Understanding The Elephant And Rider Metaphor For Behavioral Change
Implementing change is like riding an elephant.
You have to choose a direction, motivate your inner elephant with some incentives, and select the right path.
The inner elephant is powerful and stubborn, so it’s important to know what will motivate it.
The rider in this analogy is rational and knows what needs to be done – but sometimes the emotional desires of the animal will win out over their logic.
In order to make changes that stick, you will also need to shape the environment surrounding your goal in order to make progress.
In our example of getting up early for jogging, a comfy bed and bad weather wouldn’t help get you going – but if you can provide yourself with an incentive such as the smell of fresh brewed coffee then this might just be enough to motivate you to take steps towards successful change.
By understanding the three components which influence behavior – the rider, elephant and path – you will be better equipped to make lasting changes in your life!
The Power Of Bright Spots: Leverage Existing Successes To Create Lasting Change
If you want to achieve real change in your life, the most effective way to do it is to focus on the “bright spots”: those places and situations where positive change has already been made successfully.
Then learn from them and spread the knowledge around.
This strategy was put into practice by Jerry Sternin in 1990, when he was asked by a Vietnamese government to tackle children’s malnutrition.
Rather than looking at all of the potential problems that may have caused this issue (like poverty or sanitation), Sternin instead looked for bright spots: small villages where some children were better nourished than others – and these families had already discovered their own solutions!
By observing the differences in how these well-nourished kids were being fed (smaller portions more often), he used that information to create strategies for other families who were struggling with malnutrition.
As a result, after just six months, 65 percent of the village’s children saw an improvement in nutrition levels due to Sternin’s work.
So if you want to make real changes in your life, don’t waste time on endless analysis – find and replicate successes from successful initiatives and communities!
That way you’ll be able to spread these positive changes even further!
To Effectively Navigate Change, Provide Clear Behavioral Goals And Script The Critical Moves
The rider in all of us dislikes the extra work that comes with making decisions.
When it comes to change, this is especially true, as there are so many unknown choices to make and options to consider.
To combat this decision paralysis, it’s essential to provide clear behavioral goals and instructions for the rider, as ambiguity is oftentimes their biggest enemy.
Take,for example, the goal of eating healthier– something so vaguely defined can be hard for the rider to accurately assess.
That’s why it’s important that you clearly script out the critical moves needed for this behavior such as when shopping; what you buy is what you eat.
In fact, a study conducted regarding improving West Virginian’s diets opted to not give vague advice like “eat healthier,” but instead offered remarkably specific instructions such as “next time buy one percent milk instead of whole.” Low-fat milk sales doubled as a result!
This goes to show that even small changes can leadto big results if properly scripted for the rider.
Ensuring Successful Change By Using A Destination Postcard To Appeal To Both The Rider And The Elephant
Change can be difficult to navigate, especially if you get bogged down in analysis paralysis.
That’s why it’s important to use a destination postcard that appeals to both your rider and your elephant.
A destination postcard should provide a clear goal for the rider and an attractive picture of the near future for the elephant.
For example, Crystal Jones, a first grade teacher, told her students that by the end of the year they would all be honorary third graders–reading, writing, doing math and so forth at a third-grade level.
This spoke clearly to the inner rider while appealing to the inner elephant with its promise of “cool” third-grader status.
When tempted by unhealthy habits, think in terms of bigger goals rather than individual actions.
For instance, instead of just trying to “eat healthier,” decide that you’ll never eat another hot dog again–that way there’s less room for rationalization when temptation strikes!
All this together helps you keep on track with your desired changes so you can work towards reaching your goals and turning your imagined future into reality.
Emotions Are Key To Helping The Elephant Move In The Right Direction
For successful changes to occur, the inner rider and inner elephant must work in tandem.
The rider can only do so much before his strength runs out and the elephant takes over, veering the direction off-course.
For immediate results, emotion must be triggered to get the elephant moving in the proper direction.
Jon Stegner understood this principle when he worked to revamp a company’s purchasing process.
He presented an array of 424 gloves to management that highlighted the irrationality of their function and evoked an emotional reaction; shock, outrage and a desire to fix it straight away.
When you face scenarios where problems are ill-defined or solutions are uncertain, positive emotion is far more productive than negative emotion.
It widens outlooks and encourages imagination towards uncovering new solutions.
Evoking strong emotions — either positive or negative — is key when looking to get your inner elephant moving in the right direction for successful change.
Shrinking Change: Taking Small Steps Towards Achieving Big Goals
That old saying, “you need to start small to achieve big change” is certainly true.
The elephant in the room analogy perfectly captures this concept: when it comes to making a big change that seems overwhelming or impossible, you can’t just expect the elephant to climb a mountain from square one – instead, you have to lead it up a small hill first.
