>Inspiring Your Authentic Week

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Inspiring Your Authentic Week

The Obama approach to change 2

Posted: 25 Aug 2009 05:50 AM PDT


ed to be imposed from the outside and it tended to signify extreme danger, in the form of famine or war. For most people change only occurred when the risks of not changing were clearly greater than the risks of change.

From an evolutionary perspective we are also programmed to prefer more modest short term certainties over more generous longer term risks. Hence “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”

We tend to be tolerant of significant discomfort, before we take the plunge and decide to make a change, even when the alternative is obviously and logically better. We will even defend a compromised system or situation simply because it is the one we are used to. As Morpheus said in the Matrix “These people are so hopelessly dependent on the system that they would fight to protect it.”

At an individual level most of us were educated primarily to be obedient. We were educated out of our creativity and our confidence and into conformity and doing what we are told. However it is not always obvious who, or what, we are being obedient to.

As a result of both our evolutionary and our cultural programming many of us prefer a seemingly safe, if slightly uncomfortable, predictable life to change.

There are also times when we embrace change. We marry, change jobs, have children, move house and even move country. In many cases these changes are inspired and positive changes towards a perceived, and sometimes even long term improvement.

Even these changes can be coerced, but in many cases they are associated with a feeling of empowerment. There are also, clearly changes most of us want: Most of us want to be paid more, to feel safer and so on.

From the anthropologists evidence we can see that there are two approaches to change.

1 – The Coercive Approach.

2 – The Empowered Approach.

The coercive approach assumes that someone knows the answer. It uses fear or force to motivate people to change.

The weakness of this approach is that the change is often grudging or poorly understood by many of the participants. The change is likely to be resisted and half hearted for many.

The empowered approach requires those who are driving the change to have the confidence to trust others to be able to understand the evidence and make the right decisions based on it.

The weakness of this approach is that the evidence can be manipulated and not everyone has the wisdom to make decisions in the best interests of all involved.

The reality is that whenever we are contemplating change, in our own lives, in our organisations or in society as a whole, we probably need to use a combination of coercion and empowerment to introduce effective change. The mix we need will depend more on the nature of the audience than our own preferences.

We can demonstrate that the change has positive results, at the same time we can show the negative effects of not changing.

We can engage in a co-creative process to determine the nature of the change and at the same time create penalties for failure to change.

Those who believe in authority (Spiral Dynamics Red and Blue) will respond better, on the whole, to the strength shown by the coercive approach – even if they don’t agree with it.

Those who believe in self determination (Spiral Dynamics Orange and Green) will respond better to empowerment and involvement.

If you want some help introducing change in your life or organisation give me a call.

These messages are now available as a Podcast. This means you can download and listen to these messages on your iPod or iPhone. You can subscribe for free at www.neilcrofts.com

Also available for free at www.neilcrofts.com is a audio visual slideshow of my “10 Leadership Lessons from the Tour de France” message from a couple of weeks ago. If you want to use this with a group, let me know and I can supply a higher resolution version.

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With love


Neil Crofts
Neil Crofts
authentic business

+44 (0)7775 658534
Skype – neilcrofts

This posting includes an audio/video/photo media file: Download Now

About Neil Crofts

Writer, coach and consultant on authentic business and authentic leadership. Neil has inspired and motivated hundreds organisations and thousands of individuals to their highest potential. Neil has written three published books and numerous e-books. Neil is a coach, facilitator and consultant helping people and businesses find their authentic purpose and use it to inspire and motivate them to be everything that they can be. Neil has raced cars, been self-employed, run a company and sold it, been employed by large companies, experienced growth and contraction at the heart of the dotcom boom, tried changing companies from the inside and from the outside as European Head of Strategy at internet consultancy/rock band Razorfish. Neil has been independent for over 10 years and delivered his Authentic Leadership message to a diverse range of business audiences including people at BP, Shell, Microsoft, Kraft Foods, MSN, Jamie Oliver, South Gloucestershire Council, National Blood Transfusion Service, KaosPilots Business School, Fashion company By Malene Birger, German technology company Eleven.
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