News and Blogs

Has Your Industry a Reality Driven Leadership?

Has Your Industry a Reality Driven Leadership?

As every industry has its uniqueness, to answer this question might be contextually difficult. So let’s look at the question on something that the large majority of working people do – taking part in sport. It’s not rare or unusual that people at work are in some way involved in a sport, either passively or actively. In fact it’s probably over 70% of leaders and managers will either play a sport or be a supporter in one way or another.

If you ask a simple question

“why do you play or get involved…?”

the answers will include “ I like it..”, “gives me a buzz..” , “ spend time with mates..” , “ I get healthy..”, “keeps me sane!”  and lots of very personal interests that are being satisfied. It’s not surprising really as we make a conscious choice to do it, no one forces us and if we do it regularly we can assume we get sufficient enjoyment from it.

Now – do we believe those managing the sport are doing it for us or some other reason? Has my sport got Reality-Driven Leadership driving it? Are they making it better, more exciting, a magnet for young people… or what?

Now any sport that’s growing, bringing in new talent at the top, fulfilling the amateur’s wants and increasing the funnel at the bottom is clearly doing something right even if it’s not perfect. I’m sure you can think of improvements in your own sport if it’s on that track.

But what about other sports that have struggled? How about a game where business is traditionally known to be done?

Let’s look at Golf

It is not news to anyone in the golfing world that golf is facing many challenges and while the games interested parties look into fixing the problems, what if the games problems are viewed from a different perspective – one that a Reality Driven Leader would take.

One of the biggest issues the “owners” of golf face is the belief that golf takes too long. Now they haven’t just imagined this – it has come from questionnaires around the world, but as you might know today that questionnaires will give you the answer you want to see, so maybe the tail is wagging the dog?

If you go and watch a game of soccer (on the pitch for 90mins)  or American football (on the pitch for 60mins), the supporters that go and watch will spend at some 5-6 hours at the game if local, and longer if your team plays away. Would those supporters, not even players, complain about the game being too long?

However, let’s just assume we accept for a moment that game of golf is too long, how has this reality/perception arisen to be even a ‘starter for 10’ problem?

Years ago you would never hear no-one saying that golf takes too long, it was never even mentioned. Now, it is one of the first things that springs to mind. Golf was a part of corporate life and in many cases it was instrumental in securing a position and we all know that lots of business was done on the golf course.

Corporate golf was a ‘perk’ many enjoyed and fun was right at the top of the list. But was an important message being missed? The opportunity for golf to grow and the time spent on the golf course was an ideal time to learn and develop essential skills for sport, business and life.

Of course today, the corporate life is a small part of golf so things have changed, but let’s look at a common tale today of two different golfers.

A tale of two golfers.  Is this YOU

First let’s take a look at golfer number one – Jay. After a stressful week at work, you would think Jay’s  time on the golf course would be an opportunity to relax, you couldn’t be more wrong. But Jay looks forward to playing golf none-the-less. Arriving at the course in a rush and hurrying to the first tee, after a few nervous putts on the putting green, it is time for the first tee shot.

Remembering what happened last week, Jay is focused on avoiding the same scenario again and the out-of-bounds on the right. A last minute look down the fairway and a short, quick backswing the ball curves sharply to the left and finishes in fairway bunker. Unaware of the fact that Jay had avoided the out-of-bounds down the right, our golfer is still not happy with the result.

Already cursing and swearing Jay puts the club aggressively away in the golf bag and stomps down the fairway. Unfortunately what follows is four and a half hours of torment and anguish. Any good results are viewed only with a sense of relief and no learning (or enjoyment?) takes place. In the 19th hole after the game Jay is left wondering why play this ‘stupid’ game and you can guarantee that anyone Jay meets will not be encouraged to want to take up the game. But the same happens next week and the cycle continues.

Now what about golfer number two – Jules?

Equally as busy as Jay during the week at work with the main difference being how much Jules enjoys work and the people working in the team. Jules plays at the same golf course and is often in the group behind Jay.

Jules always looks forward to the weekend game of golf and views it as me-time and an opportunity to develop skills, learn and have some fun with friends. On the putting green Jules follows a now usual routine of making certain to assess the speed of the greens before heading off to the first tee.

Standing on the first tee, Jules is focused at first on what the outcome is wanted, and then a measured practice swing is followed by a polished pre-shot routine. A fluid swing results in a shot that doesn’t finish anywhere near the outcome wanted, but Jules has learnt from the shot. After receiving the usual comments of silence or “bad luck” from playing partners, Jules cleans the club and places it carefully in the golf bag.

Upon leaving the first tee Jules is looking forward to the next four and a half hours on the golf course, sharing stories, with the usual playing partners, enjoying the fresh air and exercise in beautiful natural surroundings and not to forget the opportunities to learn more and have fun.

For one of our two golfers time seems to drag and the 19th hole cannot come soon enough, for the other time would seem to fly. But no one has changed the speed of time.

RDL Front coverThe role of Reality Driven Leadership

There are 5 roles of Reality Driven Leaders:

  • Investigator –Challenges beliefs and identifies the reality
  • Innovator – Generates new ideas to tackle Behavioural Waste™ and identifies opportunities for Growth Behaviours
  • Navigator – Provides clear routes through the complexity that organisations operate
  • Stabiliser – Generates robust systems and processes that remain adaptable to meet change
  • Explorer – Explores potential scenarios that build organisational agility to meet constant and complex change

However, the first, being an Investigator is critical as it without reality you will build a solution doomed to fail.

So let’s ask the question to Jay and Jules – what would make the game better for you? Do you think the answer would be a shorter, quicker game that comes first?

Jules may reflect on the benefits of the game, personal soft-skills like confidence, self-belief and control, the well-being benefits and anything else that is attractive and what would make the experience better. If Jay heard those answers would Jay want to improve personally, enjoy the game more or want the game shorter? If the game was simpler it might help as there are so many rules, even the top pro golfers need help! But simpler should be the driver and that may well lead to being shorter, but will ½ hr really make a difference to the experience?

So as you can see the investigator, one role of the Reality Driven Leader is vital to getting things right and doing the right thing.

A belief that shortening the game of golf is the number one priority, will quickly become fact and then all change is driven by that one belief. But what does Jules and Jay think?


Next steps

As ever it’s a choice so if this has given you an idea, and you’d like to know more, the place to start is identifying Behavioural Waste™ in your working or social life.  Here’s a free chapter that explores the ideas

Behavioural Waste TM

And the choice is yours.

Has Your Industry Reality Driven Leadership?

What do you think?

Mind Fit CEO interviewed by David Williams on


Behavioural Waste – why deal with it first?

David K. Williams, a writer, recently interviewed Neville Gaunt, CEO of Mind Fit about why it’s important to eliminate or significantly reduce negative behaviours before an organisation introduces any innovation or looks to change practices and grow.

