For leaders who want to persuade teams to accept new processes, the answer may be in the kitchen.
In a study last year of 200 kitchens, Cornell University researchers found that those who left snack food and soft drinks out in the open were an average of 20 pounds heavier than their neighbors who kept only fresh food openly available.
This what-you-see-is-what-you-eat diet shows that by changing circumstances, you can change behavior, which is key for getting teams to accept changes such as process improvement, says James C. Crimmins, author of “7 Secrets of Persuasion: Leading-Edge Neuromarketing Techniques to Influence Anyone.”
“The lesson to executives is to think about the ways they can change the circumstances so that any new process for a team is the most natural – the easiest – thing to do,” he says.
Crimmins says it’s often easier to get people to change what they do rather than what they feel. So, if a team balks at new processes, don’t think, “How can I get them to change their minds?” but rather, “How can I get them to act differently?” he says.
“If you look at the kitchen experiment, these people probably all had the same attitude toward soft drinks – but they managed to change the behavior simply by changing the circumstances,” he says.
Adele Sweetwood is senior vice president of global marketing and shared services at SAS and author of “The Analytical Marketer: How to Transform Your Marketing Organization.”
As someone who is well acquainted with change initiatives and trying to get employees to embrace new ideas and processes, she says that such efforts require a “guiding coalition” to be successful.
“If you bring those impacted into the conversation, identify what they will need to be successful, and empower them with the tools and training, they will be more likely to engage,” she says. “As leaders, we spend a lot of time identifying areas for improvement, defining the details and then devising the solution. By the time we share the solution or change, we (read more here)