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Motivating behavior change: Boosting performance by mobilizing pride builders

Executive summary

Achieving strategic goals and accelerating performance results often requires that employees at multiple levels of the organization change certain critical behaviors. Many companies do not succeed at helping those employees change despite investing heavily in formal initiatives such as financial incentives or training programs. The problem is that they neglect an essential aspect of what motivates employees — the emotional commitments that they must bring to the organization and their jobs in order to do well and to exceed expectations. By mobilizing those emotional commitments, companies can accelerate the behavior changes required to elevate business performance. “Pride Builders” — employees who instinctively know how to connect what makes individuals “feel good” with their day-today activities and thereby instill in those people pride in the work they do — can play a substantial role in mobilizing the kind of emotional commitment that makes behavior change happen.

Pride Builders are often overlooked and underutilized, though their potential is enormous. Organizations should follow a rigorous approach to determine who the Pride Builders are and then build on their insights and capabilities to influence behaviors. Pride Builders can be helpful allies in spreading both motivational behaviors and performance behaviors. In practice, an eight-step tactic we call a performance pilot is often valuable in gaining insights and demonstrating impact. Ultimately, companies can grow a robust community of Pride Builders and develop the institutional capability to observe, capture, and spread critical behavior changes throughout the organization.