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How to achieve ongoing contact tracing and other systemic behavioural change

systemic behavioural change

With Auckland coming down to level 1, there is discussion around the question: are we able to maintain our safe habits of contact tracing and mask wearing, which will enable New Zealand to deal with any subsequent outbreak swiftly and with the least amount of disruption?

What we are actually asking is: “Are we able to achieve systemic behavioural change?”

This is no easy task, because we are asking people to put effort into something that is not providing them with any immediate personal benefit in a perceived low risk situation. A bit similar to wearing a seat belt really. Wearing a seat belt has never given me any health benefit, but I would not dream of getting in a car without one.

So, is the answer to make it compulsory? Just as with seat belts? I think the situation is a bit more complex than that.

In business we see some companies pull off behavioural changes successfully where others fail. So, what is the secret to success? In my experience there are 5 components to successful change management:

  1. Create buy in: People need to understand why they should perform the expected behaviour (the benefit)
  2. Make it easy: People are willing to comply if it is not difficult or time consuming
  3. Make it part of an existing routine: A new task added to an existing routine is not that new
  4. Measure progress: This provides a good reminder and creates a sense of achievement
  5. Celebrate success: Recognising and appreciating the effort is often more powerful than any monetary reward as it creates intrinsic motivation.

Creating systemic behavioural change is the challenging but rewarding part of leadership. As a leader you need powerful practices and tools to enable your team to change their behaviour and focus on what matters most. A Daily Management System (DMS) is one such practice that can be used to help achieve a successful behaviour change within an organisation. DMS creates buy in, is easy to do, should be part of a daily routine, and inherently measures progress and celebrates success.

About the author: Liddy Bakker is the Director of Knowledge Management at  Productivity People