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How To Drive Behavioral Change In An Organization

Behavioral change in an organization

Behaviors can be classified into two groups: productive and unproductive, and they can respectively either increase or decrease performance within an organization. Furthermore, behaviors allow us to have insights into personal values and beliefs, culture, and individual performance. Behaviors can be changed if willed, and the Antecedent-Behaviour-Consequence (ABC) model is a tool that can help identify some of the causes for those behaviours as well as the impact those behaviours result in by establishing a pattern.


Antecedents can be anything to prompt the resultant behavior. In the business world, examples of antecedents include job descriptions, training modules, KPIs, and performance coaching to name a few. To obtain a positive result, one may modify the antecedents in a scenario to drive certain behaviours. For instance, if an organization is looking for more of their sales team to achieve a certain conversion percentage to be eligible for a promotion, they may look at decreasing the conversion percentage to obtain their desired result.


There are limits to the impact that training, processes, and procedures can influence one’s actions. What one says or does helps recognize a behavior. In other words, muscle movement is required for an action to be considered a behavior. One’s behavior can be influenced by either the antecedent or, more commonly, the consequence.


It is important to recognize that there can be both positive and negative consequences. The outcome of events following a behavior help shape a person’s decision-making skills. Examples of positive consequences can include positive feedback, performance bonuses, and a converted sale. A positive consequence will likely lead to the repeatability of that behavior. A few instances of negative consequences can include a client hanging up, unconstructive feedback, and being ignored. In such cases, negative consequences will likely cease the continual engagement of the preceding behavior.

Prompting the right behavior by manipulating the antecedent or having an appropriate consequence for the behavior to either encourage or deter the behavior from occurring again can help shape positive behaviors. To recognize which course of action is best, it is important to first analyze whether effective performance evaluation and performance coaching has occurred.

Performance Evaluation and Coaching

Performance evaluation is a lagging indicator and has several objectives including retention, career progression, motivation, and competency development. Typically Performance evaluation occurs at a set frequency (i.e., 90-day, annual, etc.) and as a result, the consequences may be delayed. To help employees quickly improve their performance, performance coaching occurs at a higher frequency. Objectives of performance coaching include identifying performance obstacles, rapid skill development, and shaping desired behavior through appropriate reinforcement. Performance coaching has immediate and positive consequences if executed well. By incorporating all these elements, an organization can empower its employees so that they are the best version of themselves for years to come.  

The author of this blog Glothen Sirisegaram is a Consultant at Trindent Consulting.