Change is a personal choice

Change is an individual choice free
16, Apr 2021
Informal network

:-) or :-( it is up to you!

For over 60 years, researchers have been studying the factors that influence us to say yes to the request for others.

In the increasingly overloaded lives we lead, move than ever, we need shortcuts to guide our decision-making. Transformation has all elements of business transformation touching on so many different sides of business that people need shortcuts and simplify reality to understand and judge. Most transformation programs with dedicated PMO prepare extensive communication and training, and look for a community of ambassadors as change agents. Only, ambassadors are often the usual suspects. But are they the right people to take other along?

There are 6 shortcuts that guide human behavior. Understanding these shortcuts and employing them in an ethical way can significantly increase the chances that someone will consider and support the change.

  • Reciprocity

People feel obliged to give back to others the form of behavior, gift or service that they have received first. In the context of social obligation people are therefore more likely to say yes to those they owe. It also strengthens the connection between people. The key is to be the first one to give and to make sure that what you give is personalized and unexpected. Translated to the context of transformation it can be the mentoring a leader gives in exchange of loyalty.

Did you know that a waiter giving mints with the bill has a higher chance of getting a tip

  • Scarcity

In general, people want more of those things they can have less of. It is not enough simply to tell people about the benefits they’ll gain if they buy your product. You’ll also need to point out what is unique what they stand to lose if they fail to consider your proposal. This is the 'only 2 rooms left' tactic from a booking.com. In the context of transformation, management can use the deadline tactic highlighting the timing of the press release with the announcement of the new value proposition, even though there is still a long way to go.

  • Authority

The idea here is that people follow the lead of credible knowledgeable experts. Science tells us that it is important to signal to others what makes you a credible knowledgeable authority before you make your influence attempt. Surprisingly science tells us it doesn’t matter if the person that introduces you is not connected to you and likely to prosper from the introduction themselves. Also in times of change and uncertainty, the opinion and involvement of experts or colleagues that already went through a similar change are highly valued by colleagues. Therefore it is very important to know who has which expertise and how well that person is connected within the organization.

  • Consistency

People like to be consistent with the things they have previously said or done. It is activated by looking for and asking for small initial commitments that can be made. Look for voluntary, active and public commitments and ideally get those commitments in writing. An example in terms of change is to involve people to help prioritize issues and formulate the criteria new solutions should meet. If then you solve a mentioned issue with a solution that meets the agreed criteria, people will more likely agree with the change. They want to be consistent... Another example is to explicitly ask for people’s openness and commitment to give an experiment the chance to succeed.

  • Likeability

People prefer to say yes to those they like but what causes someone to like a person? There are 3 factors: people that are similar to us, people who pay us compliments, people who corporate on common goals. Here someone’s social network often comes into play; peer colleagues people easily relate to, that are or were part of the same team. Also storytelling is a powerful example of influence because a personal anekdotes or story in general is something people relate to and can remember to pass on the message.

  • Consensus

People will look for actions and behaviors of others to determine their own. So rather than mentioning all the arguments, we can point at what many others are already doing especially many similar others. Early in a transformation project, ask people for a testimonial, and look for well-connected ambassadors for the project. If you understand your organization's inner working, the informal connections people have day-by-day to make work happen, you can use these to stimulate transformation from within.

These provide small practical, often little costly changes that can lead to big differences in your ability to influence and persuade others in an ethical way.

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