By Rachel Thompson and the Mind Tools Team
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Changing People's Habits

Encouraging and Sustaining New Behaviors

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How can you get a leopard to change its spots?

You've just come back from a course about managing meetings, full of enthusiasm for changing the way that you work. You're going to turn up to meetings on time, every time. And when you're in the chair, you'll start promptly, even if everyone else isn't there yet.

However, after a couple of weeks, it's clear that this isn't really working. Other meetings overrun, and whilst you endeavor to get to yours on time, your colleagues don't seem to be making any effort.

With key people missing, you can't make any progress, and you find yourself wasting time just hanging around. Frustrated, you gradually return to your old way of doing things.

This is a very common story. Even when you're enthusiastic about changing your own habits and behaviors, it is not always easy to do so. And encouraging others to change their habits can be even harder! How people behave at work is not just down to their personality and particular skills. There are numerous contributory factors, including organizational structure and processes, and the overall business culture.

Creating sustainable behavior change

In many cases, if you want to create sustainable behavior change, it's not enough just to run a series of training workshops. Chances are that you'll need to change the way your business operates, as well. If you work through the two stages below, your program will be much more likely to succeed....

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