David says in his article:

Nearly every behavioural or cultural issue within a company, such as conflict, avoidance, aggressive or passive aggressive behaviour, is the result of dysfunctional behaviour that can be identified and improved through attention to where people’s attitudes and thinking fall on the Mind Fit Map®.

and organisations who have introduced the Mind Fit Process internally know to be true. They also know that the process is guaranteed to be successful, giving a real ROI on the investment they make on the programme.

David also lists specific forms of Behavioural Waste™ that he sees prevalent in businesses today:

  • Ignoring and failing to address bullying behaviours
  • Allowing conflicts to grow and fester
  • Poor training that fails to produce and measure results
  • Obsolete working methods
  • Cynical attitudes or unwillingness to consider feedback
  • Overloading of capable individuals, considered easier to work with, rather than supporting or dealing with the issues lower performing individuals face


To read the full article in Forbes click on the following link or cut and paste into your browser

David Williams interview with Neville Gaunt


We’d like to thank David for his personal interest and writing such a clear and concise article for readers.

Special thanks are also to Cheryl Snapp Conner who introduced Neville Gaunt and David Williams in 2016.

Want your organisation to create the best platform, eliminate Behavioural Waste™ and build a culture of innovation, growth and much more?

As ever the choice is yours…. what is it?



David K. Williams

CEO of Fishbowl Inventory, in Orem, Utah. David is a serial entrepreneur, a contributor to Forbes and HBR, and the author of “The 7 Non-Negotiables of Winning,” from Wiley & Sons. Readers can follow his weekly columns on life, leadership and entrepreneurship via ( They can learn more about his company, Fishbowl Inventory, by visiting

Cheryl Snapp Conner  

CEO of SnappConner PR and Creator of Content University™

Is The Biggest, Unchecked Business Disease – Behavioural Waste™?

The biggest, unchecked Business Disease – Behavioural Waste™

Organisations believe in leadership development as there are $billions invested in leadership development every year, made on the assumption that “better leaders get better results”. Some, more focused (maybe informed) investors focus their leadership programmes on engagement, assuming better leaders create more engaged employees and teams and that then leads to higher productivity, better results.

If leadership development programmes are an investment, what’s the ROI?

Why make assumptions when the facts are there, if you care to look?

Well one thing is true and has been unequivocally proven that changing and improving attitudes and behaviours will improve performance (1). So it’s great to know that all those $billions spent on leadership are based on having the right belief. It can work! And that is also true in every part of life and can simply be seen in athletes and sports people, where focused training, changing behaviours by doing something marginally different will increase performance. You only have to look at the stories behind Olympic and Paralympic athletes, broadcast on most TV networks, to see where they started and how they progressed. The whole idea behind terms like ‘marginal gains’ is nothing new but has been exposed to a much wider audience thanks to TV, the Press and social media.

But who notices those improvements in sports people can be replicated in business, or other areas of one’s life? What if you saw the Head Coach as the COO, driving the business forward?

Interestingly, books like “Winning” by Sir Clive Woodward demonstrate the processes that Sir John Whitmore (of coaching fame) and his team were practising in businesses way back in the 1970s and 1980s.

In sport, it’s also well known that talent isn’t enough and Woodward’s TCUP (Think Correctly Under Pressure) made the difference between winning and losing. The bottom line is that attitude and behaviour makes the real “sustainable” difference to performance.

If you changed your mindset and believed everyone were talented in your organisation, how would that change your thinking?  

Now if that’s got you thinking differently, and prepared to take the first step, the burning question is…

Where do we start?  Behavioural Waste

There’s lots of great advice from evidenced and relevant research that says mostly the same as Sutton and Rao (2014) in their book “Scaling up excellence: Getting to more without settling for less”, highlighted in the Harvard Business Review in 2014. They point out the intuitive good sense that before leaders attempt to adopt good practices, it is necessary to remove the bad; and that this can be done by

“… identifying and reducing destructive and negative attitudes and behaviours that block the adoption of necessary change.”

In other words, the importance of removing embedded avoiding and blocking behaviours before introducing innovative practices. The authors’ research found that negative interactions with bosses and co-workers have five times more impact than positive ones to the extent that bad behaviours usually swamp the good, undermining the “scalability” or wider adoption of new excellent practices.  A key insight from this kind of thinking is the power of encouraging leaders and employees that they are “doing the right thing” when they start to focus not just upon their own needs and wants, but upon the people affected by their actions.

Eliminate or Reduce Behavioural Waste™ (BW) – the business disease

We could list all the negative behaviours and disruptive activities that could be in existence in your business. The 10 Fatal Leadership Flaws  –  Jack Zenger & Joseph Folkman (2009) – are all in that list.

But it’s easier to define them in what they are collectively –

Behavioural Waste TMBehavioural Waste™ – all forms of behaviour that divert energy, talent and resources away
from the personal or organisational purpose

Rao and Sutton and others have merely pointed out that (1) above also works in a business setting. Change (negative) behaviours and results improve, and you can now innovate, value-add and grow. Now the question is

“ How much Behavioural Waste™ have we and what do we do to get rid of it?”

Well the key is you don’t have to get rid of it and eliminate it. Reducing it so it doesn’t prolong and impact the business performance is good enough. Pareto’s 80-20 rule still exists here!

Organisations will have 3 forms of BW that can be quickly identified : Personal, Cultural and Systemic.

Each of these BW are business diseases and with the right diagnosis coupled with the right remedy, you can permanently get rid of them. A leader that operates their own agenda for personal gain, “do as I say not as I do”, or constantly uses management (MBA/MA) speak for effect are not the engaging, inspiring examples for your employees.

Next Steps?

Being a leader puts us all in a position of making decisions, but only those decisions that are ours to make. As you are still reading then there are now 4 choices:

  1. Free chapter of Recycling Behavioural Waste download – the business disease
  2. Assess your own organisation’s BW
  3. Do something else
  4. Do nothing – keep doing what you’re doing and hope your medicine works

As ever the choice is always yours.

So what’s your choice? If you choose any of the above we’d like to have your feedback on what influenced your decision.

Where do Reality-Driven Leaders start?

Where do Reality-Driven Leaders start?

We’re often asked this question and what may be surprising is that no matter the size of the organisation the answer is the same – start with reality. Why? Because we instinctively know that’s the right place, yet we all make assumptions and hence we get it wrong, or feel lucky if we get it right. However, let’s take instinct and gut feel out of the equation and hopefully your common sense should become obvious from reading the following.

There are 5 roles that Reality-Driven Leaders perform :

  • Investigator
    • Challenges beliefs and identifies the reality
  • Innovator
    • Generates new ideas to tackle Behavioural Waste™ and identifies opportunities for Growth Behaviours
  • Navigator
    • Provides clear routes through the complexity that organisations operate in
  • Stabiliser
    • Generates robust systems and processes that remain adaptable to meet change
  • Explorer
    • Explores potential scenarios that build organisational agility to meet constant and complex change

and each of these roles are needed in any organisation so you get the best result. But problems will always arise if you make assumptions and these create or expand the perception-reality gap.


