How the Fogg Behavior Model Can Drive Change & Revolutionize Your Team

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Change is the norm.

New technologies and systems are popping up left and right, and it feels like the focus has shifted from mastery to “keeping up.” The same fast pace applies to your company culture– being strategic about your culture requires you to keep up with the evolving needs of your team and customers. As the leader, this puts you in a tough spot. For example, while you see the importance of a new system, your team can feel out-paced and struggle with implementation.

This begs the question–why is it difficult to adopt to change?

It’s no secret that change is tricky, which is why we are turning to the Fogg Behavior Model to help us understand how to make it easier. The Fogg Behavior model (FBM), created by Dr. BJ Fogg, the founder of the Persuasive Lab at Stanford University, asserts that in order for a behavior to occur, three essential elements have to converge. Therefore, resistance to change could mean that one of the three crucial elements to drive behavior is missing. 

Behavior= Motivation + Ability + Trigger

Motivation: Motivation encompasses three motivators: Sensation, Anticipation, and Belonging. Each of these has two sides: pleasure/pain, hope/fear, acceptance/rejection. As a leader, it’s important to tap into your EQ to understand how to emotionally appeal to your people. In terms of learning a new skill and adopting to change, your team has to be motivated. When rolling out new concepts, be sure to be inclusive and find ways to motivate your people at different levels.

Ability: This references the level of skill that one has to accomplish the task at hand. If this is low, chances are your employee’s hesitancy isn’t really about the actual skill, but the feeling of being unable to learn or understand it. When it comes to training, regularly reassess your methods– 50 percent of respondents in a 2015 InterCall survey reported that their company’s techniques aren’t a productive use of time. Moreover, in the same survey, one third reported that the training wasn’t interesting or engaging. Whenever you are looking to advance your organization, be clear in providing adequate support for your team to acclimate to the changes. Keep in mind that people learn differently, so create a learning opportunities that are user-friendly and customizable. 

Trigger: This is your call to action– how you inspire your team to enact your vision. In order for all three elements to come together, the trigger has to be clear. Change is tough for people to chew on, but if you break it down into smaller digestible pieces, it’ll be easier to swallow. For example, if you’re implementing a new SaaS program, explain how it’ll help your team and how it applies to their work. Maybe it will cut down the paperwork process, remove some of the administrative tasks, or provide better metrics. Don’t default to assumption here– it’s best to let your people in on the process and be explicit about what this new system or change will mean for them.

Breaking it down to build up your culture

Great leaders are visionary and forward-thinking. They think in broad strokes and see the bigger picture. As such, you know the direction of where you’re going. Your team, however, does not (unless they have ESP, which would be awesome). In order for a team to be on the same page as their leader, they need clear, actionable steps. To achieve the behavior you desire in your organization, encourage your people to be motivated. Train them well so they have the ability to carry out the task. Have an identifiable trigger to jumpstart your employees into enacting your vision. In other words, if you build it, they will come. 

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