key stakeholders
  • celebrate progress