June 24, 2010

Scaling a Slippery Slope

In August 2008 Marc Hogan was bet £1 that he couldn’t become a stand up comic in less than 12 months and perform a one man comedy show at the Edinburgh Comedy Festival in August 2009 for 21 nights. He won the bet!

Last time, I talked about how we use “Inch Pebbles rather than milestones to change a groups behaviour. The reason for this, is that unfortunately a lot of people can be indifferent or downright hostile to change, my 7 year old niece is the same when we try to get her to wear a dress.

We’ve tried cajoling, bribing, arguing and even demanding; unfortunately all these methods lead my niece to either digging in, or changing her behaviour for a very short time. However, when her best friend shows up wearing a dress, she suddenly wants to wear a dress (which is now in the wash)!

Why is this?  When I was preparing for Edinburgh I realised that the comedian’s job is to spot the flaw, the ridiculousness, the absurd and if possible slip in a gag about male genitalia. (Oh Marc, you’re being so coy!)

It’s the same in work, most people’s first response to a new idea, is to find the flaw, why it won’t work, and possibly thinking that the manager (you) sounds a little something like “a concrete rock”.

Luckily in every team there will be someone who likes your idea or is exhibiting the types  / some of behaviour you want the rest of the team to adopt. These are your stars!

Study that person, shadow them, how are they doing it, have they adapted your proposal to make it work? Your job now is rather than revolutionise your team is to scale up success.

So find your stars, see how they do it, and get them to show others how to do it. Of course what most company’s do is to try and change people’s behaviour rather than the system they are using, which is often why things fail.

The truth is most people want to “fight the system”, and “stick it to the man”, because “I’m not a number, I’m a free man”.

We’ll discuss this next time, and we won’t be using a carrot or a stick…

Click here to watch Marc’s showreel. If you would like to find out more about Marc, visit www.marchoganlive.com or to book him for a speaking event please contact your favourite speaker bureau.

  • Filed under: Blog Posts — marchogan @ 10:54 am
June 10, 2010

Inch Pebbles

In August 2008 Marc Hogan was bet £1 that he couldn’t become a stand up comic in less than 12 months and perform a one man comedy show at the Edinburgh Comedy Festival in August 2009 for 21 nights. He won the bet!

Last week at a keynote I was asked how I would change a team’s behaviour.

As they described the situation it quickly became apparent that the change in behaviour required was huge and the milestones were massive.

When you request huge change from people the instant reaction from most people will be resistance!

It’s like asking a person who has never gone to the gym in their life to commit to 2 hours in the gym every day, it won’t happen.

However if you ask them to do 5 minutes exercise at home 3 times a week, you are much more likely to change their behaviour.

When Walkers crisps decided to change the oil they fried their crisps in to a healthier alternative they knew that if they changed the oil overnight their customers would resist the new flavour (much like new Coke) so instead they introduced the new oil over a period of years so people didn’t notice the difference in taste and over came any potential resistance.

So rather than huge milestones why don’t you settle for “inch pebbles”, and get people to change in increments?

On my comedy journey I discovered that a beginner stand up comic starts with 3 minutes of material, before moving upwards – which is why it can be 5 years before they do a one-hour show.

Now I know I did it much quicker than that, but that required massive change, and for most people that can be so daunting that they just refuse to budge.

How many times have we sabotaged our best intentions by setting ourselves unrealistic goals and huge milestones?

Over the next few blogs I’ll share some more ideas with you on how best you can change people’s behaviour and perhaps even your own!

Click here to watch Marc’s showreel. If you would like to find out more about Marc, visit www.marchoganlive.com or to book him for a speaking event please contact your favourite speaker bureau.