We all resist change to a certain degree. That’s because it is unfamiliar, the results are uncertain, and it takes extra effort. The more massive the change, the more difficult it is to effect…in our personal as well as our professional lives. That is why there is a new way to think about organizational change—as a continuous series of small improvements rather than a radical, swift organizational transformation.
Change need not be catastrophic. In fact, huge change can be counterproductive and does not jibe with what we now know about human behavior. Organizations would be wise to consider how habits are truly broken and how behavior is effectively changed for the long-term.
The slower process should be well-known to anyone who has tried to break a bad habit or improve their health. Behavioral experts advise setting small goals…tackle little incremental improvements, one at a time.
Consider the Weight Watchers diet program. It ranked #1 in Best Weight-Loss Diets by U.S. News in 2016. Based on solid nutrition, Weight Watchers does not promise rapid loss. Instead, their plan promises steady weight loss over time. Their dieters develop healthier eating habits for long-term success. The food plan guides program participants step-by-step on a regime that is satisfying, energizing and nutritious. They do not provide a list of taboos. In fact you can eat whatever you want as long as you adhere to the daily “points” target. It works. Sure, you might be able to lose weight faster on a fad diet but how long will it stay off and what did you learn about maintaining better health and don’t you still crave the forbidden treats?
If you apply the same principles to organizational change, it would look something like this:
Then you might train them in how to listen for the underlying problem and ask discovery questions that show real interest in finding a solution. A third improvement might be in their “close”…checking to see that the problem was solved to the customer’s satisfaction. Bit by bit, your reps will link the experience of their behavior changes to a real sense of satisfaction with each customer interaction. Their new manners will, over time, become a habit.
The key is to make even the big overall changes easier to effect by making small organizational changes over time.
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