Make Change Easier Tools and Resources
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Do you choose ‘PUSH’ or ‘PULL’ when it comes to changing someone’s mind?
"How well are you using PULL strategies to help you improve your business results?"
pushing for individual, organisational and social change within your business
START pulling people toward the change you seek for the success of your business
Business owners are driven to improve their results and the enjoyment and pride of running their business.
As a result they push for change, they push for innovation, they push for new ideas and drive others to adopt these new ideas.
Then they get frustrated, disappointed and demoralised when they fail to get the buy-in for the change they seek.
“How come customers and team members won’t do what’s so obviously in their best interests?!”
Because they’re pushing when they should be pulling.
This question prompts you to seek out the roadblocks that are stopping, hindering or slowing down the change you seek in your business.
The one ‘BREAKTHROUGH QUESTION’ you must ask to help yourself…
Ask yourself, your leadership team and all your team members this one question and you’ll get a few quizzical looks.
But only when you fully appreciate the difference between PULL and PUSH approaches to seeking the change you want, will you have the business breakthrough you seek.
If you accept that CHANGE is essential to business success then you also accept that you, as a business manager, are responsible for ensuring the change happens. Whether the change you seek is in sales, marketing, operations, finance, or any other aspect of your business, your business success depends on your ability to get your team, or your customers, or your suppliers to buy-in.
So ask yourself this question:
"How well are you using PULL strategies to help you improve your business results?"
A summer camp leads to peace
There is nothing remarkable about a group of teenagers spending 3 weeks together at a lakeside summer camp. That is until you realise that those teenagers are a mix of Egyptian, Israeli and Palestinian teenagers, specifically selected by their governments.
‘Seeds of Peace’ as the camp is known has these teens spend a few weeks together at a lakeside retreat in Southern Maine.
In addition to living in bunks, eating in mess halls and engaging in all the normal paces of summer camp life, campers participate in dialogue sessions attempting to talk through their differences.
Before the inception of this camp there had been no real positive interaction between these countries for generations.
The teenagers are chosen to go to the camp by their respective governments as they feel they best represent their groups.
The teenagers are a mix of children from settlements, some with more orthadox thinking and religious views and some being true militant believers who are unshakable in their opinions.
The ‘Seeds of Peace’ camp is significantly responsible for being the catalyst for attitude change between two opposing cultures.
A change leading to the first face-to-face agreement between the Israeli government and the Palestine Liberation Organisation in 1993.
Seeds of Peace doesn’t push Palestinians to be friends with Israelis or list reasons why one side should trust the other more, they don’t make campers sit through endless lectures or implore them to do whats ‘right’. Instead, they identify the key barriers preventing change and try to ease them.
However, over the 3 weeks of the camp, something remarkable happens, the teenagers participate in various activities and are allowed to interact with whoever they want.
They sleep in mixed cabins, so Arabs bunk with Israelis, they eat dinner together, they have art classes together, they rock climb together, they participate in group activities and challenges together.
And over the course of 3 weeks something fascinating happens – they change…
They stop judging people at the camp by their nationality and start judging them individually, as people.
The researchers found that the camp changed minds and attitudes.
They started to like and trust each other as people!
The one concern was that when these teenagers left the camp the changes and feelings would be short-lived…Would they return to their conflict-torn homeland and revert back to how things were before?
But this did not happen. Even a year after the camp teenagers still felt more positive about the other group than they had before the visited the camp.
Bill Clinton believed ‘These summer campers are the future of the peace process’.
Your 5-stage PULL strategies checklist
Below you’ll find a summary of Jonah Berger’s 5 REDUCE pull strategies.
But rather than re-invent the wheel on how you apply this here’s a link to Berger’s own checklist for putting REDUCE to work on a change you want in your business or home life.
This checklist and your ability to make these ‘change management’ insights work for you will be massively enhanced by reading Berger’s remarkable book The Catalyst – How to change anyone’s mind by Jonah Berger – or consuming the video resources at the end of these tools.
Berger’s 5 REDUCE pull strategies
When pushed, people push back. So rather than telling people what to do, or trying to persuade, catalysts encourage people to convince themselves.
Rather than forcing campers toward it, Seeds of Peace lay out a series of exercises and experiences that let campers pick their own path to changing their views.
