Years ago, research by Harvard Business School professor, John Kotter found that when major companies sought to initiate any kind of major organizational change, most ended up failing. Kotter & his team of graduate students watched many leaders simply abandon their change initiatives after concluding there was no viable road to success – despite a lot of time spent trying.
Anymore, it’s hard to imagine that a company – including its leaders – could last very long if they were routinely unable to turn their ship in a different direction or inspire employees to embrace new ways of being. So, knowing how change is successfully implemented has become essential knowledge.
According to University of Pennsylvania Sociology & Engineering professor, Damon Centola, most of what we know about how change is effectively spread comes from bestselling authors who tell us “influencers” are king, “sticky” ideas “go viral,” & good behavior is “nudged” forward. The problem is that the world they describe is one where information spreads, but beliefs & behaviors stay the same.
Centola is the author of the new bestseller, “Change: How To Make Big Things Happen,” a book Wharton professor Adam Grant says it is the most important on the science of social influence since Robert Cialdini’s “Influence.” “Change” presents groundbreaking & paradigm-shifting new science for understanding what drives change, & how we can change the world around us.”
One of Damon’s big ideas is that change doesn’t really occur the way we’ve always believed – like a virus. We’ve long thought that once one person heard a new idea, they’d pass it on to others – who’d then pass it on themselves – until the new process, system or philosophy would become widely spread throughout a group or organization. What this theory lacks, of course, is adoption. And more often than not, after new ideas are spread, they’re met with fear, resistance & negativity – change derailers!
So, how can leaders shape new behavior within their teams, how do we successfully launch a new innovation before it gets squashed & killed – & how can we create cultural change within an organization that really sticks?
Listen in – on this podcast, that’s what we asked Centola to explain.