Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman of Ogilvy Group, tells us with his adman’s great hilarity, that we can be much more effective creating behavior change if we focus instead on changing perceptions. And that’s about more than selling the benefits of something new. It about tinkering with the way we define the symbolic, subjective and intangible value of things.
The unfortunate challenge is that much of organization change is in the hands of analytical, overly serious technicians who have an obsession with solving the problems of reality. We try to sell the technical features, the supposed organization benefits, the facts, the figures, the details. This has the impact of creating some mixture of apathy, cynicism and resistance that gets so lodged in our brains that creating enthusiasm is virtually impossible.
Change should be much more fun than that, but it takes understanding that most change is not really a problem of reality. It’s a problem of perception.