Nowadays organizations must constantly change and improve to stay relevant and this means persuading groups and individuals to change the way they work, not an easy task.
Four conditions necessary
In an old article (2003) in the McKinsey Quarterly Lawson and Price identified four conditions for changing employee mind-sets:
- the employees see the point of the change (know the context, explain the why) and agree with it – at least enough to give it a try;
- the surrounding structures (reward and recognition systems, for example) must be in tune with the new behavior;
- employees must have the skills to do what it requires;
- they must see people they respect modeling it actively.
Each of these conditions is realized independently; together they add up to a way of changing the behavior of people in organizations by changing attitudes.
Traditional change in organizations are based on obsolete concepts and needs to be re-thought, as David Rock (author of Quiet Leadership: Six Steps to Transforming Leadership At Work) and Jeffrey Schwartz – who are applying neuroscience concepts to leadership, what Rock calls “Neuroleadership”- state:
“The traditional command-and-control style of management doesn’t lead to permanent changes in behavior. Ordering people to change and them telling them how to do it fires the prefrontal cortex’s hair trigger connection to the amygdala. The more you try to convince people that you’re right and they’re wrong, the more they push back. The brain will try to defend itself from threats.
The way to get past the prefrontal cortex’s defenses is to help people come to their own resolution regarding the concepts.”