Ellen Weber, of Brain Based Business, covers
another reason people might “resist” change in her post: When
Workers Refuse to Act on Great Change Ideas – It’s a Brain Thing.
“When the brain registers
an idea it goes into the short term or working memory. Think of your working
memory as a fine wine glass where new wine is poured daily…
Since only a few ounces of wine fit into your wine glass…each time you
pour in new ideas or actions that are unrelated to the old ones there, the
older ones are replaced.”
“After time, a well reinforced plan or idea will make
its way to your brain’s basal ganglia
which stores your many routines – or things you do with little effort.”
So, how do we facilitate
the movement of ideas from working memory to routine memory?
“Your brain kicks into
gear for lasting changes when ideas move
into actions and then into rewards
for excellence”. [Emphasis added]
Interestingly, here are a
few tried and true methods for structuring a successful change effort that completely
support Ellen’s points:
- Create an internal marketing plan as well as a properly executed communication plan – both of which repeatedly expose the organization to new concepts, tactics, and expected results from varying perspectives.
- Cut a long-term plan into multiple short-term objectives. Allowing people to experience frequent success (even on a smaller scale) will help build momentum and reinforce change objectives (and success is its own reward!).
- If a change in tools or processes is required, train participants as closely to implementation as possible. People trained weeks before they need to actually do something differently will not have as much success.
- Formally, informally, publicly and privately reward the right behavior! Align formal incentives. Offer praise. Create recognition forums.
Do you have any more
suggestions or thoughts on the brain’s role in successful change?