Don’t worry this isn’t going to be a cheesy blog on New Year resolutions and change. Instead, I’m going to reflect on how attitude change can sometimes sneak up on us without any conscious effort.
I’m sure you’ve noticed that since the recession began we’ve been inundated with special offers and deals. I started off a bit skeptical about the value these would offer; and stuck with my attitude that it was worth paying full price to have the restaurant, hotel, or spa of my choice.
Then I noticed that some of my friends were giving these deals a go and were having a great time. So I decided to try out a couple of restaurants offering special deals and had a good experience, that prompted me to book a weekend break, a spa treatment etc. Now looking back, I can see that my attitude to deals and special offers has changed completely and I find myself seeking out the very thing I would have avoided. It’s a fantastic example of how behaviour can change our attitude, although I’m not sure it’s what the retailers intended.
I’ve also seen in organisations that attitude is shaped by personal behaviour and by the behaviour of leaders. I have encountered situations where the CEO’s coercive behaviour has led to others adopting that leadership style and shaped a prevailing attitude that it’s okay to scream and shout at at your team.
The good news is that we can use the power of behaviour to shape attitude to help us embed and sustain organisational or personal change. Often change programmes attempt to change attitudes right upfront and to win hearts and minds to achieve behaviour change. It can be more effective to implement behaviour change and let the attitude change flow from that.
So as we start this new year, ask yourself, what attitude is being shaped by my behaviour as a leader?