People are attached to the status quo. To ease this endowment, catalysts expose the costs of inaction and help people realise that doing nothing isn’t as costless as it seems.
One Seeds of Peace challenge is a high-rope course.
Campers are paired up, one is blindfolded and has to climb a tall telephone pole and follow guide ropes thirty feet above the ground. Fail to trust each other so high up and a fall is happening (the cost of inaction).
Can you show the loss of profits and job security from not adopting a new technology?
Or get the team to compare and contrast different technologies so they see for themselves the hidden costs of staying the same?
When opposing views are too extreme, people tend to disregard anything that is said. Two perspectives that are too far away are instantly and wholeheartedly rejected. Instead of making a big ask right away, Seeds of Peace work to shrink the distance.
Rather than expecting opposing sides to be friends on day one, the camp starts by asking for less. Just sleep in the same cabin. Eat at the same table.
Engage people in the same activities and begin a dialogue. These activities help switch the field and find an unsticking point that engages both sides. How do you get customers or your team to take a small step towards the change you seek?
What if some of the (more enthusiastic) team assess the new tech you want to adopt? Introducing the new tech gradually and letting your team ‘play’ with the tech, without forcing them to adopt it blindly, will help them to feel like it’s their decision to fold it into their systems because they can see the benefits.
Perhaps when bringing in a new team member, bring them in gradually to get people used to the changes, pulling them towards the changes you seek.
Seeds of doubt slow the winds of change.
To get people to un-pause, catalysts alleviate uncertainty. Easier to try, means more likely to buy.
Seeds of Peace lower the up-front personal cost, allowing people who would normally fear one another to interact in a safe, neutral environment, they drive discovery.
They don’t sit back and hope the two sides interact; they create situations where interactions happen naturally. And the fact that the camp lasts for only a few short weeks makes things reversible (lowers perceived risk).
Worst case, campers will be back to their regular lives soon.
Supermarkets lay a new cheese on the counter top to tempt you to try a new Italian hard cheese. Online stores make postage free for goods and returns. Test driving a car is essential for car sales.
Some things need more proof. Catalysts find corroborating evidence, using multiple sources to help overcome the translation problem.
By giving campers multiple interactions with different group members, they provide corroborating evidence.
Even if a Palestinian girl and an Israeli girl become friends, it’s easy for each to see the other as unique – “she’s not like those other Israelis/Palestinians. She’s different.” – and so trust towards each other doesn’t really change.
But when each has a positive interaction with multiple Israelis and multiple Palestinians, it’s harder not to shift attitudes toward them as a group. Meaning that they’re much more likely to trust other Israelis/Palestinians they meet in the future.
Drug rehabilitation interventions have the drug user meet all the people they care about at the same time, with all of them sharing the emotional and physical costs they are experiencing.
What can you do to have multiple sources of evidence show up at the same time?
Three PULL strategies to help you deal with covid-19
Because you want to grow your revenues, profits or reduce the hassle factor and stress of running your business you want your people to improve their decision-making and actions. In short you want them to change their behaviour.
So you tell them what you want, tell them what to do differently and they do it right?
Telling people what to do mostly backfires.
Directives, orders, instructions aren’t particularly effective in driving sustained behaviour change. Because we all like to feel as if we are in control of our choices, we resist the directives we get.
When others push us to make decisions, we don’t just go along, we push back against the persuasive attempt.
“Why did I buy that product, use that service, or take that action?”
“Because I wanted to!”
In a Harvard Business Review article – https://hbr.org/2020/04/how-to-persuade-people-to-change-their-behavior – Jonah Berger, author of ‘Catalyst - How To Change Anyone’s Mind’ challenges the thinking behind the ‘directive’ led approach to influencing peoples’ behaviour during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Berger suggests that if and when the authorities issue demands like: “Don’t go out,” “Stay 2m apart,” “Wash your hands,” and “Wear face masks.” we resist.
Can you think of a time when you just didn’t want to follow the rules!? That’s your innate need for autonomy and control bubbling to the surface.
Our natural, built-in, anti-persuasion radars raise our defenses, so we avoid or ignore the message or, even worse, counter-argue and conjure up all the reasons why we’ll ignore their instructions. Our autonomy and sense of control is threatened and we resist, we push back.
As a result, during the pandemic, we get together with a friend, shopped more than once a week, didn’t wear a mask every time. We avoided doing what they suggested because we didn’t want to feel like someone else was controlling us.
