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Change management – How can a change agent change minds?

Posted by mjmedlock on June 29, 2011 in Change management |

A change agent in changes minds

Identifying key behaviors is just the start of a change agent’s job. To get people or organizations to change the change agent needs to convince people of the need to change: she needs to get people to think differently. But here’s the big problem; people resist change. How then can a change agent persuade people of the need to change?

Vicarious experience

People don’t like to be told what to do. Think about how you respond to being lectured to about changing your behavior. If you are like most people, lecturing increases your resistance to change.

A vicarious experience is an experience you have through observing someone else’s experience. This is often used in treating phobics. For example someone who has a phobia against spiders will be shown other people interacting with spiders. The vicarious experience can help convince him that the spider is not set on killing him! As time goes on the phobic will be asked to repeat the actions he has being observing.

Storytelling as a vicarious experience

Most of us will experience vicarious experience through story telling. Aesop’s fables are a good example of messages being transmitted through vicarious experience. Organizations can use storytelling to help spread messages about the benefits of behavioral change.

Here are some useful storytelling techniques that a change agent can use to help highlight the need and possibilities for change.

  1. Make the audience identify with a change as someone she knows.
  2. Create an image that might have happened in her life.
  3. Make sure them is some emotional content to create empathy.
  4. Provide a solution to the situation.

After highlighting the need and desirability to change the change agent now needs to move onto the actual process of changing key behaviors. The next post deals with the 6 sources of influence that can help drive successful change.

Further reading on change management in this site

Six sources of influence change agents can use in change management

Change management: finding key behaviors

Strategic change management

 

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