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If you can’t change the people, change the people…How can you change behaviour in people?

My latest blog on how you can change behaviour starts by pondering what is the biggest frustration that you face as a claims consultant out in the field? I am talking about the everyday frustrations that happen and prevent you from getting the promised results.

I am assuming that you set out on this road because you knew how to get the job done efficiently and effectively. But this job, like any other has one element in it that always changes the game – the people. The people make or break any job.

I have always said to first time managers that people management and how you can positively change behaviour will be the toughest role that they have ever taken on. (Yes I know it is rewarding too). An added challenge for a consultant is that they may never have managed people before and so come at it from a very difficult standpoint – you must deliver through the people.

So, I am going to give you 3 quick principles that have an impact on behaviour change and in your job, this is an essential tool to have in your kit bag;

1. Incentives : Offering some sort of reward for getting the job done. Typically, these fall into money, social, things and points. I think this is your least likely weapon of choice.
Money – you are unlikely to be offering
Social – such as recognition from others
Things – sweets and stickers work well with children; a free gift with a subscription?
Points – think loyalty cards and gamification.
None of these are readily available to you. They may be something you suggest to the boss, although if he/she is already spending on you they are not likely to be looking to spend more!

2. Social Proof : Showing people how others use your products or in your case, how others support you – testimonials, feedback; your supporters . The important need here is to recognise at what point it is that you start to lose the support of the employer’s team. When you know what prompts that, you can call upon your supporters to shout your corner for you.

3. Loss aversion : Think about this – what would have the biggest impact on your losing £50 or finding £50? The psychologists have discovered that the pain of losing something is twice as powerful as the joy of winning the same. In your role, this is the psychological game changer. Making people realise what they could lose by not supporting you to get the results – done carefully this will change their behaviour towards you. At one extreme they may lose their job if they don’t help – and their car and their purpose and their self-respect. In the face of others they can lose credibility, trust, reliability if they are not seen to be supporting the team cause.

If you are struggling with the team, give this latter one some thought. Don’t jump in – be clever, be observant and start understanding how to change behaviour in people. If you can’t do it on your own, get yourself a coach to work through. They will help you to get this cracked and it is a skill that will stay with you in all aspects of your life.

Penny Whitelock

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