A common story – established department , new boss 

In the late 1980’s Graham Williams, architect of the Mind Fit Process® and co-author of Reality-Driven Leaders in a Complex World was put in charge of public order training in a UK police force. Never having been involved in public order, or been trained, it was completely new to him.

Most leaders on accepting a new assignment would accept the status quo, assuming everything was fixed and get on with doing the same job as the predecessor. A few might quickly assess the situation, perhaps make a few small but effective changes and then settle in with doing the job.

However, a Reality-Driven Leader would get on with doing the job so effecting a seamless transition but look at the big picture and start asking questions and then making changes that improves results.

Graham was staggered by what he found, the evidence, yet what he discovered is his new world is still relevant to how organisations attempt to meet the challenges that they face today.

This is Graham’s story…


Graham’s Journey of Discovery – the investigator

The evidence:

Police forces had been tackling various levels of public disorder for many decades across the country including the Brixton riots of 1981 and Tottenham Broadwater Farm riots in London of 1985. To provide protection to officers the police had adopted a protective shield similar to that used and designed by the military for use the narrow streets of Hong Kong. The shield measured 5ft 6inches high and was made of flexible Polycarbonate. However the wider UK streets meant the shield had to be used very differently tactically than the design required.

The new tactics required the forming of a 5 x man shield unit consisting of three holding shields that were held together and overlapped, and two officers behind holding their front three colleagues in place.

The shields and the tactics were extremely cumbersome and tiring and were not user friendly. Furthermore, they were not very easy to use in different situations despite variations of the tactics being adopted.

Reality on the ground showed that public order problems varied across the country and that the tactics developed were obviously far too rigid for that reality.

In short, it was clear that an off-the-shelf product forced behaviours that were marginally effective but far too rigid for the reality of the situations faced by front line personnel.

Blackboard square pegs in round holes

As a new manager, Graham inherited a process and it is often the case it was a result of forcing and squeezing the problem into the available solution because it’s an expedient way forward. But is that the right thing to do?

Eisntein perhaps said it well enough

Einstein 1 hour to change the world

 A new beginning

Graham realised that the police had simply started at the wrong place. They identified a solution to protect their offices – the long shield. They created tactics based on the 5 x man shield unit and then looked for the problem. This was clearly the wrong way round but, as you may also know is the all too common approach.

So, he started at a very different point and began to ask questions. Protecting officers was naturally one requirement, but that was only part of the problem and not the real problem. The real problem was managing public order – which ironically was in the title of his  department – Public Order Training.

Start with – What is the Problem?

So his start point was to explore the varied types of public disorder problems across the country. Then (as an innovator and navigator) he created flexible tactics that could be used in different scenarios. He then developed a shield which would also provide adequate protection. It was shorter than the original long one, had a gulley down each side that allowed good linking if needed, it was lighter and more robust and enabled officers to run with it for some distance.

 Police public order

The logical order to solving public disorder problems was obvious. First, identify what is the actual problem; second, what tactics are needed and finally, what protection was required.

Results measurement was also important (the stabiliser) and that fed back into the effetiveness of tactics and any fine tuning that may need to be made.

Today, some 30 years later, the smaller shield and tactics are still employed to this date, yet despite the improved results, there  are a few  police forces that use the larger shield.


The Business World

Today Graham’s journey above maybe what some organisations would  consider as a Complete Lean Solution, or a Business Process Review and of course it works. But the evidence says it has rarely be done successfully.

Research from a variety of sources says

“80% of Lean or Change programmes fail”

and as recently quoted by MicKinsey and the Harvard Business Review

“Over 70% of Leadership Development Programmes are unsuccessful”

Any good change manager or facilitator will know that the right starting place is where you’ll win, everytime.

While organisations will look at wholesale change programmes once in a generation, many will be investing in Leadership or Management Development with the expectation that such training will improve their management team and it follows that results will improve. So does this actually happen?


Where do organisations start developing people?

Providers, who are in the market offering various training interventions designed to meet organisational needs, tackle problems and improve results are still starting at the wrong place.Blackboard square pegs in round holes

In 2017 a majority of providers are still offering knowledge or systems solutions to organisations, which for example range from lean management, psychometrics, leadership training, value development and culture change, together with various tactics on how to apply them.

They then assume that the organisation will fit their (off-the-shelf) solution and tactics into the problems that the organisation faces. It is typical of trying to fit a square peg in a round hole and that means adjusting everything else to make it work.

Meaning and Evidence

To give you some meaning to what we are saying a search on the web will reveal the obvious. If you look up leadership training it quickly identifies a list of providers who offer very similar products, albeit marketed very differently. For example they may list the objectives of their training that include:

  • Understanding the difference between leadership and management
  • How to identify strengths in people
  • Communication skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • How to motivate people
  • Making key decisions
  • How to empower people
  • Dealing with conflict


The list explored would give a range of knowledge to ‘wannabe’ leaders much of it based around theories and concepts that may be interesting but many are now outdated and may even be obsolete.

Here’s one example – a well used piece of information which has been rolled out by trainers for decades is the percentages relating to effective communication. Participants are given 55% body language, 38% tone of voice and only 7% of words to what achieves good communication. It is simply not true. Neither is the myth relating to changing a habit only taking 21 days. We suggest you check them out. Do your own reality check and google it – you’ll be surprised at what you might find as to the research done on either!

However, this approach by providers is entirely the wrong way round. Giving people knowledge or systems as a start point, some of which is or may be flawed, does not produce good or even develop good or great leaders. Organisations around the world are inundated with leaders who operate from a dictatorial platform that disempowers and disengages employees and results in poor or barely adequate performance.

Global engagement levels are stubbornly fixed at 13% despite the $billions invested in developing soft skills – regular Gallup research.

Even if on paper these are what you want, great development programmes with inspirational trainers just don’t work!

These providers, which are the majority, let the client down as their proposed solutions rarely delivers as promised. The CIPD recently said

“Success is no better than random chance…”

They are solutions from a different time and from different problems which happened to work for the provider or their organisation in the past.

“Knowledge is Power”

may have been the mantra and drive of last century, but in today’s complex world what is lacking is the right application of any knowledge gained.

If today all that was needed was “knowledge is power”, everyone that goes on an expensive sales course will therefore be great salespeople… wouldn’t they?


Providers appear to perpetuate their solutions through their professional bodies which makes them ever more enthusiastic. Clever marketing also rebadges these old and outdated approaches so what you get is the “Emporer’s new clothes”.

Check the web again, Google it for the reality. Here are some findings:

  • Lean management – 80% lean initiatives are abandoned within 3 years. Only 2% get the results they desired.
  • Leadership – 67% organisations think leadership training is a priority yet 93% of programmes fail.
  • Engagement – staff engagement is seen as essential for organisation yet for years Gallup survey has consistently reported 87% of employees as being disengaged across the world.
  • Value-based management – in the 21st century having values statement is a fact in business life. Living them is a different matter. Most fail because the culture is not addressed, the leadership is poor and people are disengaged.
  • 10 Fatal Leadership Flaws –  Jack Zenger & Joseph Folkman (2009) – and they are prevalent and stubbornly resilient even today.

