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How to create behavioural change

So many leadership programmes talk about the science of behavioural change. But the reality is, human change requires both art and science.

What you want

You want leaders who have a brilliant set of skills, behave in a certain way, feel great about coming to work and create environments where people thrive.

Traditional leadership development programmes identify the desired skills and mindsets and then get stuck in trying to embed them. Problem is, it doesn’t work. It misses the foundation blocks of behavioural change. So, you spend a ton of money, gets some nice folders, and still have leaders that people don’t want to follow. 

What you need – and how you need it

Successful behavioural change leadership programmes need to have three critical building blocks in place: Self-knowledge, self-empowerment, and self-leadership. Without either one of them, change will not happen.

Creating Change Ivy House


We are not talking about a quick nod to a psychometric here – we mean deeply understanding yourself. Who you are, why you are here, what you are here to do. We are talking about the personal narratives that are keeping you stuck and the ones that will set you free. Your values, beliefs, driving forces. The kind of leader you were born to be. What makes you thrive and the life that is right for you. Leadership is a personal journey. To step into your full power as a leader you need to know who you are, and then learn how to take that person to the world.


This is where self-empowerment comes in. Knowing yourself is incredible; knowing how to live and lead from this place is life-changing. Having understood the kind of leader you were born to be, you will need the skills that enable you to step into your true power. Skills like how to make your mind work for you rather than against you, how to be proactive about your wellbeing and how to create extraordinary teams. Skills like how to create authentic, trust-based relationships, create cultures of learning, and communicate with the kind of passion and clarity so needed today. These are the skills of human leaders. Leaders who create environments of meaning and belonging – where people play to their strengths and create the kind of businesses we all want to be part of.


Self-knowledge and self-empowerment are both game changers BUT, they mean nothing without self-leadership. Self-leadership is choosing to be you in your power. It means having the courage to look at the raw facts and do something about them – be that owning your zone of genius, or getting a lot better at something that matters. It means taking 100% ownership for how you show up and the impact you have; it means having the courage to look after your mind, be wrong, change your approach, and be a role model for others.  

It is these three critical elements that drive change. How you go about it is the second part of the behavioural change story.

How to create behavioural change

Behavioural change requires both art and science. We are working with human beings, each with a unique blueprint, story, and vision. And, we are working with distinct organisational cultures, legacy leadership styles and real life, complex challenges.

For change to happen we must understand the science – the mechanisms of human behaviour, how we work on a psychological, social and behavioural level – but the art is designing and delivering programmes that truly ignite change; that bring people to life, that engage them on a deeply personal level, that challenge and move them. This is about creating a place for people to expand into themselves, become courageous learners and step into their full power. At Ivy House we do this in literally hundreds of ways… here are a few to give you an idea of what we’re talking about.

People have to want to change

They have to want to learn and ‘choose into’ change. Get the delegate recruitment process right and you will create a team of positive changemakers whose impact will be felt far beyond their reach. We support you to find the people who will become trailblazers within your organisation.

Content must tell one story

So many programmes are a patchwork quilt of different concepts and ideas. And, whilst an attempt is made to string them together, it doesn’t work. Each model, each story, each exercise must come together to tell one story, ensuring delegates know – they have a choice how they experience life, how they behave, the impact the have and the leaders they become.  

The journey has to be personal

When do you change? When it matters to you. If it doesn’t, you won’t change.

To create behavioural change your leadership programme must be anchored in the needs and wants of the individual, not the company. And then – once you’ve understood who you are, what kind of leader you were born to be, what you really want, what keeps you stuck, where you are brilliant, etc – then, and only then, do you have the foundations to create extraordinary leaders.

Not all teachers are born equal

Ever had a bad teacher? Yes, us too. For change to happen you need coaches and facilitators that deeply understand the content and are experts in facilitating individual change, creating communities of learning, leadership, radical challenge, and support. They need to be able to engage, push and go deep at a moment’s notice, while at the same time creating an environment of psychological safety. And… they must do this with equal success in both face-to-face and virtual environments. This means absolute experts, who have the facilitation and coaching skills needed to create genuine shifts in thinking and behaviour. Don’t accept any less. 

It needs to be immersive and experiential

Learning happens when action happens. Anything before that is merely gathering information. Your programme needs to activate change ‘now’. Delegates must be radically supported and radically challenged, pushed out of their comfort zones, encouraged to be vulnerable and bring their real-life challenges into the room. This is about turning theory into reality, and practising until it becomes second nature.

Use integrated, multi-dimensional learning

If we asked you to stand up and tell 50 people, ‘why anyone should be led by you?’ how would you feel? It would certainly concentrate the mind when we taught you how! Programmes that work are multidimensional – they have large groups, small groups and 1:1 work. Their content is available in books, videos, audios, and social learning environments. On top of this they are integrated into the business with fully briefed line managers, platforms to network, opportunities to shadow and shine. Leadership development that works isn’t a once and done solution – it requires an ecosystem that supports it and we support you to make this happen.

Development is your greatest cultural lever – for good or bad

Hybrid working has meant change for most of us. What hasn’t changed however is our need to belong, feel valued, do purposeful work, and continue to grow both personally and professionally. What this means is that your leadership programme is playing a critical role in helping individuals meet a whole range of needs. Whether delivered virtually, or face-to-face, it will build loyalty, engagement, and community, creating leaders that want to take your business into the future – get it wrong and the results will be very different.

Use the power of insight

We take the cultural impact of your programme very seriously and will work with you tirelessly to get it right. To this end we see any solution we create as being part of an ongoing cycle of learning for the L&D team and the business as well as the delegates. Built into our programmes is a mechanism for deep insight to be fed back into the business. What challenges are your people facing? What’s restricting and igniting their performance? What missed opportunities are they spotting want what black holes are they experiencing? This is the kind of insight that transforms businesses – we are in the business of getting it to you.

Phew… that’s a lot. But hopefully now you see what we mean by the perfect meeting of art and science.

It’s this deep understanding of change on which each of our solutions are built. It’s what makes our programmes truly unique. And it’s the reason that we know our programmes will create the exceptional leaders and change you’re looking for.





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