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3 Keys to Inspire Change

There are four building blocks that serve as cornerstones for successful change and, by extension, successful business and family transitions.  These four are:  Inspiration; Stake in the Game; Tools; and, Feedback.

A truly rational person, Star Trek’s Mr. Spock, relies on common sense to convince others to move in a certain direction.  This approach, with all its logical merits, often results in misdirected resources of people, time, money, and unintended consequences for one simple reason.

In our work with assessing how people make decisions, we learned that more than 66 percent of the people we work with are intuitive and experienced based decision makers.  These friends, neighbors, family members, and co-workers are the people who sometimes openly admit that they do not want to be confused by the facts.   Why?  Because they have already made up their minds! 

And that is just one of the reasons why your inspiring and compelling story is probably not going to be their inspiring and compelling story.  To overcome the inspiration gap, keep these principles close to your heart:

1. People are motivated differently.  One of the major “AHA!” moments for most of the people we coach is the recognition that what motivates them does not motivate most of the rest of the world.  In its simplest terms, only about 22 percent of the general population is motivated by challenge, authority, power, and bottom-line results.  Another 22 percent thrives on recognition, status, opportunities, and team involvement.  The third 22 percent relishes on structure, accuracy, security, and proven systems.  The largest single group of people finds motivation in stability, predictability, benefits, and consensus.  When you start thinking of implementing change, if you want it to be successful you better have a little something for everybody. 

2. Let people choose their own story.  Research and experience shows that people who believe they have a starring role in their own story are more committed to the outcome by a factor of almost five to one.  It’s  a waste of time to let others try and discover what you already know – why not just tell them and get it over with?  If people think and feel ownership of an idea or process, they’re going to work harder at making it work.  Quite simply, they have a stake in the game.  Unless there is some element of risk, there is no appreciation of the gain.

3. A compelling story needs both a “+” and a “-“.  Talk about what’s working, what isn’t working, what’s been learned, and what can be done differently to create a better outcome.  Dwelling on the negative saps energy and irrational exuberance on the positive creates a bubble.  However, staying focused on what you want to have happen and developing a process around critical examination of unintended consequences can help you improve performance in every aspect of life.


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Des Moines, IA, USA
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