Kevin Ian Schmidt

Making Behavior Change Stick Through Effective Change Leadership

The moment you understand the invisible elements that underpin human behavior, you position yourself to achieve performance results you never thought possible. Through a greatly effective and more universally accepted change leadership approach, you may never have to use command and control again to experience behavior change.


Whether you want to change your weight, change your relationship or change your company’s bottom line…it all comes down to human behavior.

You have no chance at sustaining improvements or changes in your business environment without first changing the underlying behavior and thinking patterns of the people involved. If you don’t address the behavior and thinking patters that created the existing situation in the first place, a time will come when you relax your regime of ‘change’ and everything will slip back to the way it was; back to the undesirable state.

See… the thinking and behavior patterns of your people are attuned to the status quo right now.

Take the example of a rubber band. To change the shape of the rubber band you could pull it and stretch it to a new shape. You could even hold it extended for a period of time in the shape you desire. But as soon as you let go it just snaps back into place, back into its original state. Your business is like this rubber band – it has an existing state that people are comfortable with. You can force these people into a new pattern of behavior but as soon as you relax your guard (which will happen sooner or later) they will begin to slip back into their old patterns.

It’s not your fault – suffice to say this is the greatest challenge business leaders face today; getting people to alter their behavior willingly and permanently.


The most common error in leadership is to focus on managing people’s actions and use the power of authority to get them to change.

This outdated ‘Industrial Age’ approach is practiced widely. It is a model that involves managers using authoritarian based command and control methods to coerce staff into greater productivity and higher-level performance.

Granted, this method of leadership does have its place. However, in today’s social and business environment, if this is the only style employed it will not work! Without addressing the invisible elements of behavior, you will never successfully create lasting change. When an employee’s source of motivation is compliance or obedience, managers must remain vigilant and continually monitor behavior. If they don’t, the desired behavior will not last. Imagine your managers having to monitor employee work continually in an already busy environment. They have less time; more stress; and (in my experience) they also suffer a decline in the quality of their personal life. The change only persists if the managers keep up the monitoring effort.

Today your employees have the power of CHOICE, so authoritarian based models of influence are not without risk. If that is the only style used, your best staff will simply move on to find a more positive working environment where they will be engaged and challenged, not commanded. All you’re left with is the dead wood.

One of the most important things I have learnt in the past three decades of work is this:

All shifts in business results are preceded by a permanent change in behavior. All permanent behavioral changes are preceded by a step change in thinking…a PARADIGM SHIFT!

This understanding is what has set us apart from most service providers in our industry. We don’t focus our business growth and improvement efforts on KPIs alone or just the technical aspects of behavior. We positively shift those things that drive behavior first.

And we do it this way!

Check Out: How Effective Leaders Use Positive Reinforcement For the Greatest Effect


The strength and effectiveness of Soarant Vision lies in our intimate knowledge of the 4 INVISIBLE ELEMENTS OF PERFORMANCE and how they can impact business at all levels.

Let me describe those four elements in this way.

The quality of the RESULT or OUTCOME you experience is determined by the quality of the actions or behaviors you engage in. Undertake the right behaviors and you create the desired outcome; it’s fundamentally as simple as that.

What determines the quality of the ACTIONS or BEHAVIORS you engage in?

Many people will think the answer is skill. I am here to tell you the quality of your actions and behaviors (within your potential performance range) is determined by the quality of your emotional state … yep, that’s right, determined by how you feel.

What determines whether your employee does or does not do something you want? Quite simply it’s determined by how they feel about it. Emotions drive all behavior; emotional state determines the quality of all behavior we engage in within a given range of performance potential.

To change the potential, you change the skill. To change the behavior, you must alter the emotional state.

Now… the final question. What determines the quality of one’s EMOTIONAL STATE?

I think we all know the answer to this one. The quality of one’s emotional state is determined by the quality of one’s THINKING and BELIEFS.


Through understanding how these Invisible Elements of Performance can be shifted, we’ve been able to consistently experience exception results in two areas:


Engaging people directly so they willingly shift their thinking and beliefs as a foundation to behavior change.

We put a ton of effort into this aspect of performance in our business execution workshops and leader development seminars. In fact, each seminar we deliver is designed to give people a set of skills and tools, but more importantly to have the right frames of reference and the vital sense of motivation to actually use the skills we teach.

Always remember… the thinking and motivational aspects of a new skill set can never be left unaddressed if you want people to use those skills.


Coaching and developing leaders who can utilize the power of influence and persuasion to create permanent change without the stress they are accustomed to.

It takes time to develop influence and persuasion skills to the point where they can be utilized without thinking in any situation, but it is well worth the effort.


I’ve found there are 3 scenarios for which leaders must develop these change leadership skills.

Scenario 1: Informally influencing others around you to engage in some new behavior or respond to your requests. This can be at home or at work, and even upwards, downwards and sideways.

Scenario 2: Leading a change initiative and guiding people through a roadmap of change that involves a specific sequence of steps from planning through to locking the change in.

Scenario 3: Formally presenting to audiences in order to influence their behavior and generate some specific response to a request. Audiences can be of any size and both known and unknown to the presenter. This scenario is often a precursor to scenario 2.


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