What are you afraid of?

Courage is being scared to death…and saddling up anyway.  ~John Wayne Courage isn’t an absence of fear. It’s doing what you are afraid to do. It’s having the power to let go of the familiar and forge ahead into new territory. ~John Maxwell One of the scariest things I’ve ever done was my very first public talk. Not skydiving. Not scuba diving. Not travelling around China. Public speaking (which is turns out is near the top of […] Read more »

Running away versus running towards

You Can't Iterate on a Burning Platform, Scrivle

The best in art and life comes from a center –  something urgent and powerful, an idea or emotion that insists on its being. From that insistence, a shape emerges and creates its structure out of passion. If you begin with a structure, you have to make up the passion, and that’s very hard to do. Roger Rosenblatt Burning platforms are effective at getting people to act because they trigger strong emotions. And emotions get […] Read more »

Psychology of change

Change management is in need of a transformation through an improved understanding of how humans interpret their environment and choose to act. The Inconvenient Truth About Change Management Ever made this resolution: “I’m going to keep my email inbox empty.” Were you successful? I wasn’t. Why is change so hard? Because we’re not Econs, a term the authors of Nudge coined to portray the flawed thinking behind how people think. Econs are people who can think like Einstein, […] Read more »

What story does your approach to change tell?

The approach you take to a change initiative such as the deployment of enterprise software tells a story to those affected. Consider what each of these comments reveals:  “If we didn’t do it quick enough, the person in charge of the project would send email to their boss, bosses’ boss, up to the CEO… ‘Are you kidding us? You really cc’d that to the CEO?’” “We were never told what it is for and why […] Read more »

What motivates people at work

Would your organization be more successful if your employees were more obedient? Or, would you be more successful if your employees were more artistic, motivated, connected, aware, passionate, and genuine? Seth Godin, Linchpin Try asking people in your organization: “Why does this organization exist… why do you come to work each day?” or “Why does this change initiative matter?” If you get a diverse set of answers such as “to make money” “because I need […] Read more »

Redirecting personal and organizational narratives

People don’t believe what you tell them. They rarely believe what you show them. They often believe what their friends tell them. They always believe what they tell themselves. What leaders do: they give people stories they can tell themselves. Stories about the future and about change. Seth Godin As I mentioned in story editing techniques for behavior change, story editing is a set of techniques for redirecting people’s narratives about themselves, others, and the […] Read more »

Story editing leads to behavior change

Not only do we need to view a problem through other people’s eyes, we can also change the way they view it with relatively simple interventions. Even if self-views are often embedded in years of family dynamics, personal relationships, and cultural forces.  Kurt Lewin Though it was more than 20 years ago, I still recall when Claude Jutra, a well-known Quebec film director, drowned himself after being diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. This weekend I […] Read more »

Technology is rational, predictable, controllable. People aren’t.

This situation reminds me of those old movies we’ve all seen of people trying to fly in machines before the airplane was invented: machines that had flapping wings; machines that had big, circular, umbrella-like contraptions that moved up and down; machines that had four sets of wings, none of which was large enough to generate sufficient life… It didn’t matter how hard the pilots tried. It didn’t matter how imaginative or clever they were. It […] Read more »

Applying the Switch framework to two change efforts

In  to succeed with change, tap into the power of the mind I summarized my takeaways from Switch. In this post, I’ll try applying the Switch framework to two very different types of change efforts. The first is a personal change effort many of us struggle with. The second is an organizational change effort. Losing weight Direct the rider: When it comes to losing weight, convincing the rider isn’t usually a problem. Rationally, we know being […] Read more »

To succeed with change, tap into the power of the mind

Ultimately, all change efforts boil down to the same mission: can you get people to start behaving in a new way? For individual’s behavior to change, you’ve got to influence not only their environment but their hearts and minds. – Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, Chip & Dan Heath In the past couple of years I’ve read widely in the area of behavioral economics.  Insights from this field can be applied […] Read more »