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Five behaviors

I support organizations going through change. Often, the people I work with don’t change as quickly or smoothly as I would like, so I am easily frustrated. It is unfair to them; although the business, organization or market conditions may dictate the need for change, it is not obvious to the people why and how they need to change; what should to start or stop doing. Often, individuals are stuck in habits, tasks and chores that have not followed the desire for change yet. So I should be more empathetic and mindful of their situation.

So I am adopting a behavior change trick suggested by Jennifer Sertl, a recognized expert in this field (; @jennifersertl). She told me to write down five current behaviors I saw with people in the organization, and then for each what I would see if people were moving in the desired direction. Not if they are already there, but on their way. It helped me tremendously to take more distance, steer more softly and empathetically departing from their point of view, recognize the beauty in their signs of progress and stop responding from frustration.

Just doing nothing

It’s one of those last summer Saturdays: the sun is out and I am sitting in the yard enjoying doing nothing. Well, not entirely nothing: I am thinking back about the soccer match this morning when I was a proud parent because my son scored. For the rest I felt totally “inert”. It reminded me of a business discussion we had earlier this week, about inertia. Inertia means that people don’t act. Inertia is a common concept in telecom and utility markets (“gas water licht”). It is not an appreciated concept in market research. I remembered a particular instance where a study showed that none of the tested promotions would make a difference; our participants wouldn’t switch contracts regardless of what our client could do to make them. We panicked, because clients don’t like to hear that. But then the panic subsided and we thought “well, perhaps our participants think that the promotions are not good enough and actively choose not to act upon them.” Or they did just like I do this afternoon: just sit back, relax and do nothing.