The start point is not a poor quality solution that we try to make fit but identifying the problem first.


Reality-Driven Leaders

Today, we advocate the new role of Reality-Driven Leaders. These people operate from a position of their own reality from which the right solution for your organistion can be identified. This enables improved or new solutions to be found and the methods to deliver them.

Such leaders need to be pragmatic, flexible and relevant in all they do. They need to have the right attitude to challenge the status quo.

These leaders must remain flexible as the world in which organisations operate is always changing – having internal and external agility is critical to they way they work. The role must be cyclical so that it does not become bogged down in rigid systems and processes that often overcontrol but are built on changing realities.

If reality is at the core of what you do it really is simple.


Off-the-shelf solutions do not work or rarely do. Start by asking:

  1. What is the issue (reality), and
  2. What are the problems we need to solve in order to resolve it?
  3. What are our options, and which ones will work (choices)?
  4. How do we implement our choices (tactics)

Do you want Reality-Driven Leaders?

As ever you have a choice. What’s yours?



Does your Culture help the Organisation Succeed?


Does your Culture help the Organisation Succeed?

There’s a lot written about what organisations should be doing to improve performance, however the reality is your organisation is where it is, not where a book or an article says it is, or needs to be.

Sounds simple and it is. And generally assessing what type of culture prevails in an organisation is pretty simple too. It’s rare for instance (not just our experience either) that the company website promoting an engaging, empowering and innovative culture is not even close to the reality experienced by  everyone working there (if you were given the opportunity to ask them).  But it looks good on the website and that’s the goal anyway, isn’t it?

What does the Board think?

Often the Board will believe what’s said on the website, as after all, it’s they that ultimately approve it.

But do they really know?

Does the board outperform what the research says? What about the leadership in total?

Research like – “Ten fatal flaws that derail leaders” by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman, published by HBR in 2009

Blackboard 10 fatal leadership flaws

How does all your leadership stack up against this list?

Where Boardrooms will think is something like the following picture.

Engagement and Culture


Boards want a successful organisation, that’s high performing, where everyone is engaged in the purpose of the business, culturally aligned, where employees each have personal meaning that is also in line with the organisations purpose… and happy…

and a rock solid building comes to mind where everything within reason is perfect, and stable.


But what about reality?

Reality, however, has a habit of proving us wrong, and that reality is often very different from our beliefs and perceptions.

In most cases, we never really achieve engaged teams or departments that are perfectly aligned with the combined culture. Instead we put up with the differences and rarely address or fix them, believing maybe that the differences are not that ‘big’ or important. (That status quo continues despite knowing an engaged organisation is more productive… and happy).

So the reality is we get the following picture evolving. The right hand side is what we may believe or want with a perfectly aligned culture, but the left hand side is what we have.

Productivity, Disengaging and Engaging Culture

The perfect cultural alignment shifts and the building blocks start to look unstable as departments develop their own cultures. Some leaders, heads or managers are more imposing and influential than others and hence it’s not surprising departments move away from the core culture. If allowed to continue this will create long term disengagement and lower productivity. What we know, as it’s regularly reported is that some 50% of available time is non-productive, a fact most C-suite leaders will tell us when asked.

So perhaps the first question to ask is which picture fits your organisation? The right, or the left? How aligned are each of your leaders, managers, heads and employees? When we hire or promote for a department on the left, from what starting position are we doing it?

How much lost productivity do you have?

The difference between the two buildings is shown in lost value – productivity.

Many will say you can’t measure where the source starts, but we know you can, because it stems from Behavioural Waste™, and there are three forms of this waste ; Personal, Cultural and Systemic.

If you’d like to see what value you’re losing because of Behavioural Waste™ this link will give you better understanding.

We call Behavioural Waste™

the biggest business disease that can be reduced or eliminated

but this elephant in the room is believed to be too expensive to fix. But that’s a belief, because you’ve been told it all before and snake oil just doesn’t exist.

The question to ask is  – what if there is a better way and we can fix it, once and for all? What would a truly engaged organisation deliver in value?

As ever you have a choice – there’s a new world available if you look here

So does your Culture help the Organisation Succeed?

What’s your choice?

Are you trying to prove Einstein wrong?

Have you noticed how the one or two line sayings from real thought leaders are always simple and yet have far deeper meanings once you start to think about them.

So when Einstein said,

“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”

what are we thinking when we read it? Or do we just nod in a knowing sort of way and really don’t think at all?

Maybe we need another stimulus? Perhaps one that’s engaging our like for humour and one that engages our comical brain like this?

“Insanity : doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.” Maybe a picture helps…Einstein definition of Madness or Insanity

Or make it even simpler… To get better results, don’t you need to change something?

To some it will sound obvious, and you might say common sense that to improve on what you’re doing you need to change something. But how often are we brave enough to really change?

The next picture seems to be one that is more likely when we look at the business world.


But it’s not really funny is it?

When Boards, Directors and Management are under pressure to perform, improve the ROI, grow the business, maintain market share or just survive the global economic mess is it any surprise change is something that is resisted?

How about asking the question…

Do you think Einstein was wrong?

Whether Einstein said the “Insanity” quote or not I’ve always smiled when I’ve quoted it because if you do the same thing in the same way all the time, then prior to the global recession you would have expect to get the same results. But what about now? That’s not the case today for so many businesses, is it?

You may ask where’s the evidence for that? Take a short look at the high street changes in the UK – Jessops, BHS. What about the Steel Industry decline? No matter where we look there’s lots of evidence and your sector has its own issues I’m sure.

So to improve you have to do something different seems obvious, doesn’t it? If you say yes…what’s next?

Enter the first hurdle that many fear – what do we change? The questions then come thick and fast. It could be worse if we change the wrong thing? What would the shareholders say if we make it worse…? And all sorts of doom and gloom questions start to unfold.

But to improve, change you must!

Where to start? That’s the $1 million question.

Why not start simply?

The first question is where are we now? What do we do that gets these results? And the simple answer to that is probably we don’t really know. But what we do know is that we do some things good and some not so good.

So it should be a simple task to find out what we’re doing well and just do more of it. Wouldn’t we be doing that already?

Undoubtedly somewhere in the discussion will be about the resources. That should quickly result in a discussion about the quality of the leadership, the employees who deliver the results. That may then lead to skills and training and that’s the time we forget about Einstein.

But if you thought Einstein was right you’d look at things differently this time – wouldn’t you? Why differently this time?

Because all the evidence says

don’t do what the vast majority of change programmes do and give leaders and employees more knowledge training. You will just create a bigger “Knowing-Doing Gap”… and fail.

Adding to the Knowing-Doing Gap will be what we call Behavioural Waste ( Behavioral Waste )

Evidence of that is where?

As recent as 2013, Pfeffer & Sutton, reiterated the known enigma and continued existence of the “Knowing-Doing training gap”.

In 2014 published results in the Harvard Business Review from Sutton, R. I., & Rao, H. (2014). “Scaling up excellence: Getting to more without settling for less.” concluded  

It is necessary to remove destructive and negative attitudes and behaviours first...”


