Ten Strategies To Change Behaviour

Most of us want to change a behaviour in ourselves or people in our sphere of influence.  We have all talked about change and often do not take enough action to make it real.  Morten T. Hansen’s article in the Harvard Business Review list 10 approaches that work according to his research.

1. Embrace the power of one. One company I worked with posted 8 values and 12 competencies they wanted employees to practice. The result: Nothing changed. When you have 20 priorities, you have none. Research on multi-tasking reveals that we’re not good at it. Focus on one behavior to change at a time. Sequence the change of more than one behavior.

2. Make it sticky.

3. Paint a vivid picture. When celebrity chef Jamie Oliver wanted to change the eating habits of kids at a U.S. school, he got their attention with a single, disgusting image: A truckload of pure animal fat (see photo).

Jamie Oliver, fat - HBR

When Oliver taught an obese kid to cook, he showed how cooking can be “cool” — walking with head up, shoulders back, and a swagger while preparing food. This gave the boy a positive image he could relate to. As Herminia Ibarra outlines in her book Working Identity, imagining new selves can be a powerful force for change. Use stories, metaphors, pictures, and physical objects to paint an ugly image of “where we are now” and a better vision of a glorious new state. This taps into people’s emotions, a forceful lever for (or against) change.

4. Activate peer pressure.

5. Mobilize the crowd.

6. Tweak the situation.

7. Subtract, not just add.

8. Dare to link to carrots and sticks (and follow through). 

9. Teach and coach well.

10. Hire and fire based on behaviors.

Read the full article “Ten Ways to Get People to Change -” by  Morten T. Hansen in the Harvard Business Review.

Power Poses – Feel More Confident Now

Can the way you hold your body or move, have measurable affects on how you feel?  Absolutely and Dr. Amy Cuddy has research to back it up.  Dr. Cuddy is social psychologist, teaches at the Harvard Business School, and studies our perceptions of others and how others influence us.

Fake it until you make it works and there is evidence to back it up as a useful strategy (for more details see “Power Postures Can Make You Feel More Powerful” (WIRED Science, May 15, 2012.)

The first video is a five minute overview and the second video is a 17 minute presentation about the idea that we can change our feelings about our own status by changing the positions of our bodies.


What do you think?

[Featured image courtesy of Flickr: Poptech]