If creating the world we all want means getting people to change what they currently do, how can we get people to change?
That may just be the most common question we hear when we share that Creating the Future is building a movement to make visionary community impact the norm in social change work, rather than the exception. “That sounds great. But how will you get people to change their ways?”
Consultants and funders and people involved in capacity building work all seem to live with the same frustrations. (Not to mention parents and spouses and coworkers…) How do we get people to change?
Here’s what we’ve found about “getting people to change.”
People will change their habits when they are both inspired and ready to change.
People won’t change because you tell them to. They won’t change because it’s best practice or because that’s what other groups are doing. They won’t change if you scare them into doing it (they may DO something differently, but they won’t change how they feel about it, which frequently means reverting to their old ways the moment the opportunity arises).
But people will move mountains if they are inspired to do so.
And they will do so with relative ease if they are ready to take that step.
So if we want to change norms, change culture, change habits, the recipe is simple:
- Meet people where they are, with what they think they need.
- Open the window just a crack, so they can see what’s possible.
- Create the environment that inspires them and gives them the confidence to take that small step.
- And for those early adopters who are absolutely ready to take huge leaps forward, provide the means for them to do so as well.
Whether it’s about eating one more helping of vegetables a day or changing food policy; about quitting smoking or banning smoking; about learning 3 new consulting tricks or transforming your practice…
How can you meet people where they are, with compassion and wisdom – honoring them for doing what they are already doing? And then how can you inspire them to just take that next small step into what is possible?