Struggling with behavioural change? It’s easier than you think!
In a VUCA world, organisations are busy creating a vision and a clear strategy to drive actions that build success. In many instances, this involves a cultural change and the emergence of leaders who are agile, collaborative, creative thinkers and superb problem solvers. Leadership behaviours that were once considered relevant and powerful are now outdated and have lost their potency. We are seeing a groundswell of new leadership behaviours that are predicted to yield great results in a volatile, uncertain and continually changing world. Many Business Schools have researched, measured and evaluated leadership behaviours that will drive organisational success in challenging times and it’s good news that there is a focus on changing leadership behaviours.
BUT…..there is a gap between ‘knowing’ and doing’. To create a sustainable change in behaviour can’t be achieved by working with the conscious mind alone. The majority of behaviour is unconscious, dysfunctional and no longer relevant.
Since Galen, a Greek physician c.129 – 200 AD, recognised the possibility of the unconscious mind, there have been hundreds of philosophers, contemplatives, psychologists and neuroscientists that have identified the vast streams of information, (estimates range from 2 – 10 million bits of information) which flow into the unconscious mind from the physical senses. In his book The Biology of Belief, Dr Bruce Lipton claims that the conscious mind can only process 40 bits of information every second, yet your unconscious mind brings in 500,000 times more than this! Your unconscious mind is a bubbling cauldron of thoughts and behavioural programmes, many of which don’t make it into your conscious awareness.
Your behavioural programmes determine your mindset. You were born with a powerful operating system – your brain and were in a hypnagogic state. You were highly suggest-able to what was going on around you. You learned how to interact with your physical world based on what you experienced. You observed your parents, or the people who brought you up, and recorded and downloaded ‘their’ behavioural programmes, until you were 6 to 7 years of age. These programmes have become your unconscious behavioural guides for navigating your way through life. As a child you may have got your mother’s attention by screaming and shouting. In your adult life, to get the attention of others, you may still be behaving like you did as a child. As a leader this builds fear in others and causes teams to operate from a survival mindset. If your teacher scolded you for giving wrong answers in class, you might have stopped speaking out in front of people, because your inner childhood programme keeps reminding you that you might be wrong, and you get punished for getting things wrong. As a leader your capability will feel burdened by the fear of risk or creating errors. These behavioural programmes are so habitual that you are unable to notice their presence. Unfortunately, many of them are no longer appropriate, negative and often self-sabotaging.
The conscious and unconscious mind learns differently. To change a behaviour that was learned unconsciously means that the quickest way to effect a behavioural change is to work with the unconscious mind. There are a number of ways that the unconscious mind learns; repetition, hypnosis (that allows you to access a theta frequency) and energy-based techniques. The conscious mind is a creative mind but the unconscious mind is a programmed mind that control your life through your habits. 95% of the day the programmes you are using are coming straight from your unconscious mind so your leadership environment is a printout of the programmes you’ve downloaded as a child.
How to change behaviour by working with your unconscious mind
Creating behavioural change in the workplace can be accomplished if leadership development includes the following factors:
- Helping leaders to understand that how they perceive their external world is a choice and that they possess the power to change their perceptions to ones that empower rather than disempower. If leaders are equipped with a process to do this then organisations will see an immediate shift in behaviour.
- Showing leaders how to take responsibility for how they feel rather than place the cause of how their feel on external condition such as the economy, the strategy, stress, the competition etc. If leaders are shown how to review their past through a frame that looks for repetitive cycles/ongoing issues, leaders can explore the link between their behaviour and how they are unconsciously creating a repetitive cycle.
- Meditative tools and techniques to leaders that change their body’s chemistry so they can access a growth mindset. Leaders will behave differently based on whether they have a survival or growth mindset. If the 50 trillion cells in their body are functioning from a survival operating mechanism the leader will find it impossible to access a growth mindset.
- Process that helps leaders to initially identify their individual career values and then shows them how to align their values to the organisation’s values. Values are what’s important to each leader and provide the fuel that drives motivation and behaviour. If a leader cannot see how their own values will be satisfied within the context of the organisation they work for then their behaviour will not support that organisation’s vision.
- Informal learning resources that provide a framework for leaders to develop stronger self awareness so they can benefit from their inner emotional guidance system This will encourage leaders to release toxic thought patterns, process old negative emotions that have been repressed and receive vital feedback about their well-being.
Behavioural change requires a change in cellular function, mindset and emotional sensitivity. All of these tools and processes are available for forward-looking organisations who know that sustainable change requires working below the surface.