If creating the world we want means getting people to change what they currently do, how can we get people to change?
That’s a question we hear a lot when we tell people what we’re doing at Creating the Future. We share that we are building a movement for making visionary community results the norm in social change work, rather than the exception. And the standard response is, “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. How do we get people to change?
Here’s what we’ve found about “getting people to change.”
People will change their habits if they are inspired 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 I can guarantee will rear its head somewhere else, when you least expect it…).
But people will move mountains if they are inspired to do so.
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 beyond their comfort zone. 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.
Think about your mission from the top down and from the bottom up. From the people who can’t wait to make massive changes, and the people who believe they just need a little tweak.
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, and then inspire them to just take that next small step into what is possible?