Why Behavior Change Matters More Than Attitude

Good Training Causes Behavior Change“I love when others get it!” That’s the thought that ran through my mind when I read this post from Leo Sadovy at SAS. It thrills me to see people outside of the training profession understand why behavior change matters. Behavior change is the goal of good training design.

Behavior Change Is What Matters

As he says in his article, “Change the behavior, and attitude and beliefs may eventually fall into line, and if they don’t, no matter – behavior is what matters.”

I point out in my book, ROI By Design:

Contrary to what some believe, a training program cannot change your personality, your morals, or make you more likable. Instead, a training program helps you acquire new knowledge and skills so you can perform better on the job. Therefore, if the goal of training is to acquire new knowledge and skills, how is this accomplished? What mechanism does the trainer use to accomplish this goal? What is the product that training provides to accomplish this goal? Simply put, the training product is the design and facilitation of a training program.”

Learning new knowledge and skills and how to apply them is what creates behavior change.

Pair Behaviors to Outcomes

Behavior change should be one focus of your training programs. The first and most important step is finding the metric that needs to change. Your business has metrics that you measure. You may not have a formal approach to measuring your business, but I bet you have an approach nonetheless. Perhaps you measure sales in units or in dollars. Maybe you have sales targets for each person on your team. Perhaps you measure customer satisfaction based on survey results after the product is sold. Maybe you measure referrals or tweets or likes or positive reviews. In some way, you are tracking the health of your business. When that measure slips, you know you have a problem.

Again, Mr. Sadovy gets it:

Wherever reasonably possible, we should PAIR our metrics: one for the desired outcome with one for the most significant behavior we think is causally related to that outcome…”

Exactly! For successful training, you have to ask what outcome you want and what behavior change will cause that outcome. That boils the training need down to its most basic. You are asking what metric has faltered and what change must happen to reverse course.

Find The Metric That Matters

It’s when those measures slip that you start to focus on training. That’s the right place to focus. When you see a metric slip, you have to ask what behavior, action or circumstance is causing the slip. With that answer, you can then focus on behavior change . The goal is to find what behavior change will stop the slip and turn the metric in the right direction.

I realize for many of you the answer to that question may not be simple. You may wonder how you find that metric. Sometimes you are too close to your own business to see its essential parts. I recommend taking a look at a couple case studies on my site to see how eParamus helped other companies find these metrics and then create training to change them.

Have you thought about your business metrics in terms of behavior change before? Do you agree that the point of training is to change behavior? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic in the comments.

If you need help finding those metrics for your business and designing training to improve them, please contact us at eParamus.

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