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2,500 years ago, Greek philosopher, Heraclitus famously observed that “there is nothing permanent in life except change.”
And anyone who’s lived just a few years on our planet knows old Heraclitus was speaking truth.
Despite our intellectual acceptance of the ancient sage’s observation, we humans tend to strongly resist & even reject change – something many a workplace leader has come to discover when they’ve tried to alter a policy, introduce a new system or move a team in a new direction.
David Schonthal – award winning professor of Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management – is the co-author of the Wall Street Journal bestseller, “The Human Element: Overcoming The Resistance That Awaits New Ideas.”
And his brilliant insight is that what most marketers, innovators, leaders, activists, & anyone else in the business of creating change, operate on the same deep assumption. It is the belief that the best (& perhaps only) way to convince people to embrace a new idea is to heighten the appeal of the idea itself.
They try to put more “fuel” on the benefits of the change instead of investigating – & even anticipating – the psychological & emotional reasons why people are reluctant to support the change or even entirely resist it.
A word we’re all going to hear more often this year is “friction.” David introduces it to describe what often inhibits successful change initiatives – & he asserts that there are four key “frictions” that operate against innovation & change.
- We humans like to stick with what we know – even when we know it limits us.
- We follow the path of least resistance & seek to minimize effort.
- We often feel emotionally threatened by requests to change our behavior.
- And we have a very strong impulse to resist when we feel change is being imposed upon us.
Of course, David has developed uncommon remedies to all four of these “frictions” & this episode is devoted to introducing them.
As a special feature, at the end of the podcast, Mark asks David to explain how he would use all of his research & knowledge to successfully overcome resistance to implementing the change in organizations that we all desire: to break away from our traditional leadership practices once & for all, & introduce a “Lead From The Heart” philosophy. His response provides a blueprint for all workplace managers to follow.