The choice then is yours

Do this… no change








Or listen to the evidence and dare to believe there’s something better.

If you dare to believe there could be something better, then you could look at this

Recycling Behavioural Waste Cover








On the following link

As ever you have a choice. What’s yours?


What’s the cost of Behavioural Waste (or if you prefer Behavioral Waste ) ?

There’s at least 1hr per day per employee in every organisation – how much is that?

Is Behavioural Waste the missing link to Lean Programmes Succeeding?

Why do Lean Programmes fail?

Research suggests that over 70% of all lean programmes fail. If you’d like to see some research about what might be the why then this link is useful

Yet during my years in the oil&gas, construction and retail industries I’ve implemented many successful lean programmes. Not all were perfect, but all were successful and some were done in record time. Some teams were forced together, mostly multi-disciplined by need, many given what seemed an enormous task again driven by the demanding nature of the business.

We also had no real concept of the origins of lean programmes in Toyota and our approach was focused on our business – it was simply known as a Business Process Review, BPR.

So why did we have success?

The simple answer is people made it happen. It’s all too often that Lean Programmes know that people count, but do nothing or not enough to make the people effect have the right or the best impact. The focus is all on the process and assumptions are made that people want the change, or are prepared to change but they are are assuming something that may actually not be there.

The issue as we now know is what we term Behavioural Waste™, and organisations have so much of it that before you enter a change programme, you need to change attitudes and behaviours first. If you eliminate or significantly reduce Behavioural Waste™ , any improvement is possible and innovation, creativity, engaged employees, inspired leaders become everyday norms not exceptions.



Recyling Behavioural Waste™

The great thing about our behaviours is that if we want to change them we can – we have a choice. The hardest part is to define or assess what we actually do and then simply by raising our awareness we can then decide to do something different to improve.

You can therefore recycle the bad stuff and improve. To show you what’s possible this new book is for you.

Recycling Behavioural Waste Cover

Key Messages from this book:

1. There’s no point in trying to grow your business if you are currently busy doing the wrong things. You won’t have time to adopt new approaches. Begin by reducing wasteful behaviour to create the space to grow purposeful behaviour.
2. People like doing lean, fixed systems or efficiency exercises because it focuses attention onto processes, which are seen as impersonal, and thus avoids the issue of having to change your behaviour. Behavioural Waste™ is the largest hidden cost that businesses fail to account for.
3. When people talk about culture, they don’t realise that they may have already chosen to fail because talking about the culture of an organisation doesn’t help solve the problem of what in particular, needs to change. The real cultural issue is everyone’s contribution to the accumulated Behavioural Waste™ that is collectively strangling your purpose. If you have  purpose that is meaningful, you can empower people to say “no” to futile, wasteful working,
and to innovate usefully.
4. Behavioural Waste™ is parasitic. The old Parkinson’s Law quotation that work expands to fill the time available for its completion is only partially true. In reality it is unchecked Behavioural Waste™ that expands to cripple meaningful purpose.
5. When people understand their own Behavioural Waste™, as well as the consequences of that Behavioural Waste™ on other people’s behaviour, and begin to control and reduce it then new capacity for growth begins to appear and people have time to consciously think and to innovate.

If you’d like a free digital copy then email us at with your organisation’s details.

As ever you have a choice.

  • want to Recycle Behavioural Waste?

  • continue to do what you do?

  • do something else?

What’s your choice?

Is Recycling Behavioural Waste your missing link?




Do beliefs matter?

Do beliefs matter? What do you think?

As if it were yesterday I can hear my mother saying

Be careful what you believe, it might just happen!

And sure enough it usually does – but is that surprising?

Take the example of the recent UK referendum on leaving Europe, or more commonly known as #Brexit. The electorate chose, against all expectations to leave the EU. What has followed has been wild rhetoric from politicians, business leaders and those that manage the financial markets. Of course it’s a huge deal that the 5th largest economy in the world is making a momentous move, but the Brexit campaign was about sovereignty and their belief we can do better outside than in. Only time will really tell, but even then we’d have to guess what it would have been like had the UK remained.

However, this momentous result shows that in the absence of ‘real’ evidence, beliefs have driven the argument.

At Mind Fit we’re often asked about our simple equation that makes us all unique. Understanding it is what makes all of us unique:

  • We are what we believe
  • What we believe, together with our experiences, form our attitudes
  • Our attitudes in action form our behaviours

Beliefs form the foundation of who we are. When we know that, and believe it we can start changing – as beliefs can be right and wrong. And if you think it, you are likely to believe it.  

If you think you can or you think you can't you're rightAs a regular reader you will know that at Mind Fit we recommend you look at the evidence, what’s the reality? And we ask the simple but hard questions like

Are we looking at this the best way? How do we know that?

And so here’s a simple, but real example of how it works in the real world as recalled by our Sports Director Tony Westwood.

I am reminded of an episode playing golf with a friend of mine at Goodwood.

It was a lovely day and we were enjoying a relaxing game of golf on the stunning ‘Downs Course’ on the Goodwood estate. With amazing views out across Chichester to Portsmouth, the Solent and beyond to the Isle of Wight, it was just the perfect day for golf.

After we had completed the 14th hole, I noticed a change in demeanour one of my playing partners. Let’s call him Joe. As we walked down the slope to the 15th tee his head was bowed and his shoulders slumped with a stern look on his face.

“What’s up Joe” I called across and his reply went something like this. “I hate this hole. I always make a mess of this hole, I hate it!”. Strong words but you had to be there to feel they way he said it.

The 15th on the Downs Course is a challenging par 4. It plays 376 yards of the yellow markers and has out-of-bounds on the left side and waste high rough to the right of the fairway. Not too long, but the average golfer is hitting his or her tee shot into a fairway that slopes severely upwards in front of them, so their golf ball is not going to run very far once it hits terra firma.

In an effort to hit a ‘big’ tee shot, for most golfers errant shots follow and the pressure is on.

Joe addressed his tee shot nervously and hesitantly swung the club trying to be careful. This first attempt sailed over the out-of-bounds fence into the field. After everyone else had teed off Joe reloaded. His next shot flew at 45 degrees to the right and into the waste high rough. Finally, playing 7 off the tee he scuffed the ball off the front of the tee to the bottom of the hill.

His 8th shot was a better effort and got him to within 100 yards of the green. His 9th was a great effort, just a little strong and it trickled off the back of the green. In playing his chip back on, he struck the ball towards the top and it finished further away from the hole and off the green back down the fairway. After an 11th shot and 3 putts, Joe scored 14 on the 15th hole.

I was holding the flag and after placing it back in the hole I walked towards Joe with a smile on my face and my hand extended ready to shake hands and congratulate Joe. He looked puzzled as I said “Congratulations Joe, you were successful, you did exactly what you believed, are you happy now?” I know Joe well so he would take that in the spirit meant – context is everything.

