The pesky reality of self-interest.
A client recently told me, “Physicians only change when there’s something in it for them.” I assured her that statement applied to every human she knows, not just the physicians she is currently working with.
We don’t change when someone explains the importance of compliance or teamwork or culture. We change our behavior when we want to avoid pain or experience pleasure.We don’t change when someone explains the importance of compliance or teamwork or culture. We change our behavior when we want to avoid pain or experience pleasure. Click To Tweet
It’s hard enough to change our own habits and nearly impossible to change those of others until and unless we appeal to self-interest, but we keep forgetting this pesky reality and must learn the hard lessons again.
Risk Versus Consequences
Several years ago, I worked with Scott, an up-and-coming manufacturing executive. He produced impressive results and built a team of equally impressive professionals, except one.
While working with the team, several people told me privately they would leave the company if they had to continue to work with Kevin. They found him difficult to work with, and one person alleged that Kevin had lied on his resume, so he had no trust in his integrity.
When I gave the feedback to Scott, he shook his head and said, “I can’t fire Kevin. He makes me too much money.” I pointed out that keeping Kevin put him at risk of losing at least three people on his team—all top performers.
Scott wasn’t convinced because he didn’t think people would really walk.
However, when the investigation into Kevin’s resume proved that he had lied, I pointed out that Scott no longer had a choice. He was putting his own career in jeopardy if he didn’t notify corporate HR of the situation. Scott hated what he had to do, but he did it to avoid suffering the consequences of not doing anything.
Components Of Rational Thinking
Rationally we understand that our mindset serves as more than the sum of its neuronal connections. It links us to external reality while creating our sense of who we are and what makes us different from everyone else. You’ll find the mindset housed in the brain, but it extends well beyond as it constantly engages with the brains of other people, the environment, and the culture.
The physical components of the human mind alone do not adequately explain the human experience. Neurons may provide the material for human consciousness, but they alone don’t create it.
We also possess souls that no computer can ever replicate.
The soul-searching process of behavior change involves more than evaluating what we see and hear: it’s a biological process—part physiological, part psychological, and part contextual—but not always rational.The soul-searching process of behavior change involves more than evaluating what we see and hear: it’s a biological process—part physiological, part psychological, and part contextual—but not always rational. Click To Tweet
Those who have the right mindset for successful change reduce the risk of very human cognitive biases and decision traps. They think systemically. Both discerning and curious, they remain open to new ideas without being naïve, and they avoid the trap of hubris. They weigh tradition while challenging themselves to remain open to new ideas. They steadfastly evaluate new information as they discipline themselves to simultaneously process information from a variety of sources as they deal with multi-dimensional issues.
We all share something in common with Scott and the physicians my clients works with. We change when we perceive that doing so in in our own best interest. Ask great salespeople.
They’ll tell you I’m right.