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LA 056: Leverage the Power of Habit to Sustain Change

AdvantEdge T4 Podcast: Behavioural Neuroscience to UnStuck Your True Potential in Expert Leadership
2017-04-22
26:26
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Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes (Turn and face the strange) Ch-ch-changes Don't want to be a richer man Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes (Turn and face the strange) Ch-ch-changes Just gonna have to be a different man Time may change me But I can't trace timeDavid Bowie What do you do when you want to change? Whether you want to change yourself or bring about change in others or your organisation. Change is difficult and sustaining change more so. To do so, we want to leverage the awesome power that is in every one of us, and that is the power of habit. Nobody likes to change Asking someone to change is fraught with difficulties. Oftentimes, we forget that as leaders and influencers we are encouraging people to change. If everything was meant to remain in the status quo, there would be no need for leadership or influence! And our brains prefer the status quo. It is known and your brain has done a fantastic job of keeping everything in this environment in the right balance to keep you alive and thriving. Change disrupts that status quo, however small that change may appear to you, to someone else it will be uncomfortable and may even be frightening. Turn and face the strange Change is uncomfortable and strange. Even the smallest change in the status quo is uncomfortable. We've gotten used to a certain way of doing things. A couple of weeks ago I was enjoying the delights of Positano, Italy. It is a truly beautiful town clinging onto the mountainside that plunges into the azure Mediterranean Sea. Positano from the Path of the Gods view Our apartment was perched high above the town and the view was truly spectacular. We had a simple choice in the morning to get into Positano town. The narrow road into town wound around the mountain with hairpin twists and turns for several miles or we could walk down the steps and be on the Grande Spagio within 700 metres. We went fully aware and ready for the steps. We had even been certain to get in "step" shape by forgoing elevators and escalators in Singapore. Even finding our very few hills and crazily to onlookers, climbing straight up and down. When we reached the beach area, thigh muscles began a little protest as we supped a welcome macchiato. At least they know how to make good coffee in this country! It hadn't been especially difficult to climb down those steps. Probably a little more effortful than the 87 floors as measured by my watch but it was uncomfortable. The 700m "walk" down to the Grand Spagio My body simply is not used to climbing up or down so many steps. Not when you live in an almost hill less island. Could I get used to it? Sure. But it would take time. How long before it becomes comfortable? Well, after a week of much walking and many more steps I was finding it to feel "normal". Had I not persevered, it would have taken much longer. And the same is true for any change in anything that we do. From a simple thing like crossing your arms in the opposite way to usual to re-organising your company: the change causes discomfort. Until it becomes the new way of doing things around here. That's the way we do things around here The biggest issue in making change happen inside organisations is: "That's not the way we do things around her." The entrenched Mr or Ms Jobsworth who feel threatened by change either because it might undermine their position, or show them up in some way. For a lot of "obstacles" whom I have had the pleasure of working with, the underlying concern about change was that they would get found out (for being less than capable in their current role, let alone any new role!) Many more people than you can imagine harbour a secret and limiting belief that they are not good enough. For a very few, it may be true, but for most, it's just humility taken too far (and usually initiated by bad parenting or poor teachers in the past.) Whatever the cause of the fear to change, if you want to sustain a change, accept that most people are not just uncomfortable with change, they genuinely

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