So if telling people what to do about Covid doesn’t work, what does?
Rather than trying to persuade people, get them to persuade themselves is often more effective.
Here are three ways Berger suggests would deliver a more sustainable change in behaviour:
Highlight a gap
Point out a disconnect between what they might recommend for others versus what they do themselves.
Take staying at home. For young people who might resist, ask what they would suggest their elderly Grandma do. Would they want them out, shopping, interacting with possibly infected people? If not, why do they think it’s safe for them to do so?
Like Berger suggests in his book and the HBR article:
“People strive for internal consistency. They want their attitudes and actions to line up. Highlighting misalignment encourages them to resolve the disconnect.
“Health officials in Thailand used this approach in an anti-smoking campaign. Rather than telling smokers their habit was bad, they had little kids come up to smokers on the street and ask them for a light. Not surprisingly, the smokers told the kids no. Many even lectured the little boys and girls about the dangers of smoking. But before turning to walk away, the kids handed the smokers a note that said, “You worry about me … But why not about yourself?” At the bottom was a toll-free number smokers could call to get help. Calls to that line jumped more than 60% during the campaign.”
Ask questions rather than make statements.
Being so forceful can make people feel (their autonomy is) threatened.
By encouraging people to articulate their opinion, they put a stake in the ground — to admit that those things aren’t good for them. And once they’ve done that, it becomes harder to justify the bad behaviours.
Berger references the pandemic:
“In the case of this crisis, questions like “How bad would it be if your loved ones got sick?” could prove more effective than directives in driving commitment to long-term or intermittent social distancing and vigilant hygiene practices.”
Ask for less
Reduce the size of the ask.
Berger tells a story about a doctor dealing with an obese trucker who was drinking three litres of fizzy pop a day. She wanted to ask him to quit cold turkey, but knew that would probably fail, so she tried something else. She asked him to go from three litres a day to two.
He grumbled, but after a few weeks, was able to make the switch. Then, on the next visit, she asked him to cut down to one litre a day.
Finally, after he was able to do that, only then did she suggest cutting the pop out entirely. The trucker still drinks a can of Mountain Dew once in a while, but he’s lost more than 2 stone.
“Especially in times of crisis, health organizations want big change right away. Everyone should continue to stay at home, by themselves, for two more months. But asks this big often get rejected. They’re so different from what people are doing currently that they fall into what scientists call “the region of rejection” and get ignored.”
When you want change dial down the initial request. Ask for less initially, and then ask for more.
Berger describes more about change strategies in Covid times here
The book and other resources
The Catalyst – How to change anyone’s mind by Jonah Berger - identifies the key barriers to change and how to overcome them. You’ll learn how catalysts change minds in the toughest of situations: how hostage negotiators get people to come out with their hands up and how marketers get new products to catch on, how leaders transform organisational culture and how activists ignite social movements, how substance abuse counselors get addicts to realise they have a problem and how political campaigners change deeply rooted political beliefs.
This book is designed for anyone who wants to catalyse change. It provides a powerful way of thinking and a range of techniques that can lead to extraordinary results. Whether you’re trying to change one person, transform an organisation, or shift the way an entire industry does business, this book will teach you how to become a catalyst for change.
"We've all been frustrated trying to change someone's mind. In this captivating book, Jonah Berger removes that frustration by showing us how to remove the barriers to change. The Catalyst will teach you how to change anything."
--Charles Duhigg, bestselling author of The Power of Habit and Smarter Faster Better
The Catalyst - How to change anyone's mind
Here is Jonah Berger, author of ‘The Catalyst – How to change anyone’s mind’ and a world-renowned expert on change, explaining the science behind why people change and the strategies used to induce change in people.
Here Jonah Berger explains in a little more detail during a question and answer session, how you can mitigate the obstacles and barriers that are in the way of changing someone's mind.
And finally – if you want more detail and have a little more time here is a Speaker, Coach and Consultant Julie Masters hosting a ‘Inside Influence’ Podcast Interview with Jonah Berger about ‘How to change anyone’s mind without having to push…’ Its 46 minutes but if you are serious about real and effective change in your business then it is well worth a listen.https://shows.acast.com/inside-influence/episodes/the-catalyst-how-to-change-anyones-mind-without-having-to-pu
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