By: Mary Beth McEuen
Change is hard, but not really as hard as we make it. The problem is that too many of our change approaches are rooted in spock-like rationality. And, here is the deal …. humans are just not spock-like rational beings. We are more complex than that. We are more mysterious than that.
There is a plethora of really interesting studies and approaches emerging that take into account a more complete picture of human beings and what inspires them, drives them, motivates them.
I’d lke to debunk the myth that humans don’t like change. What they don’t like is change that is forced upon them. Some may call this control-based change approaches. There is a different way. Let’s call it commitment-based change approaches. This different way is built on different principles which include:
- All humans are simultaneously emotional and rational.
- All humans are biologically wired to adapt in a social setting.
- All humans are driven by multiple motivators (Check out Paul Lawrence’ new book – Driven to Lead. Amazing).
Let’s just explore the first of these three principles. The authors of Switch, Chip Health and Dan Health, capture this principle very well.
“The brain has two independent systems at work at all times. There is the emotional side. It’s the part of you that is instinctive, that feels pain and pleasure. There’s the rational side, also known as the reflective or conscious system. It’s the part of you that deliberates and analyzes and looks into the future (Switch, page 6).”
Change approaches that take into account both the rational and emotional systems in the human brain work better. Perhaps we think of this as a “science and art” approach. A scientific approach feeds the rational mind the clarity that it seeks by offering a crystal clear direction with evidence.A art approachfeeds the emotional mind the inspiration and meaning that it seeks by tapping innate motivators around status, bonding, and identification with a cause that is bigger than oneself … something that is worth pursuing with fervor and passion.
Reflect on your own best experience of change … whether that was a personal change, a professional change or an organizational/societal change. Where both your emotional and rational minds engaged?