Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Change Anything - Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler

This is a pretty powerful book if one follows the process diligently. The authors - all five of them - have produced three NYT bestsellers 'Crucial Conversations;, 'Crucial Confrontations' and Influencer. They have a site called changeanything.com and offer training fro their organisation called Vital Smarts.

First up the authors say that we cannot change things not because we lack will power, but because we lack an understanding of the process. They deconstruct the whole process that influences change. There are 6 sources of influence and unless we know each one of them and change them we may not find much success in our effort to change. Another thing hey point out is that there is no one solution fits all stuff - we have to analyse our situation and come up with unique solutions that fit us. Third, they say we must be both the scientist and the subject, experimenting on ourselves until we find the right mix.

Crucial Moments and Vital Behaviours
So you first observe yourself (instead of trying out every suggestion given mindlessly). Find your crucial moments when you are vulnerable to pursue that behaviour - certain times, places, people, physical or emotional states. Observe your crucial moments. Once you know your crucial moments when you are susceptible to the behaviour we want to change, we must form a set of specific rules (not vague rules). If I get an urge to reach for oily food, I'll drink water. They give an example of how long time heroin addicts were a given specific task in the first 48 hours of withdrawal - they were told to write their resumes with specific guidelines on what to do when they get the urges. In the control group with no guidelines, none of them completed the task. But in the group with specific guidelines, an astoundign 80% completed the task

6 Sources of Influence
1) Love What You Hate - Personal Motivation
We repeat behaviours where we succumb to what we find pleasurable but want to change, and hate what is good for us but we don't like. We need to find ways to disarm our impulses and find ways to make our right choice pleasurable. So we need to find ways to stop ourselves from giving in to our impulses of say eating chocolate and also at the same time, make our exercise and healthy food routine more pleasurable.

Some tactics that are suggested are -  1) visualise the effects of your acts on your future 2) tell the whole story vividly 3) Use value words 4) Turn it into a game and 5) Create a personal motivation statement.

2) Do What You Can't - Personal Ability
Here the authors say that it's not about your will, your character, but in all likelihood its a skill issue. You probably don't know how to go about changing things. Your ignorance can be fixed. For example, I believed for a long time that I could just work off my excess weight until my friend pointed out that my idea was flawed - it was a simple maths of what I put in versus what I work out. So if I eat less, and eat smart, I was far more likely to lose weight than merely by exercising.

Most skills issues can be fixed by finding out from experts and engaging in deliberate practice. You will soon be able to do things you were not able to before. Breaking bad habits that ruin your career is easier than you thought if you looked at things like a skill issue, a learning problem. in fact, some say that all problems are learning issues.

3 and 4) Turn Accomplices Into Friends
I loved this. Bot good and bad habits are team sport they say. Social pressure is a huge thing in changing our habits, changing anything. So we have to identify our accomplices - the ones who are keeping us stuck in the loop, the reason why we smoke, drink or do anything that we want to change. Accomplices are complicit in out bad behaviour. By converting a few of them into your friends - those who support you in your new behaviour, you will have a far better result. For example, if you turn your spouse into from an accomplice who feeds you rich food into a friend who insists on healthy food, you will suddenly see change.

Eliminate a few accomplices and add just two new friends and you can see a 60% change.

5) Invert the Economy
The key behaviour here is that we value today's pleasure more than the punishment we have to face tomorrow. more often than not a drink, a drug, a cigarette today seems like a small thing when compared to the unseen punishment that is adding up in the future. So the authors say, invert the economics. Reverse the incentives by bribing yourself to change. Every time you indulge in bad behaviour, fine yourself. One way is to do something utterly undesirable - one paid money into a box, another paid a subscription to a political party he opposed. It must hurt that each time you do something pleasurable in the short time, you do something that is going to hurt.

Similarly, when you do something good, like indulging in good behaviour, reward yourself. Put up a medal, some symbol that measures your progress. Start a fund to buy yourself something nice.

6) Control Your Space
The authors point out that we do not take into account our space and its effect on us and our choices. For example, a design where all the objects of your distraction are easily available will keep you distracted. Moving away from distractions, changing the layout of the room, keeping certain things away and difficult to reach, help hugely in changing habits. A wonderful example is that of a football team that was invited to a meal of pasta - where everyone ate to their fill. However, the design of the plates - one group were given significantly bigger plates and the other smaller - caused the bigger plate group to eat 70% more! That's how much space can affect you.

The 6 sources of influence are a wonderful tool - to love what you hate, to know it's probably skill and not will you lack, turning accomplices into friends, inverting the economy to feel the pinch and lastly, to control the space. The book also gives case studies of how to use the process to get unstuck at work, to lose weight, to gain financial health, to lose additions and to better relationships.

In the end, the authors urge us not to get overwhelmed but to start small and to start now. They urge us to record our plan and our progress. And then we can change ourselves and by doing so, change the world.

1 comment:

Narayana Pillai said...

nice sir
I will be very happy if u visit my site and read last three post
Interesting sir