Q: What are your thoughts on how to inspire people that have done things a particular way for 30+ years to WANT to change?
A: First, I would embrace the IBL principle “act your way to new thinking, not think your way to new action.” The idea is simply take some small action and start to embed it. You don’t need the team to change their minds, you only need them to commit to new actions. It can be helpful to tell them the old ways weren’t necessary wrong but are not as optimal, for now.
Second, think of Blockbuster, Kodak, Polaroid, and VHS executives -they were stuck in “prove and perform” mindset which attached their ego to the past work they did. They were trying to protect the “be good” self. They needed to invoke the “get better” self but couldn’t do it because their focus was internal and from behind their own eyes. They needed to get out from behind their own eyeballs and look back at themselves and the organization.
Third, when looking to improve work use the Improve play. This play rest on a mental focus that is: future focused, outward from ourselves, on the process (not the people), and on achieving excellence not avoiding errors.
Other thoughts- “inspiring” is really coercion in disguise. You want to get people on board with something you’ve decided they need to do. Don’t Coerce, Collaborate. When the people doing the work also get to decide on how they do the work, they make a commitment, internally, because they chose it. Also, remember “Small Steps.” When doing any kind of change, make the changes in small steps.