Initially he said “What?” and then I reminded him of what he had said on the way to the 15th tee and that he was exactly right and that I wanted to congratulate him on that success. He shook my hand and understood that from that moment he needed to change his approach on that hole and that while it might not change immediately, it would in time.

Since the referendum, we have been bombarded with news and opinions about what might happen now that UK has voted to leave the EU. Many have viewed it as a negative step to close our borders and be inward looking. Others, are viewing it as a great opportunity to be outward looking, to invite the world to do business with the UK and be leaders and collaborators in this post financial crisis world.

However, it’s a fragile situation and the most dangerous comments come from politicians and those that watch and trade on the world’s financial markets. You only have to look at the timing of the first post Brexit speech from the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney who stabilised all market volatility with a calm, confident and believable delivery. I recall a tweet at the time from Janan Ganesh, columnist for the FT and political commentator on TV

 It’s like having Morgan Freeman as your central bank governor

We can see from the simple golf course example above, how powerful what we believe is and if it works on the golf course and in sports you can guarantee it works in business and in life too. Why? Because it’s personal and real.

Many of the traders are talking about how volatile the markets will be and that a recession is just around the corner and that there are tough times ahead. If this is what they believe, how is it going to shape their decisions on how they trade?

What might happen if they believed something different?

What might happen if you challenged your beliefs, and believed something different in your world? Your organisation?

As ever you always have a choice. So what’s yours?

To find out what this would mean to your organisation, your sector or you, then email us or use the Mind Fit contact page.



Do you know how much The Elephant in the Room Costs?

The Elephant in the Room – Do you know how much it costs?

PageLines- Elephant.jpg

The ‘Elephant in the Room’ is a metaphorical idiom for an obvious truth that is going unaddressed. These ‘Elephants’ are commonly something we know about but choose to ignore and it often applies to an obvious problem or risk that no one wants to discuss – they are a taboo subject. However, the one thing these ‘Elephants’ have in common is that while they exist and remain untreated, they interfere and often will completely stop progress.

  • How aware are you of the ‘Elephant in the Room’ in your organization?
  • What does it cost to ignore it?
  • Have you got one or more?
  • And how much time, effort and money are spent feeding them?

Simply by acknowledging that the ‘Elephant in the room’ exists is a good first step. Now valuing it becomes easy as it is mostly about time that’s lost. So in terms of time lost an ‘Elephant’ can easily take one hour a day away from the productive time for each employee. Let’s put a nominal amount of £50 per hour as a cost of employee time. The average employee works 210 days a year. If they waste one hour per day that equates to 210 hours wasted giving a cost of £10,500 per year lost. For 10 employees that amounts to £105,000 and 100 employees a staggering £1,050,000.

Don’t we really need to take the ‘Elephant in the Room’ seriously and not bury our heads in the sand?

What would you do if you had an extra hour a day to apply focused effort on what is important to your business?

A Challenge for You

As you read this article keep an open mind as to what is really happening in your organisation and your own thought process.

  • First, do not believe what you are about to read – but think about what is said and ask questions of yourself and your organisation
  • Next, try and answer some of the questions that you are presented with – truthfully
  • Now investigate what you have read and compare with your answers to prove or disprove your beliefs
  • At any time did you change your beliefs or have you chosen to ignore what you have read or discovered?
  • If the latter – what is your reason? What will you do now?

What is really going on in the brain?

One Universal Human Trait is based on what we believe is ‘the’ truth. We ignore or reject reality and defiantly refuse to check out the reality. We accept what we believe as a fact.

This however results in a lot of wasted time, effort and money.Behavioural-Waste

  • Our beliefs shape the facts as we want them to be
    • Our beliefs form our attitude.
    • Our attitude drives our behaviours.
    • Negative behaviours are non-productive.
  • The result – Behavioural Waste™ is generated.

What is Behavioural Waste™?

Behavioural Waste™ involves forms of behaviour that can be usefully removed or reduced, which prevent us from achieving our purpose and which reduce our effectiveness or the effectiveness of other people.

Beliefs lead to Behavioural Waste™

  • Behavioural Waste™ can be Personal, Cultural and Systemic
  • Behavioural Waste™ costs significant time, effort and money
  • Behavioural Waste™ impacts negatively on performance and productivity

How much Behavioural Waste™ does your organisation create?

How much does it cost?

Examples of Behavioural Waste™

Personal Cultural Systemic
Work on own agenda that conflicts with organisational purpose Meeting agendas poorly drafted, late starting and lack control Consistently produce data that is not needed or wanted
Looking for ways to sabotage people or the organisation Leaders use aggressive telling tactics and make all the decisions Focus on keeping cost down regardless of purpose or business imperatives
Talking too much often loudly to prevent others intervening Emails sent out in a poorly structured way to everyone to protect sender Driven by Lean Management without considering impact
Constantly use language of management speak (MBA’s/MA’s) Tell stories which are believed to be true but are myths and damaging Focus on systems that ‘do things right’ and not ‘do the right thing’

Which ones do you recognise?

What others have you identified?

Beliefs increase complexityEinstein definition of Madness or Insanity

Organisations are complex enough in our high demanding and fast moving environments so why would we want to make it worse?  Why do we make it worse by ignoring reality and putting solutions to perceived problems into the mix that fail to deliver the purpose of why we exists in our work context? People simply keep doing what they have always done with a belief that one-day it will deliver.


One of the effects of ignoring the ‘Elephant in the Room’ is that we put more energy into systems and processes that over time lose pace with the real world and become more and more rigid demanding more feeding.


Here are some examples of how to waste time by not checking out reality. None of the examples really work yet we keep doing them:

  • Engaged – Disengaged workers. Disengagement is a major issue. For years specialists have tried to solve the problem and they measure it year in year out to see how bad it really is. Gallup in 2013 found disengagement to be 83% in the UK. Professionals keep delivering exciting development programmes to address the problem yet disengagement remains high. The confusion is that organisational interventions are based on keeping people, to keep them happy with gimmicks to engage them, whilst engagement is nothing but a state of mind.
  • Lean management. Lean programmes has a failure rate of between 50% and 95% and the reasons are well known but there’s a commitment and a ‘let’s do it anyway’ approach. Lean makes sense and it is a logical approach and what’s more is generally needed, however if the workforce does not engage then it is ultimately doomed.
  • Change management. Regularly quoted as having a 70% failure rate so you are not alone if you are one of those. Once again you will often find ‘people’s’ beliefs and attitudes behind the failures.
  • Absenteeism. About 140 million working days or more are lost every year in the UK through sickness with many more in the public sector than the private sector. Despite many initiatives, sickness persists at an unacceptable high level. Yet we keep doing the same things to tackle the problem.
  • Systems Thinking. It has been around since the 1960’s and although new words are used to describe what it is, nothing has really changed. It has a high level of failure rate sometimes caused by the focus on efficiencies that tend to dominate and ignores effectiveness relating to people. In addition, systems thinking tends to tell you more about the provider’s preferences than the problem itself. So you end up admiring the method but alienated by the poor results.
  • Knowing – Doing. This is a big one. In fact it’s huge! For decades it has been assumed that knowledge leads to learning; learning changes attitudes and behaviours that in turn lead to improved results. Unfortunately, except in hard skills, this belief ignores the reality. Research shows a poor connection between learning and doing, so poor that the CIPD described it in 2007 as ‘no better than random chance’ and Donald Kirkpatrick of ‘evaluation of training fame’ said in 2005 that ‘There is a devastating disconnect between learning and behaviour’. It is actually very simple to link behaviors with performance and learning however, that is another story.

