The new edition (May issue – here) of Fast Company has an interesting article on change. The number is frightening – 90% of people resist change – even if it’s a matter of life or death. That number is the number of people that underwent coronary-artery bypass grafting who maintained a changed diet 2 years after the surgery. But that same number gets confirmed in other cases as well.
There are some really interesting lessons in the article – one being that using “facts” to convince somebody to change rarely works. What needs to change is the frame in which those facts are being evaluated. For example – most people think of a company as an army, with hierarchies, orders coming from the top, etc. If people were to have the frame of a company as a family they would know very different ways of working together. In order to change someone frame’s, you need a very simple emotional story that goes way beyond the facts –and you need to be able to evoke positive experiences.
Another interesting lesson for me as a marketer is that joy motivates people more than fear.
Research also discovered that people are more likely to change if the change is radical rather than incremental. That reminded me of some research at MIT (Wanda Orlikowski) that came to similar conclusions – that change (and innovation) in a company was more likely to happen if there was an unexpected disruptive change (i.e., an earthquake, a fire), than if there was not. I am on the road now but will look for that study when I am back.