“If you are involved with change management, or tasked with small to large-scale type transformations, the Heath brothers’ framework is another great tool to add to your toolbox. For a simple introduction when it comes to starting on a change path, one must reach to both the emotional and rational sides, and clear the way. The emotional side is referred to as the elephant, and the rational as the rider. These two systems are at work all the times in our brain, independently.
You, someone, or your team must start to act differently for things to start to change. The framework is simple: direct the rider, motivate the elephant, and shape the path.
In directing the rider, start by finding the bright spots; successful efforts worth emulating. The rider has a terrible weakness: the tendency to spins his wheels. To help alleviate big, complex problem analysis the researches are clear: there is a clear asymmetry between the scale of the problem and the scale of the solution. Big problem, small solution - or moving from archeological problem solving to a bright spot evangelizing approach. Second, then script the critical moves to help everyone move away from decision paralysis - the more choices you have, the more exhausted the rider gets, and the more chances you have to go back to the ‘default path’. In short, to spark movement in a new direction, have a crystal direction. As it will dissolves resistance. Script the critical moves, the beginning, the end, and think in terms of specific behaviors. Lastly, point to the destination. Simply put, have a vivid postcard with a picture of the near term future. Forget about SMART goals, your postcard will hit the rider (where you are going) and the elephant (why the journey is worthwhile). At this stage, rationalization is your enemy – have a clear B&W goal that includes behaviors scripting.
In motivating the elephant, you must find the feeling to create that spark; see-feel-change as opposed to analyze-think-change is your approach to use. Remember, it is the emotion that motivates the elephant. One way to do this is to create a sense of urgency, burning platform, crisis. Second, shrink the change into small enough chunks where you know it will not spook the elephant; make people feel they are closer to the finish line than they would otherwise think, it then result in limiting their time investment with a clear start and end in mind, and it help demystify the journey. This will get the elephant moving. Lastly, grow your people. People tend to make choices on either consequences or identity models. The stronger model is the identity one; and to reach full potential, do it in a growth mindset as it is a buffer against defeatism.
Lastly and in shaping the path, you start by tweaking then environment. Most of the time it isn’t a people problem, but a situation problem (or situational forces). Simple, when the situation change, the behavior change. Then you build habits. To build habits, set an action trigger (when, where) when you have a plan or the team presents you with one. Did you know a simple checklist combine both elements (tweaking the environment, building habits)? Finally, rally the herd. Remind yourself that behaviors are contagious: peer pressure, perceptions are keys to create success. By its nature, an elephant always look for the herd and get cues on how to behave. To change the culture, leverage the power of the reformers; give them the space, and expect ‘us vs. them’; you need to permit this tension as it is necessary.
Once everything is moving in the right direction, keep the switch going. Simply put, recognize and celebrate that first step. Once the change start, it will feed on itself like the snowball effect. Then the exposure effect will happen – the more you are exposed to something, the more you like it. ”