I was reading a new book I picked up at the library called Fast Company’s Greatest Hits – Ten Years of the Most Innovative Ideas In Business. It essentially is a reprint of the best articles from the last ten years of Fast Company magazine. . The article that immediately caught my eye was titled Making Change by Alan Deutschman from May 2005. I have always been fascinated by change from both an institutional perspective and an individual perspective. Change is a constant, there is no question about that, but can you really change behavior? As a coach with a messiah complex I have always wanted to believe that you could, but it is difficult. This article underscored how difficult change is. For example, people faced with death from heart problems will not change their diet. So how we change or even modify behavior. Money certainly does do it, look at Terrell Owens. When I have seen change it has taken unbelievable personal commitment and willing on the part of the person wanting to change. They must want to change. They need support and guidance that is firm and fair. They have to be taken out of their comfort zone. This is not a religious experience; it is blood sweat and tears. Sometimes it is swallowing your pride. Basically it requires running a different script for your life.


At 8/30/06, 7:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Money certainly does do it..."

Research indicates that, although money is certainly a motivator, most people list in a distant 6th when listing what motivates them to do something (in this case, work).

Behavior change is tricky. If it involves imposing one's will (domination) and coercion through rewards and punishment, again the research demonstrates it will not produce long-term change nor will it inculcate desired values.

Of course a true behaviorist denies the existence of intrinsic motivation, but that’s what I’m getting at (as more of a constructivist).

I enjoy your blog. Thanks for your thoughts.

PS: For more information about what I’ve touched on, Alfie Kohn has a comprehensive literature review that is a little winded but comprehensive. It’s called, “Punished by Rewards”.


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