All Posts Tagged With: "change"

7 simple secrets to “Switch” to green

Change does not come easily to us, as a species. We are hard-wired to prefer the status quo, to drag our feet or over-analyze to the point of paralysis when changes are proposed. Fortunately, a new book addresses this in an engaging and enlightening manner: “Switch: how to change things when change is hard,” by Dan and Chip Heath. (Get the book here.) I’ve pulled out seven secrets from this book to help you to design a smooth transition to a greener business.

1. Use a metaphor to understand the three parts to effective change. Using vivid examples, the authors illustrate the story of the rider and the elephant. The rider is our rational brain; the elephant is our emotions. Both are actively functioning in us; the trick is to engage them each in ways they understand.

• The rider – avoid analysis paralysis by providing specific instructions and direction
• The elephant – give people an emotional hook to instill hope and motivation
• The path – change the circumstances or environment, such as by using social pressure

2. Direct the rider. Find, study, and replicate the “bright spots.” Look around and notice who is having success, how are they doing it, and get others to do that too. We tend to focus on what’s wrong or what’s broken and how do we fix it. Bright spots shift our focus instead to what’s working right now and how can we do more of it. That’s tremendously motivating for the elephant.

Ask these Bright Spot questions:

• What is working?
• How can we do more of that?

3. Script the critical moves. It’s not enough to ask your team to “be more green” or “waste less.” If you are leading a change effort, you need to remove the ambiguity from your vision of change. Ladder your way down from a change idea to a specific action.

4. Point to the destination. There is no way to orchestrate an entire change process from Day 1 to the desired result. Instead, send your team a “destination postcard” that vividly describes the end-goal and appeals to them emotionally. Then, script the critical moves to get them started off on the right foot. This helps the rider to translate aspirations into actions. If you have the beginning and the end well-defined, the middle part will evolve organically.

5. Go after behavior. Everyone who is trying to effect change sets goals. The more successful change transformations set behavioral goals. For instance, project teams will meet once a week and each team will include at least one representative of every functional area.

6. Behavior first, then mindset shift. Contrary to popular belief, knowledge does NOT change behavior. You have to practice the new behavior, to act your way into a new way of thinking. Knowing is NOT ENOUGH. Also, be aware that some information is “TBU”: True, But Useless.

7. Find the small tweaks. We think of big, systemic change as having to be long and arduous. Counter-intuitively, small adjustments can work miracles, as anyone who has ever tinkered with their golf swing can attest. This book has example after example to illustrate that big problems are NOT best solved with big, systemic solutions. They are often solved with many small solutions, unrolled over time.

Reading “Switch” has crystallized much of my recent thinking into a powerful framework for change. Let me know when you try out some of these strategies, what the results are for you. I’d love to hear your story.

The Weekly Green: Juice for the Journey #14

WaterShed, University of Maryland 2011 Solar Decathlon entry

Week 14

The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them. ~ Albert Einstein

How can we avoid adding to the confusion that is our modern world? On one hand, we think we have to work within the system in order to change it. On the other, we see examples of people who have gone outside the system and started over. What if both are the answer? As long as we approach it with equal measures of acceptance and challenge, we have a chance to effect change.

More: Solar Decathlon is a good example of this. Boundless creativity within the bounds of a tightly-defined competition.

Read the Weekly Green from Week 13 here.

We always love to hear from you! How juicy is this quote for you?

The Weekly Green: Juice for the Journey #3

Eden Project

Week 3

When the winds of change begin to blow, some people build walls. Others build windmills. ~ Chinese proverb

Change is an inevitable part of life. Yet, a part of us always wants to cling to the old, familiar ways. We resist, deny, and construct elaborate scenarios to stave off change. At the same time, we are perfectly equipped with the vision and creativity to turn change to our advantage. Most, if not all, advancements in our evolution have followed this pattern. Where can you make lemonade out of lemons this week?

More: Watch biomimetic architect Michael Pawlyn show how he builds windmills.

Read the Weekly Green from Week 2 here.

We always love to hear from you! How juicy is this quote for you?

Everything is a Miracle

photo by: Julie Gabrielli

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what motivates people to change, to – in the parlance – "go green." In our upcoming 4-part teleclass, "Your EcoBlueprint: Three Keys to Transforming Your Life and Work ," we will be exploring this in depth.

A compelling, inspired vision is the first step towards mapping out strategies that matter the most to us. Vision and a good map also help to sort through the mind-boggling amount of information, opinions, lists, and tools that have come along on the last few years. This class will provide a framework to craft a clear path for ourselves.

One important thing to keep in mind is that it’s not about being green or not-green. Our motivation comes from a much deeper place – the need to heal our separation, to reconnect in all ways – to ourselves, to our communities, to nature. Our sense of separation keeps us anxious, fearful, lonely.

When we seek to reconnect, we are butting up against centuries of worldview that humans are separate from, and superior to, nature. This notion has threaded through a great deal of recent human history, leading to domination, exploitation, and degradation. It has caused potentially irreversible damage to our planet’s climate, to ecosystems, to biodiversity. Ironically, it also keeps us from taking our place in the community of living things. Being awake to the havoc we have wreaked causes great suffering and guilt. It’s hard not to come away concluding that we are a bad species, in the words of Paul Stamets, that faces "the possibility of being rejected by the biosphere as a virulent organism." (Mycelium Running , p.1)

Yet, many of us have the intuition that a deeply satisfying life can heal our relationships with ourselves, our neighbors, and the planet. Continued