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).
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.