 What initiatives has your organisation tried?

Did they work?

How do you know?

If something is not working why waste time, effort and money on repeating the measures or on applying interventions that mainly fail except in a small number of cases? It is as though we want to change just as long as it doesn’t involve having to think in depth where we might discover what is really going on. Our approach and solutions to the issues are handled in a cosmetic way. Is it time to do something else?

Why do we buy solutions, which may have little effect?

What is that something else?

What’s needed is a role that closes the gap between what we believe is working and reality. These people will identify the ‘Elephant in the Room’ that needs to be removed and no longer ignore it but start the process to remove it. We call them Mind Fit Investigators.

The Mind Fit Investigator

Description – A person who carries out an inquiry or investigation to establish the facts and truth about something. They are often experts in their field, although some can operate in different context. They may not be a specialist in a narrow area such as a remedial farrier, vehicle examiner, a biochemist or in Forensic IT. What they are is highly aware, able to access and translate information and data, and act accordingly. In the world of organisations their actions are focused on delivering benefit to that organisation.

The Investigator asks those tough questions

There is a very essential reason that tough questions must be asked to evidence reality and that relates to another Universal Human Trait, that of pattern recognition. Humans are designed to pick up cues in our world, originally for survival, to find food or avoid danger. Today, those cues are used in a whole variety of situations such as risk assessments in Health & Safety, gaps in player formation on a rugby field, a fire investigator searching for the cause of a fire, or airport baggage screeners looking for suspect articles.

However, there is a danger as we sometimes see patterns when they do not exist and this can lead to a lot of wasted time and cost when there is no need. False patterns are one of the areas that the Investigator seeks to discover. The wrong pattern linked to false beliefs can generate more wasted effort.

The ‘Investigator’ operates, often at a senior or departmental level on behalf of the directors of an organisation, by exploring those activities at the point of convergence between:

  1. The vision, purpose and key strategies at the top of an organisation
  2. The systems and processes that operate to deliver the purpose, directly or indirectly
  3. The attitude and behaviour of people
  4. Individuals personal reason for being in the organisation
  5. The culture and its impact across the organisation
  6. The link with the customer/client

The ‘Investigator’ asks tough questions of people, leaders and teams, which may start like this:

  • Are you doing the right thing?
  • How do you know?
  • Does it work?
  • Where is the evidence?
  • How much of your time is actually spent on work that ultimately delivers, directly or indirectly, the organisational purpose and meets the needs of your clients?
  • How much time do you waste locked into non-productive activities such as routine meetings or running demanding systems and processes?
  • If we could improve your role what would you do and what part would need to be done by others to give you the time to improve?

From this initiating point ‘Investigators’ enquire and probe to discover those small input variables that lead to the current performance and productivity or cause time consuming and expensive Behavioural Waste™. They seek opportunities for the organisation to improve and grow simply by exploring ways that result in performance improvement rather than management of performance. Their focus is the Purpose of the organisation to ensure that it is being delivered and moving towards its Vision.

Put simply the ‘Investigator’s’ role is crucial. Without them the ‘Elephant in the Room’ will keep growing and need constant feeding. Here is a summary of the ‘Investigator’s’ role:

  • Identify the ‘Elephant(s) in the Room’ – evidence it
  • Identify, evidence and remove Behavioural Waste™ – personal, cultural and systemic
  • Explore Convergent Points for effectiveness and efficiencies to ensure that they deliver what is needed – evidence it
  • Identify Growth opportunities to increase performance improvement – evidence it

Elephant in the room


However, if you choose to ignore or resist reality the results will be as they have always been. Is that good enough?

The choice as always is yours.

What’s your choice?

Do you want to know how you can develop Mind Fit Investigators? Click Here



Management Training – is it time to change the approach?

If it’s not bust don’t fix it!

For decades, if an organisation wanted to develop its people as leaders, team players or as top performers; or for people to become more motivated, or have the ability to handle change, to improve communication, it simply left it to the professionals; those trainers, and Learning and Development (L & D) specialist who would put together a ‘package’ aimed at providing knowledge learning. It is the way things are done.

It works so why change it? Some specialists are in-house whilst there are a myriad of individuals or small organisations and professional bodies with the promise of success or increased performance or a more dynamic team. In addition, universities and colleges also provide management development training in various guises. It sounds so simple.

Years of experience in delivering training cannot be wrong – or can it?

Now this is where is gets interesting.

Two key questions relating to people development that many providers struggle to answer are,

  1. “Does it work?” and
  2. “Where is the evidence?”

If you ask an L & D professional the answer is invariably

Yes it works. You just have to look at the reams of feedback forms.”

This is an understandable and not unreasonable response because if your intention is to provide people with the knowledge that they need to become better leaders or to increase personal effectiveness then as a professional, you set about to ensure that it is provided in the most suitable format. You absolutely believe it works. You probably tested participant reaction to the event in the form of what is often referred to as a ‘happy sheet’ so that you can discover if the event met their expectation. You may also have checked on the learning by asking questions, or with a knowledge and understanding test. The results invariably show that people did enjoy the event and learnt from it so as a professional you have done your job. The longer the course the more learning can be tested. Who can dispute that?

Unfortunately, doing this you will have made a fundamental mistake. All you have done is test participants reaction and the learning. Providing people with knowledge that they may need to become better in their role does not mean it delivers results for the organisation – unless the programmes intention is just to provide knowledge. Where’s the performance improvement? Who has measured or even noticed that?

Putting it in context

In 1959 Donald Kirkpatrick published what has become known as the Kirkpatrick model: the principles for the evaluation of training. They are:

  • Level 1 – Reaction
    To what degree participants react favourably to the training
  • Level 2 – Learning
    To what degree participants acquire the intended knowledge, skills, attitudes, confidence and commitment based on their participation in a training event
  • Level 3 – Behaviour
    To what degree participants apply what they learned during training when they are back on the job
  • Level 4 – Results
    To what degree targeted outcomes occur as a result of the training event and subsequent reinforcement

What transpired from this model is the assumption made by the learning and development community, is that level 1 (reaction) led to level 2 (learning – new knowledge), which in turn led to level 3 (behavioural change) which ultimately led to level 4 (results in the work environment). This thought process, this belief, assumed each succeeding level is more informative and connected to its predecessors. Therefore, knowledge provided causes learning which can be tested. Learning causes changes in attitudes and behaviours, which results in the learner applying new knowledge in the workplace. The outcome for example, being improved performance, communication, time management, customer service, leadership… or just being better.

