Change or Die

https://www.fastcompany.com/52717/change-or-die

“If you look at people after coronary-artery bypass grafting two years later, 90% of them have not changed their lifestyle,”

Changing the behavior of people isn’t just the biggest challenge in health care. It’s the most important challenge for businesses trying to compete in a turbulent world

The conventional wisdom says that crisis is a powerful motivator for change. But severe heart disease is among the most serious of personal crises, and it doesn’t motivate — at least not nearly enough.

Kotter has hit on a crucial insight. “Behavior change happens mostly by speaking to people’s feelings,” he says. “This is true even in organizations that are very focused on analysis and quantitative measuremen

“Providing health information is important but not always sufficient,” he says. “We also need to bring in the psychological, emotional, and spiritual dimensions that are so often ignored.”

The patients attended twice-weekly group support sessions led by a psychologist and took instruction in meditation, relaxation, yoga, and aerobic exercise. The program lasted for only a year. But after three years, the study found, 77% of the patients had stuck with their lifestyle changes

So instead of trying to motivate them with the “fear of dying,” Ornish reframes the issue. He inspires a new vision of the “joy of living” — convincing them they can feel better, not just live longer.

“When one is addressing a diverse or heterogeneous audience,” he says, “the story must be simple, easy to identify with, emotionally resonant, and evocative of positive experiences.”

the importance of “short-term wins” for companies, meaning “victories that nourish faith in the change effort, emotionally reward the hard workers, keep the critics at bay, and build momentum.

A specialist is a hard thing to create, and is valuable for a corporation, obviously, but specialization also instills an inherent “rigidity.” The cumulative weight of experience makes it harder to change.

How, then, to overcome these factors? Merzenich says the key is keeping up the brain’s machinery for learning.

“What happens that becomes stultifying is you stop learning and you stop the machinery, so it starts dying.” Unless you work on it, brain fitness often begins declining at around age 30 for men, a bit later for women.

the leaders of a company need “a business strategy for continuous mental rejuvenation and new learning,” he says. Posit Science has a “fifth-day strategy,” meaning that everyone spends one day a week working in a different discipline. Software engineers try their hand at marketing.

Editors: 
kieran

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