In the eBook section of this site there is truly excellent contribution from the Herdmeister, Mark Earls on strategy and people. In it he reminds us that behaviour determines attitudes more often than attitudes drive behaviour. This is a crucial point and explains why a great deal of strategy, change management and marketing fails to deliver. Because most of us think that in order to get people to change what they do you have to appeal to their hearts and minds, you have to use persuasion. But however persuasive you are it is enormously difficult to get people to change what they do. The most reliable way is to make it impossible for them to do what they normally do. To replace one system with a new system. It took folks older than me a long time to use emails, it’s taken me a long time to convert to whatsapp. I’ve only done so because I was finding I just couldn’t get some people to respond if I didn’t. Now I love it (although I still love emails and even the occasional letter.) Let’s move it to the ‘workplace’. It was a revolution in Business Change Management when they ditched their old process:-
Communicate the need for change
Ask people to change what they do
Reinforce this with new processes and systems
100% the wrong way round. Introduce a new process or system so people have to change what they do. This changes their attitudes, then you explain why.
Now think about a whole bunch of things that some people knew all about, things they knew made sense, but even so were reluctant to convert. Unwilling to change their behaviour. “Oh, yes I know I should but….”
Video conference more and travel less
Cook more food, eat less processed food
Shop more on-line
This is a cliched list and I’m not arguing their merits nor denying that many people were way ahead of this before lockdown. But many will see the merits in some or all of these and will admit that prior to lock down they’d been luddites. Lock down forced the change, using the new platforms or systems reinforced the behaviour and has changed attitudes. Like Nike told us – we just did it.
If you have not read Mark Earls eBook do so, it might change what you think and do.