Change is hard – behavior change – not so much!

This amazing slide deck on the 10 top mistakes in behavior change from Stanford University’s Persuasive Tech Lab is important both for personal use and managerial use. It reminds of a many of the concepts so skillfully described in Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard. I thought I take a few and try to elaborate questions for managers of people:

1. Relying on will-power for long-term change: I know it happened to me before as a team leader. We sat together, analyzed our past behaviors and agreed we have to change a behavior. “OK”, we said together “Next time, we will just be more aware and do this thing. No excuses”. The problem is, that the behavior we wanted did not go unpracticed because of lack of motivation or a disagreement about its importance. Will-power if not enough. You and your team should ask yourselves: What is the practical way to make sure this will happen assuming we all lack will-power.

2. Attempting big leaps instead of baby changes: I love this one. Many time out of a truthful desire to make an impact, we set a grandiose plan to change everything. Change is hard. It takes time. Creating new habits require emotional strength. People can only focus on so much. Sit with your team and deiced on a gradual plan with milestones. Just like an avalanche – start small in order to finish big. The small things matter – big time.

7. Believing that information leads to action: This one took me a long time to learn and I still struggle with it from time to time. As quoted in The 7 Triggers to Yes: The New Science Behind Influencing People’s Decisions – “We are not thinking machines that feel. We are feeling machines that think”. Just because people are presented with the information does not mean they will change the behavior. You have to pierce through the veil of indifference. Ask yourself – is the problem in my team lack of information? Many times, you will discover they have all the information, they just don’t care enough.



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