Preparing People for Change
Change can seem frightening. So it’s not uncommon for individuals—and organizations—to resist new ideas and default to justifying their current behaviors. However, a new study suggests that focusing on important values is a less threatening way to initiate new behaviors.
Researchers used brain scanning to observe how people respond when given advice about positive behavioral change (e.g. increased exercise). Before being given the advice, half the group was given a self-affirmation exercise involving thinking about a value important to them. The hope was that these kinds of thoughts would trigger activity in the part of the prefrontal cortex responsible for processing information about ourselves. Then each participant was tracked to determine whether or not they heeded the advice.
The result: Those primed with self-affirming thoughts not only displayed a lot more activity in this part of the brain, but also engaged in actual behavioral change in the following month. The control group showed no changes.
We believe priming for change with shared values can be incredibly valuable in an organization. Leaders can inspire others to embrace change by affirming the long-term goals of their organization and emphasizing the ultimate good that can be accomplished.
We want to hear: How have you been successful in initiating change—either on a personal or organizational level? What over-arching values have helped you navigate change? Join the conversation and click "comments" on our Community of Practice Forum.
4/8/2015 06:44:38 am
Thank you so much. I passed this on to my engineer boyfriend and it really resonated with him too. This is how I live and function and it really helps me with my work day and life. I love your work. I always forward a lot of what you send me to my friends and coworkers. I usually get a happy response back from people. Thank you.
4/8/2015 06:55:30 am
Great to hear this Shar! It is reinforcing to hear that these practice have resonated with your life and work. Thanks for passing our Communication Capsules on to others!
4/14/2015 08:50:17 am
I think that the phrase or quote that "people are fearful of change" is a copout or way to hide employer who exhibit or inact unlawful changes that are oftentimes perceived by the employee as unethical. Good employees leave jobs because of bad managers that refuse to be Fair, Honest or have Integrity. Most companies are losing employees because of budget cuts or greed....Not wanting to pay employees for quality work....but willing to pay themselves higher wages at the expense of senior or peers whom they fire or try to demote. Look at the employment law cases since 2009 they have increased.
4/15/2015 06:57:32 am
Definitely get the idea that "fear of change" can be a cop out -- and that good employees often leave for the reasons you state, Karen. I also know that there are instances of people who are so comfortable in doing what they have always done, the way they have always done it, that it's a serous challenge implementing a "new" way. Have you seen that too?
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