Change or die: creating new habits
A quick post in the middle of our publication of “The 7 habits” series (see elsewhere in this blog) brings to your attention a really good article (albeit slightly rambling) on change and making it happen – that is: changing habits. It begins by discussing how people with life-threatening illnesses (such as heart disease) seldom really change their lifestyle even when they know it could kill them.
Why? Because changing people’s behaviours means talking to their feelings in a way that resonates with their thinking, fits inside their “frame of reference” and evokes positive experiences. So, for instance, do not say “if you do not stop doing this you are going to die”; rather say “if you do this you will lead a more joyful life”!
The lessons are as valid for organisations as they are for individuals – and that is why the most successful change efforts appeal to positive emotions – Steve Jobs and Louis Gerstner demonstrating two examples. As importantly, these efforts must result in changed habits. We know this is not easy, but latest neuroscience thinking says that we can increase the “plasticity” of our brains which is what allows for changed behaviours. Put simply: you can teach an old dog new tricks. The article goes further to explain how we can increase our brains plasticity by learning something new that requires exercising the brain, such as learning to speak a foreign language or learning to play a musical instrument.