Unfortunately, and largely ignored by a majority of learning professionals is the proven gap between the act or process of consuming learning in the form of knowledge, and the performance of observable behavioural change.

It is important to understand what type of learning we are referring too. Technical training has a high level of transfer back into the workplace subject to the individual being given the opportunity to use it within a working context. However, it is in the area described as “soft” skills including topics such as team working, leadership, engagement, change, performance management and stress is where the real problem lies.

The evidenceTalent-Management-Business-Master

There are several key sources documenting the poor transfer of soft skills knowledge into behavioural change and tangible results. They include:

Alliger & Janak (1986) – who found a poor correlation between the four levels of Kirkpatrick. One level is not linked to the next and each is a separate entity.
Detterman & Steinberg (1993) – in their review of transferable training they found 86% of people fail to action training.
Pfeffer & Sutton (2000) – researched and described the Knowing–Doing Gap
Bramley (2003) – comment on the supporting evidence for any transfer of learning into behavioural change being no better than due to random chance.
Kirkpatrick & Kirkpatrick (2005) – acknowledged the need to examine the reasons for the “devastating disconnect between learning and behaviour”.
Pfeffer & Sutton (2013) – reiterated the enigma and continued existence of the Knowing-Doing training gap.

With Donald Kirkpatrick himself highlighting this major problem it is surprising that the Learning & Development profession have largely chosen to ignore it?

The staggering failure of knowledge-based training to tackle real issues in the work place persists, resulting in large expensive investments in training having a minimal impact on changing behaviours and delivering tangible results. It has left organisations with many major problems that knowledge-inputs purport to address yet fails. Trainers are still trying to solve the same problems in the same way they have for decades. At this point, Einstein’s definition of insanity as the application of old solutions to problems in the hope that something different will happen springs to mind. This intransigence in terms of method probably explains the longevity of the same old problems in organisations, especially engagement and poor communication and leadership.

Learning & Development professionals need to acknowledge the reality that the traditional knowledge approach to change attitudes and behaviours has failed, and will not work.

This ‘gap’ costs economies across the world billions of dollars yet is rarely challenged. It is so embedded in our psyche that whenever a people-development need is identified, learning & development professionals are inevitably tasked with providing a knowledge-based solution to the topic that may include leadership, change, engagement or underperformance inputs. What rarely happens is a challenge to the provider when the programme does not deliver as promised. What you tend to get instead are the results from a ‘happy-sheet’ and the key learning from the event itself, and not its application.

How many learning & development professionals monitor attitude, behavioural change and tangible results?

How many know what to look for, and how to do it?

Many will tell you that it cannot be done – however they are wrong. We have designed a scientifically sound questionnaire that has been tested for validity and reliability that measures attitudes and behaviours and can be used to measure shifts in behaviours linked to desired business outcomes. This is want employers want and not just a knowledgeable workforce. You can also measure results if you know what you are doing or looking for.

Changing the Paradigm Shift

To close the knowing-doing gap a paradigm shift is required. The solution is simple; split the knowledge–doing continuum into two halves; then start at a different place.

  1. If the need is knowledge then seek that from the appropriate development professional.
  2. If attitudes and behaviours need to change to deliver the business imperative, then you need a different kind of professional.

And this is why a paradigm shift is required. The Knowledge – Learning approach is an ‘outside-in’ approach during which learning professionals use a number of relevant theories and models or provide experiences as the basis of learning. What makes it worse is that many of the theories or models are not useable in the real world, however interesting they may be, or have become obsolete whilst others have been misinterpreted.

The key for any professional is to ensure that any knowledge input is relevant and useable in the workplace. If the knowledge is interesting but not useable the provider is wasting time, effort and money.

If knowledge is relevant and required then the outcome of that knowledge should be learning. The problem remains however, that even if the learner ‘knows’ the relevant knowledge, in a majority of cases they do not apply it because their attitude has not changed. People justify this by making excuses such as “We are too busy.” Or “There is no money.” Or “We lack resources.”

The New Start Place

If behaviours need to change, then the real start-point is to begin with attitudes and behaviours and not the acquisition of knowledge learning.

Generating a willingness in people to change their attitudes and behaviours requires a completely different approach. It requires an ‘inside-out’ approach. Through new insights, real experiences and practical tools, participants’ self-awareness is raised so that they intuitively self-assess how they behave in different situations and the impact that has on performance, productivity and the end consumer.

To help people understand whether they consistently operate from a negative or positive bias, we use our Mind Fit Map® which provides a simple and intuitively understandable construct of where they consistently operate from namely, ‘Can’t Do, ‘Won’t Do’ or ‘Can do’ states. This enables participants to make their own choices leading to stopping or reducing old behaviours that waste time, effort and money and start new and focused activities that lead to improved performance and productivity for the benefit of the organisation, and its stakeholders.

By tackling attitudes and behaviours first, people often identify when they need knowledge that is relevant to them at a specific time and situation. So knowledge follows behavioural change.

A simple example of the behaviour first approach happens when we buy a new phone such as an IPhone or Android. We do not go on a workshop to learn about the new phone, its development history or technology. We switch it on and use it. We play with it, make mistakes and sometimes get stuck. At that point in time we go to the help menu for the relevant information and move on. We grow our capability to use the phone by using it.

The same can apply to leadership, change programmes, team working and so on. By doing leadership first for example, with a ‘Can Do’ mind-state, will lead to you being a better leader quicker with a willingness to improve performance to deliver the desired outcome. Of course, you will make mistakes on the way however, that is how you grow. Getting to the ‘Can-Do’ mindset should be the priority.

What about our Learning and Development professionals?

Unless traditional professionals and trainers acknowledge the Knowing–Doing gap and abandon their futile dependence upon knowledge input as the solution, organisations will continue to waste time, effort and money on something that has little effect and remain stuck with the continuing problem of poor leadership, underperformance and disengaged people.

The reality is we are dealing with two continuums. All you need to do is identify which is relevant at a moment in time and use the appropriate professional.

Business Change - are you fit for the 21st CenturyWhat’s needed to do this?

• First, acknowledge and accept that the “Knowing–Doing” gap exists, is vastly expensive and counter-productive as the approach is rarely able to deliver what it promises. The published evidence is out there.
• There is virtually no link between learning knowledge and behavioural change in relation to soft skills. Check it out.
• Accept that Kirkpatrick’s original four linked levels are in fact two continuums – ‘Knowledge – Learning’ and ‘Behaviours – Results’.
• Start with the end in mind – what attitude and behaviours will increase performance and grow your business?
• Create an environment that stops those attitudes and behaviours that cause Behavioural Waste™, which may be personal, cultural or systemic or a combination, and promote those behaviours that are linked to business and personal growth.
• Ensure that people have relevant and useable knowledge to perform their role. If the knowledge is interesting but not useable – don’t deliver it.

Make that paradigm shift
Simply start at a different place
Start with attitudes and behaviours

What we do is guaranteed so to find out how this will work in your organisation email us at or use our Contact page