In today’s issue, I’m going to talk about ‘culture’ and how it is the crucial aspect of innovation or any type of change.
Too often, an organisation comes up with some great ideas and directs people to implement them.
This approach won’t lead to sustainable change or effective innovation. It will likely result in resentment and regression.
However, there is a better way to enable long-term change using behavioural science.
Unfortunately, most organisations don’t consider the implementation needs and fail to innovate.
“Culture is not innovation. But, innovation is culture” – VB.
Read time: 3minutes 👇
This is how I go about implementing innovation and changing behaviours. I’ll cover:
- Why change is hard.
- 3 change system pillars anyone can follow.
- 6 nudges to move people in the right direction.
Let’s get going!
The Hard Thing About Change
Whether your leading a startup or an existing organisation, often the biggest barrier to implementing innovation is the culture.
This HBR article discusses the definition of culture. For our purposes, I’ll use ‘culture is consistent, observable patterns of behavior in organisations’.
Or in the words of Aristotle, “We are what we repeatedly do.”
Change is hard because of:
- The environment
- Group dynamics – Read this article for tips on high-performing teams
3 Change System Pillars
The switch system created by Chip and Dan Heath is a simple way of thinking about how to help people change their behaviours.
The 3 pillars are:
Change Pillar 1 – Direct the rider.
Usually what appears as resistance is often a lack of clarity. So, provide clarity about what is required and why.
The analytical ‘rider’ wants to focus on problems and can get stuck in that mode of thinking, gathering true but useless information.
Here’s what to do instead:
1) Look for the bright spots.
We are naturally drawn to the problem areas. Find the things that are going well despite the situation and understand why.
2) Script the critical moves.
Clarity dissolves resistance. Too much choice results in decision paralysis.
3) Point to the destination.
Create a near-term goal to indicate where you are headed.
Change Pillar 2 – Motivate the elephant.
When it looks like people are being lazy, it is often exhaustion.
People can only self-control for so long. So, create a desire to change.
Try these approaches:
1) Find the feeling and emotional core.
Often, change leaders think the sequence of change is analyse-think-change, but actually see-feel-change works better.
An often used metaphor for organisational change is the ‘burning platform.’ However, use this with caution and only for short-term, urgent action.
Using metaphors that evoke more positive emotions are likely to work better for thinking and acting over the long-term.
2) Shrink the change.
Lower the bar and provide examples where they are already succeeding.
Making goals meaningful and within reach combined with a focus on the next step works well.
An example is a loyalty card that already has two ‘stamps’ collected and eight remaining, outperforms an empty card of only eight.
3) Grow your people.
It’s important to build an expectation of failure and learning.
So, focus on helping your team to develop a growth mindset. Which in turn will help them align a positive identity to experimentation, failure and change.
Change Pillar 3 – Shape the path.
What looks like a people problem is often a situation problem. So, alter their environment to make it easier to change.
Try these techniques:
1) Tweak the environment.
Look at before, during and after the event for where you can adjust or nudge to encourage better result.
2) Build habits.
Use action triggers. Rather than just setting a goal (I want to achieve x), an action trigger outlines how you will react in a certain situation i.e. in situation y, I will respond by doing z.
This approach passes the control of behaviour to the environment.
3) Rally the herd.
Behaviour is contagious. So, share and communicate how things are progeressing.
Doing so, provides transparency and shows others what to do.
6 Nudges to Move People in the Right Direction
Nudges are a powerful way of helping people to be more mindful of their decisions and encouraging better decisions.
Six common nudges are:
1) The use of defaults like in automatic enrolment.
2) Highlighting social norms to emphasise what most people do.
3) Warning labels such as on cigarette packets.
4) Making better choices more visible and conveniently accessed.
5) Reminders, like SMS for overdue accounts.
6) Pre-commitment tactics which have people already agreeing or on a path to taking action.
The short of it
- Change is hard because of habits, fear, environmental factors and group dynamics.
- To make effective change you need to direct the rider, motivate the elephant and shape the path.
- Use nudges to help people make better decisions.
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Let’s achieve together.
🥇 Twitter Tip of the Week 🥇
People often confuse creativity with innovation.— Vaughan Broderick (@theVBroderick) December 9, 2022
Creativity = process of generating original ideas that have value.
Innovation = implementing creative ideas.
“If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward” -Martin Luther King Jr.