What’s your real problem?

Training is a great way to impact ability – developing skills to make tasks easier to do or better understood. But most of us don’t struggle at work because the tasks we’re asked to do are just too hard. People struggle because the manager is hard to talk to or lacks leadership.  Underperformance can come from feeling disconnected from co-workers, and disengagement can happen when expectations are vague or people don’t feel appreciated or recognized. To understand what’s impacting performance we must dig deeper into the behaviors of your people and the culture of your organization.  Then can we design training that matters.

The Behavior Change Matrix is a tool to intelligently understand realities and target areas to improve through strategy and training.

There are four areas that deeply impact frontline performance:


The desire or willingness your people have to do something. The higher the motivation, the more likely the desired behavior change can occur.


The systems, processes, and people that a person perceives are available to help her do her job. A key word is “perceives” – your company might technically have processes in place, but if they’re underutilized or unclear they won’t make much difference. The more support felt, the more likely Behavior Change can occur.


Things outside a person’s control that influences and impacts behavior – anything from confusing processes to an uncomfortable chair. The fewer the variables, the better.


The skill required to do something. The measurement isn’t about “how able are you”, it’s how much skill is required – so the fewer skills required, the better. Ability is really where training comes in – improving skills or making things easier to do.

Explore the science & story behind the Behavior Change Matrix

The Behavior Change Matrix carefully considers the behavior economics of how people learn, are motivated, and get engaged.  Its design is informed by the work of Dr. BJ Fogg and the Persuasive Lab at Stanford University.  We developed the BCM when client after client came to us with a budget and a list of courses to develop, but no real consideration for how they arrived at their training decisions.  This inevitably led to wasted time and money as learners checked the “done” box, with no meaningful or lasting change from the training.  Engaging the BCM allows you to make smart decisions on where strategic training can help your people the most.

Make training targeted.



We start with a focused conversation with key people, or can conduct a sophisticated assessment for deep understanding.  


We’ll crunch the data and come back with our findings on how Motivation, Support, Variables, and Ability are impacting high performance.


We’ll make recommendations for a strategic approach to performance improvement.  These can include digital learning modules, OTJ training, support resources, workshops and more.  We’ll collaborate with you to determine what suits you best.


We’ll design and develop our solutions for maximum impact for your people and according to our philosophies on modern learning design.  Together we’ll start creating meaningful, targeted behavior change.

A Behavior Change Matrix Case Study in Onboarding New Employees



A client asked us to redesign e-learning courses intended for new hires in an effort to improve turnover and new employee morale.  This assumed a deficiency in Ability, targeted at the new employee; if they just knew or understood more, performance would improve.  Charted on the Behavior Change Matrix, this assumption looked something like this:

  • Motivation 100%
  • Support 100%
  • Variables 100%
  • Ability 43%
Like a lot of e-learning initiatives, this approach ignores Motivation, Support, and Variables entirely. Focusing only on Ability ignores critical elements of performance design, and is unlikely to lead to meaningful results.


Meeting with a team of HR executives, we applied the Behavior Change Matrix to guide discovery about the actual issues new employees face.  The BCM helped uncover that the real issue wasn’t in a new hire’s Ability – it was in the lack of Support and consistent leadership from managers.  The reality for new hires was more like this:

  • Motivation 85%
  • Support 35%
  • Variables 42%
  • Ability 92%
New employees were motivated to succeed and were ready to learn – the performance problem was being misdiagnosed.  The Behavior Change Matrix creates focus for needed training strategies.

Targeted Approach

We designed a more effective training initiative targeted to managers, rather than new employees,  to help them develop new perspectives, habits, and processes around onboarding.  We worked with the client to make the importance of onboarding better understood and consistent throughout the company, and introduced cultural shifts to help managers start thinking about the employee experience the same way they do the customer experience – as critical to bottom line success.

Digital learning modules help make the business case for managers on the importance of effective onboarding.

A captivating video, shot on-location at a company store, demonstrates how to execute a perfect (and typically imperfect) first day of a new employee’s career.

Digital performance support tools make it easy for managers to schedule the first days with a new employee to build relationships and create an environment for high performance.

Finally, we redesigned the new employee package of modules, focusing less on the nuts and bolts of the new job.  Instead, we’re driving excitement and enthusiasm for their new home.

How people feel at work is what matters most.  Our holistic approach to Performance Design helps you shape a culture of learning,  putting people before process.


Learners have changed. It’s time for learning to change too. Our fresh perspective and modern approach to design engages today’s digital learners like never before.


Ready to talk?  We keep it easy and low key.  Hit us up for a casual conversation about you and how we might help.