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Change That Sticks: Behavior and Culture


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This case study examines emerging theory around successful change; change that sticks. It explains core methodologies that work across organizations large and small, regardless of access to technology and resources to create a change communication strategy. Presenter Kip Soteres helped design a communication strategy and presenter Megan Hogan helped manage and implement significant changes to the Wellness Program at a large Western PA health care organization. The case study also provides concrete and applicable steps to guide communicators to design strategies that lead to change that sticks.

Published in: Leadership & Management
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Change That Sticks: Behavior and Culture

  1. 1. Change That Sticks: Behavior and Culture
  2. 2. • Clients include the BlueCross BlueShield Association, Kennametal, & Boyden Global Executive Search • Significantly outperform industry standards for change communications • Gold Quill and Silver Anvil awards for communication excellence • Published and cited by Ragan Communications and the IABC’s Journal of Employee Communications Management • Achieved 88-92 percent participation rates in Wellness programs at all four organizations • Led more than 12 M&A efforts across three industries Hi, I’m Kip Soteres Change Communications Expert Founder and President Soteres Consulting 2015 to Today VP, Director and Manager Roles Highmark Health PNC Bank BlueCross BlueShield of TN Cadence Design Systems 2001 to 2015 2
  3. 3. • Published on • Managed advertising budgets of $4million • Created and implemented annual marketing strategies that integrated a variety of programs to effectively reach an overall wellness strategy goal • Temple University graduate • University of Pittsburgh, Katz School of Business MBA candidate Hi, I’m Meg Hogan Digital Marketer Digital marketing consulting and content writing services 2015 to Today Roles in public relations advertising account management, content creation, and communications strategy development and implementation 2008 to 2015 3
  4. 4. Agenda • Brief overview of emerging theory around successful change • Core methodologies that work • Practical application with a Wellness Program implementation at a Western PA health insurer Text questions to Meg at 484 680 0201. 4
  5. 5. Questions? If you have a question during the presentation, feel free to text them to Meg at 484 680 0201. 5
  6. 6. Audience Poll Any initiative: • Strategy change • Wellness programs • Engagement programs • Process changes Raise your hand if you’ve ever launched an initiative that didn’t reach its end goal. Text questions to Meg at 484 680 0201. 6
  7. 7. Because 75% of organizations do not achieve desired results Text questions to Meg at 484 680 0201. 7
  8. 8. Don’t take it from us… McKinsey & Company: A recent survey of business executives indicates that the percent of change programs that are a success today is... still 30 percent. IBM: Nearly 60 percent of projects aimed at achieving business change do not fully meet their objectives. Harvard Business Review: The fact is that about 70 percent of all change initiatives fail. Forbes/Towers Watson: A new study by Towers Watson has found that only 25 percent of change management initiatives are successful over the long term. Connor Partners: Change practitioners have some culpability for the atrocious 70 percent failure rate of change initiatives. Text questions to Meg at 484 680 0201. 8
  9. 9. The Power Lines Are Down at the Point of the Problem Text questions to Meg at 484 680 0201. 9
  10. 10. We need a proven approach that solves for human factors. Text questions to Meg at 484 680 0201. 10
  11. 11. Questions so far? Text questions to Meg at 484 680 0201. 11
  12. 12. Effective Change: Some Surprises The ability to sustain change is more emotional, than rational – fewer reasons, more good feelings Resistance and complaints are usually good news Mental overload is likely your biggest enemy of change (Three is too many) Set micro-goals: 60-70 percent solutions work best Most companies stop communicating just when it matters most (avoid “losing launches”) Significant change must be bound tightly to behaviors Text questions to Meg at 484 680 0201. 12
  13. 13. The Elephant and the Rider From The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt Text questions to Meg at 484 680 0201. 13
  14. 14. Direct the rider clear, visionary, attention-getting The Rider, the Elephant, and the Path* From Switch by Chip and Dan Heath Motivate the elephant positive, sustained, present Clear the path simple, herd-minded, habitual Text questions to Meg at 484 680 0201. 14
