At work, it’s worth considering change on (at least) three dimensions: beliefs, behaviors, and systems.
Changing behaviors is (usually) what we’re after. So that’s where most change efforts start. And often where they stop.
Yet just because beliefs and systems are (often) invisible doesn’t mean their influence is, too.
Take, for instance, your organization’s paid time off policy. Attempt to take more than your annual three weeks of vacation time and you can expect a phone call from someone prior to your trip or as soon as you return. The system in action.
On the other dimension, that colleague of yours who never takes a vacation day? Perhaps he believes his (over) dedication to the work is leading to a promotion that will validate his years of a beachless trudge. His behavior reflects his beliefs.
In practice, it’s difficult to separate beliefs, behaviors, and systems. There’s interplay and influence each dimension has on the others.
Beliefs guide behaviors at the individual level. Systems guide behaviors on a broader scale. Ignore them at your peril. Use them to your advantage.