How to facilitate and celebrate behavioural change

Successfully changing organisations involves resistance, among other things. How do you prevent resistance with in change? And when is behavioural change successful? Read our tips.

Behavioural change in organisations

Change is the new normal. In recent years, we have been faced with an increasing amount of changes and are constantly shifting gears. Think of the rise of chatGPT, skyrocketing energy prices, wars and the aftermath of COVID-19. Implementing change can be a smooth-sailing and easy process, but is often also difficult and painful.

"Changing organisations is about the successful continuation of your business. It is usually about changing strategy, culture, processes and technology."

Where does resistance to change come from?

What is it about change that is so difficult? There are 2 main obstacles:

  1. We don’t want to give anything up and we like routines. After all, our ingrained habits have become a part of our identity. Change therefore means letting go of a piece of ourselves to enter a new and unknown territory.
  2. Change on a collective level is difficult because we all think differently. Some people are very explorative, preferring to change everything today, while others are more focused on optimising existing things, and want to approach change carefully.

How to successfully implement change on a personal and organisational level

Anthropology tells us that change is not a straight line, e.g. from point a (smoking) to b (quitting smoking). It consists of three phases that you always go through as a person, team, and also as an organisation.

Phases of behavioural change

1. Phase of Letting go

The first stage is about letting go. Simply because there is no room to learn something new if we are too busy with old habits and thoughts. You cannot come up with a new marketing strategy if you are too busy with old campaigns. We often skip this step; we don’t want to throw out the baby with the bathwater. As a result, we make suboptimal changes that are too similar to our old routines.

Tip 1: Make sure your traditional kick-off with a new vision and nice roadmap also celebrates letting go.

2. Phase of innovation & uncertainty

Having created the space for a change, we now enter the next phase. This one is characterised by uncertainty. Different thinking styles come in handy now. As a result, we see different solutions and opportunities for innovation and improvements.

Yet, many people often don’t share these ideas because they are afraid of coming across as ignorant, pushy, incompetent or negative. If the quality of interaction is improved, colleagues will feel safe enough to share different ideas and opinions.

Tip 2: To create innovative solutions in times of uncertainty, it is crucial to combine different thinking styles. In addition, the quality of interaction must be improved so that colleagues feel safe enough to share their ideas and opinions.

3. Phase of embracing the new way of working

The time has come: you have come up with a solution and are now at the start of the final phase: embracing the new way of working. Unfortunately, this often turns out to be more difficult than you thought, as most people tend to stick to their old way of working.

Once we have successfully completed a project, we often quickly go back to business as usual. However, this has two disadvantages. Firstly, it is unclear to the group when the old way of working stops and the new way of working actually starts. Secondly, there is no space to reflect on the success and the points that still need to be worked on. Thus, the past continues to haunt your colleagues, making them less able to embrace the future.

Tip 3: Celebrate change! This involves celebrating what has been achieved with colleagues and customers, and also taking a critical look at where improvement is possible. In this way, you can reflect on what is going well and what isn’t and work together to enable improvement and innovation. Let go of the past and embrace the future!

From resistance to successful behavioural change

All in all, it is important to celebrate change, paying attention to all phases of the process and ensuring a positive atmosphere and a safe environment in which ideas and opinions can and may be shared. This is how you ensure changes run as smoothly and pleasantly as possible and work towards a better future – together.

Succesfully engage in behavioural change

Would you like to know more about how to successfully implement change and bring your organisation along in the processes? Or do you need help with change management?

Human Insight has the tools and insights to support you during the complex change of your organisation.

Contact us at or call +31 (0)85 8229827.


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