  15. 15. Core Methodology – Up Front Make it simple: Set simple goals, define simple and specific behaviors Prepare the way: Equip leaders to be successful, know your stakeholders, engage everyone in the change, anticipate resistance Appeal to the emotions: Strong and consistent messages, seek out good feedback, create champions and ambassadors, celebrate Use your metrics: Continuous improvement, pause, pivot and press on Text questions to Meg at 484 680 0201. 15
  16. 16. CONFIDENTIAL. CUSTOM TEXT. Where possible – make completion simple, centralize resources and promote with brief push messages. Create a one-stop repository for questions and complaints. Make It Simple or How to Confuse a Rabbit Using Carrots Text questions to Meg at 484 680 0201. 16
  17. 17. Prepare the Way • Executives drive the business rationale, coach them to expect initial resistance. • Managers translate change to employees and convey a positive tone. • Support functions implement and support the business Text questions to Meg at 484 680 0201. 17 Consider the advantages of not positioning support functions as the standard-bearers for change efforts
  18. 18. Appeal to the Emotions • Take good feedback, visibly implement it, loudly communicate it • Set small goals to keep people fed with feelings of success • Create champions and ambassadors at every opportunity – us and us Consider focus groups: the fastest path to change acceptance comes when the group feels that change was their own idea! Text questions to Meg at 484 680 0201. 18
  19. 19. Define Success with Metrics Get success, pause to celebrate, and pivot to the next behavior.Text questions to Meg at 484 680 0201. 19
  20. 20. Questions so far? Text questions to Meg at 484 680 0201. 20
  21. 21. Case Study Background Client: 10,000 employee regional health insurer Project: 3-year effort to move the wellness program from incentives for participation to incentives for results: Baseline: General Activity and Participation Year 2 2015: Culture Focused Year 3 Ongoing Results-driven Incentives Year 1 2014: Behavior Focused • Participation in health- focused behaviors qualifies the individual for the incentive. • Requirements changed annually with little consistency. • Completion of biometric screenings and health risk assessments qualifies the individual for the incentive. • Significant employee resistance. • Customized communications recommending targeted health behavior changes to improve results*. • Holistic messaging reinforces wellness as core to collective identity. • Stronger employee buy-in, started to see business impact of program • Demonstrated understanding that actions are valued more than participation. • Culture and behavior support each other. • Increased focus on overall results and reinforce culture of wellness. • Reinforce business goals tied to wellness. *Glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure levels and nicotine use Text questions to Meg at 484 680 0201. 21
  22. 22. How We Made it Simple Step 1 Text questions to Meg at 484 680 0201. 22 Avoided Mental Overload Provided Easy-to-Understand Health Tips • Streamlined the number of required actions • Consistent messaging • Year-long, short and simple tips
  23. 23. Step 2 How We Prepared the Way Text questions to Meg at 484 680 0201. 23 Reduced the Noise Collaborated with internal communicators to reduce the number of communications sent/deployed at one time. Created a unified wellness identity Created a “Herd” to Identify with and Leaders to Follow Met the Audience Where They Were Made Wellness Easy to Understand and Participate In Digital and print materials were positioned in high traffic areas Wellness programs were offered with themes that were timely
  24. 24. Questions so far? Text questions to Meg at 484 680 0201. 24
  25. 25. Step 3 How We Appealed to the Emotions Text questions to Meg at 484 680 0201. 25 Featured “success stories” Made the program launch attention-getting with leadership support • Created community events that led to “feel good” feelings • Partnered with diversity group to adjust programs to be more inclusive Told Real Life, Positive Stories Gained Influential Leadership Support Collaborated Internally and Externally
  26. 26. Pre-program: 60% participation Year 1: 90% participation Improved health metrics for the company as a whole: • Improved cholesterol • Stabilized obesity levels against national trending increases Now: Steady participation; appeals declining Step 4 Outcomes Text questions to Meg at 484 680 0201. 26
  27. 27. Metrics were used to: • Rally the audience around a “win” • Apply to and win industry awards • Evolve the program Step 4 (continued) How We Used Our Metrics Text questions to Meg at 484 680 0201. 27
  28. 28. Questions so far? Text questions to Meg at 484 680 0201. 28
  29. 29. Make it simple. - Be responsive. Remove barriers and excuses. - Complex solutions make their own problems. But if You Do Only One Thing... Text questions to Meg at 484 680 0201. 29
  30. 30. Contact For more information about this presentation, email or To download this presentation and for more information about change communications and marketing strategies, visit or Text questions to Meg at 484 680 0201. 30
  31. 31. Thanks for Your Time