Use If-Then Thinking to Change Your Behaviour

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Leadership Tip of the week #93

adapted from HBR

We all have habits and behaviors we wish we could change.

But just being aware of a bad habit isn’t enough.

To truly fix it, start by considering your goal (say, “I want my team to know that I trust them”) and the obstacles you expect to face along the way (“I struggle to delegate”).

Next, frame what you will do about the obstacles as if-then statements.

To address the delegation obstacle, for example, you could tell yourself: “If I start to feel uncomfortable about not completing the work myself, then I’ll ask for updates on it in our next team meeting.”

Eventually the link between the cue (the “if” part of the statement) and the action (the “then”) will become strong enough to help you change how you react.

By using if-then statements, you can think through what will get in your way and make a plan to overcome it.

Adapted from “Two Techniques for Helping Employees Change Ingrained Habits,” by Joel Constable

Author: Andrew Mann

Managing Partner at NorthBailey. Having had senior marketing & insight roles at Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda, Coop and M&S, I'm now using my experience & network to solve strategic marketing problems for NorthBailey clients

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