Problem: Success isn’t possible without changing the day-to-day behavior of people throughout the company. But changing behavior is hard, even for individuals, and even when new habits can mean the difference between life and death. How can Mike change the way thousands of people at his company think and behave every day? What about changing the way a whole organization behaves? The consistently poor track record in this area tells us it’s a challenging aspiration at best.
Why many leadership efforts and organizational change initiatives fall flat.
Kindly read the article: by David Rock and Jeffrey Schwartz at .
Breakthroughs in brain research explain how to make organizational transformation succeed.
During the last two decades, scientists have gained a new, far more accurate view of human nature and behavior change because of the integration of psychology (the study of the human mind and human behavior) and neuroscience (the study of the anatomy and physiology of the brain).
Managers who understand the recent breakthroughs in cognitive science can lead and influence mindful change: organizational transformation that takes into account the physiological nature of the brain, and the ways in which it predisposes people to resist some forms of leadership and accept others. This does not imply that management — of change or anything else — is a science. There is a great deal of art and craft in it. But several conclusions about organizational change can be drawn that make the art and craft far more effective. These conclusions would have been considered counterintuitive or downright wrong only a few years ago. For example:
- Change is pain. Organizational change is unexpectedly difficult because it provokes sensations of physiological discomfort.
- Behaviorism doesn’t work. Change efforts based on incentive and threat (the carrot and the stick) rarely succeed in the long run.
- Humanism is overrated. In practice, the conventional empathic approach of connection and persuasion doesn’t sufficiently engage people.
- Focus is power. The act of paying attention creates chemical and physical changes in the brain.
- Expectation shapes reality. People’s preconceptions have a significant impact on what they perceive.
- Attention density shapes identity. Repeated, purposeful, and focused attention can lead to long-lasting personal evolution.
As Peter F. Drucker said, “We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.” In the knowledge economy, where people are being paid to think, and with constant change, there is more pressure than ever to improve how we learn. Perhaps these findings about the brain can start to pull back the curtain on a new world of productivity improvement: in our ability to bring about positive, lasting change in ourselves, in our families, in our workplaces, and in society itself.
~AJAY SINGH NIRANJAN
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