Motivating real and lasting change is a huge challenge, whether you are trying to change yourself or bring others to change. Change is simply hard.
Is there any effective tool? Logic doesn’t work. Threats don’t work. Fear doesn’t even really work. What does that leave? Joy. Really. Joy.
“Joy is a more powerful motivator than fear,” Kotter says.
John Kotter, a Harvard Business School professor who has studied dozens of organizations in the midst of upheaval. Fast Company article, Change or Die
Quoted at Be Excellent, in Why is Changing Behavior So Hard?
So now you know. If you want to create a lasting change in any person’s behavior, make joy the reward for change. Here’s more from Be Excellent:
Instead of motivating people with the “fear of failure” or “fear of whatever” – motivate people with a new vision of the “joy of working in a new way” — convincing them they can feel better, do better – not just work longer. That means enjoying the things that make daily life pleasurable.”
A corollary rule is to make the biggest changes possible, since “These are choices worth making.”
The final lesson is to support change. That means celebrate each small victory. It also means to practice excellent coaching, in all its dimensions. Give people (or yourself) a chance to share with others, to learn the new skills, and to see success. Give people joy.
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