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Innovation , Management , Change Alan Deutschman: The benefits of change What really inspires positive change is hope, not fear, according to a leading writer on change and innovation. He uses compelling case studies to show how heart patients, criminals, drug addicts and multibillion-dollar corporations can improve their future prospects by embracing change that at first may seem impossible. Deutschman also spent 19 years as a business journalist in Silicon Valley. He has profiled innovators around the world and discovered some of what makes up effective leadership, especially during times of change.
The following is an edited transcript. The most powerful emotion is fear, so the second F is fear. Then the third F is force. By force I mean falling back on the moral authority of your position. So in the book, I look at the biggest crisis that any of us can face: a life-threatening health situation.
Yet with heart patients, 90 percent go back to the same unhealthy habits that they were living with before. We tend to actually focus on the things we have to do that we can do and we can get done, as opposed to the long-term problems that seem overwhelming and impossible to us.
Q: Why is hope important when people or organizations are trying to change? People have to think that change is possible for them. You can see people who are like you, who have had the same seemingly overwhelming problems, and that some of them are really changing and making progress. Often [change] starts by connecting with even one other person or a community that you feel some emotional connection with.
If you wanted to learn to play a new sport or to play a musical instrument or to speak a foreign language, you would want a teacher, a mentor, a coach to help you through it. If you have a coach or a mentor who believes in you, that can open that window as well.
Once you connect with this individual or community, you start taking actions that get you where you want to go. Q: Talk about the second R -- repeat. In the book, I look at the Delancey Street program [in San Francisco] that takes felons out of the state prison system. Delancey Street tries to teach them how to live in law-abiding, middle-class, sober, nonviolent society.
Change in our lives is the same way. There are just dozens and dozens of small things that we need to actually learn by doing and doing it again and again. These little actions and daily practices instill the belief, as opposed to the belief informing and motivating the action. Q: The third R is reframe.
It sounds like telling a new narrative of yourself. Your culture and your people have deeply entrenched beliefs about who they are and the way things are supposed to be. Here was a company that in many ways was the most successful company in American capitalism.
When there was a profound shift in technology, IBM found itself going from having been the most successful company in American capitalism to being threatened with going out of business.
IBM experienced its own change-or-die crisis as an organization. After IBM nearly collapsed in the early s, they brought in a new chief executive officer, Lou Gerstner, who had been the head of Nabisco. Bruce Harreld], a man who had helped found the Boston Chicken chain of fast-food rotisserie chicken restaurants. Ultimately, that executive created a new multibillion-dollar-a-year business and made the shift from thinking like a bureaucrat to thinking like an entrepreneur.
Once IBM had this one example, other senior executives saw that it would be possible to succeed, and that led to a bigger shift in the entire corporate culture. Q: If a leader in a long-established institution sees the need for change, how would you recommend that he or she proceed? Change could be inspired by making new connections with other spiritual communities or other spiritual leaders who have different approaches. Have a contingent from their group come spend time together with you.
Making that connection with other people who are similar enough to you that there is mutual understanding and respect, but different enough that you can see the possibility and the value of doing things differently, could lead to the possibility of change. As Americans, whatever our background, there is still this almost Puritan-like influence, the Protestant work ethic, a sense that things have to be painful for us to progress and thrive.
That is extremely motivating. Look at the Dean Ornish program for heart patients. People go on this very rigorous diet early on with the idea that they want to quickly get to the point of losing weight. Fear can inspire people for a short period of time, but ultimately fear is just too overwhelming for us to keep in the forefront of our minds.
Has anything changed in the landscape of change issues? The economic and financial collapse that has occurred since my book came out is starting to lead people to live in different ways. For many of us, our expectation of never-ending prosperity and limitless economic opportunity has ended.
Q: Is that a reframing of our national story? We had this national story that we told ourselves, as a people of the American dream, of great, limitless prosperity. It will be interesting to see whether, after two or three or four years of living in a different way, we may be starting to think about our lives in a different way. More on this topic: Innovation.
Change or Die
Intuitively, we think that this change first has to be come from the inside. Return to Book Page. Given that any honest dialogue is rare, it takes an exceptional workplace context for people to openly talk through change. Workers and managers battled incessantly. The new relationship helps you learn new ways of thinking about your situation and your life. His fascinating research began with a fairly deuutschman, small study.
Alan Deutschman: The benefits of change
ALAN DEUTSCHMAN CHANGE DIE PDF