When change doesn’t require change: three lessons from IDEO


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Initiating change is easy if you don’t need it to last; initiating change that will stand the test of time, now that’s difficult!

So says Holly Kretschmar of IDEO in a great video, Taking the change out of behavior change.

There is plenty of research to show that compliance-based change creates its own resistance, and gets people to comply only as long as there is some negative consequence for not following new actions.

That’s why you can’t force employees to be more customer focused if your primary tools are compliance, threats or guilt. They won’t disagree with the vision; they just won’t sustain new behavior over time when faced with other options.

IDEO, the company that thinks about design of not just products, but also service experience and how we engage with each other, offers up a nice summary of three drivers of change. If you read the literature of organization development, then this won’t be new, but you will be impressed with the simplicity of their view.

1. Speak joy, not fear. Scare tactics have a limited shelf life, whereas positive emotions create a pull toward something desirable. The key is to ask yourself what new behaviors you can put a spotlight on.

2. Use judo. Like judo, leverage the energy and momentum toward the new goal. A great example is Nintendo‘s Wii Fit, which has replaced the guilt not exercising with the joy of play and movement.

3. Create the crowd. Our social environment exerts a powerful impact on everyday decision making. So enlist respected people to model the desired change; make it cool and easy to be like those we admire. Let the buzz help pull others along.

When it comes down to it, people don’t want to change; they also don’t want to keep doing what they are doing today. What they really want is to achieve their goals.

Connect your products, tools or services to their goals and you won’t have to manage change; you’ll just have to manage the demand for the services you offer!

Where have you seen employees discover ‘the joy’ of being customer-centric and where have you seen customer-centricity managed by fear? How different do those two situations look to you?

BestCustomerConnection, by Marc Sokol

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Marc Sokol
A psychologist with an eye for the ways organizational dynamics make it possible or impossible to delight customers, I see the world from the eyes of customers, employees and leaders who strive to transform customer experience.


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