This is an idea that Dave Ramsey has employed in his successful approach to helping people get out of debt.
Rather than focusing on paying off their biggest debts first, he recommends paying off their smallest debts first and gradually working your way up.
This way, individuals will be able to make progress quicker while being motivated by the progress they’ve already made.
Additionally, studies have also shown that emphasizing progress already made is another great way to motivate people as well as shrink changes into more manageable chunks.
As more and more milestones are hit and small wins added up, the momentum of change accumulates, making the whole process easier and much more self-sustaining.
Cultivating A Change-Friendly Identity And Adopting A Growth Mindset Are Keys To Successfully Driving Change
Creating successful change requires understanding people and helping them to adopt a new identity that fosters positive change.
Paul Butler, tasked with saving the St.
Lucia parrot from extinction, exemplifies this concept well.
He was able to rally the support of citizens by making the bird a part of their national identity – something they connected with and believed they should protect.
But come what may, difficulties in living up to this identity will arise.
It’s essential to have strategies in place to manage these situations and use any failures as opportunities for growth and improvement.
This is why cultivating a growth mindset is critical for effective people management in organisations striving for lasting change; one should view setbacks as stepping stones rather than obstacles on a path towards success.
Studies have even shown that such a mindset contributes to improved student performance and better business ideas!
Grow your people by fostering both a change-friendly identity and embracing failure as an engine of progress – it won’t be easy, but the payoff will be worth it!
Small Changes In Our Situations Can Bring About Big Changes In Our Behaviors
The key to getting people to change their behavior is to make it as easy for them as possible.
This means creating an environment or situation that makes it easier for the person to take the desired action.
A great example of this is seen in a study conducted on college students asking them to contribute food to charity.
Half of them received a basic letter asking them to bring food, while the other half received a detailed letter with specific instructions including a map of the donation location.
The results showed that those who received the more detailed instructions were much more likely to act – three times more than those who only got the basic instructions!
This demonstrated how slight adjustments can dramatically influence our behavior: even simple tweaks such as providing more information or making things easier can go a long way in gettin people to act.
When trying to promote change, providing people with an easy path that encourages action can be extremely effective.
How The Environment Can Help You Build Habits And Achieve Change
If you’re looking for a way to achieve change without having to expend much effort, it’s time to consider building new habits and making your environment work in your favor.
Building habits can be difficult, so it’s important to shape the environment to help with adoption.
One way of doing this is by setting environmental action triggers – when a particular occurrence happens, you can choose to respond in specific ways.
An example would be going to the gym immediately after dropping off your children at school.
Adhering to checklists is also beneficial: By following a checklist for a habit, you ensure that all steps are carried out properly and avoid potential risks which could arise from taking shortcuts.
By implementing these tactics, you can eventually get ‘a free ride’ when it comes to implementing change – if you aren’t willing or able to put forth much effort, structure the environment around you so that it works toward achieving what you want.
The Power Of Peer Pressure: Leveraging Group Behavior To Change People’s Minds
We humans are herd animals, so when we need guidance in situations that are unfamiliar to us, we look to the behavior of others.
That’s why laugh tracks exist on TV shows, and bartenders pre-seed their tip jars at the start of the night.
We naturally take cues from those around us, often following the popular lead.
When trying to influence people’s behavior, one way you can do this is by taking advantage of this tendency.
You have to demonstrate that most of the group is already rallied around making a change; for example if your company needs everyone to use new time sheets but there’s still some resisters, post compliance lists publicly so that peer pressure sets in place and gets them on board as well.
However, it won’t work if there’s a majority who oppose it.
In such cases, you may need to find those who support your change and provide them with a platform where they can talk about how beneficial it would be (e.g., “improved time management” or “better cost control”).
This will help sway opposition.
Though conflict between tradition and reform is inevitable, it can ultimately help produce an improved organization overall.
Therefore, if your goal is behavioral change among your populace or organization, a key approach should be to make sure that you make the path look well-trodden by showing people that they’re just following the herd with what they’re doing – because inevitably enough people will follow eventually!
In the end, Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard provides us with a summary on how to successfully make behavioral changes.
To do so, we must consider the rider (our analytical side), the elephant (our emotional side) and the path (situational factors).
To direct the rider, one must find bright spots and clearly script critical moves for change.
In order for the elephant to be motivated in a chosen direction, one should choose paths that evoke emotions and lead it up small hills instead of mountains.
Lastly, to shape the path of others towards change, one should give them an easy path to follow by building new habits and making environments that enforce these habits.
Additionally, by showing people they’re following in others’ footsteps, it will help enhance confidence and create an atmosphere of successful change implementation.