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Re: Education and habits, comfort, familiarity, projected image

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  • Dale Emery
    Hi Alistair, A few months ago you referred to Virginia Satir s phrase, People ... My initial reaction, reading this two months ago, was that it doesn t
    Message 1 of 207 , Jan 15, 2005
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      Hi Alistair,

      A few months ago you referred to Virginia Satir's phrase, "People
      prefer familiarity to comfort." You wrote:

      > I don't know about you, but that phrase, besides ringing true,
      > frightens the bejeebers out of me. I think that's the biggest
      > thing we're up against.

      My initial reaction, reading this two months ago, was that it
      doesn't frighten me at all. Given that I'm always advocating one
      change or another, I wasn't sure why it didn't frighten me. So
      I've been pondering.

      I think it doesn't frighten me because my persuasion style
      (developed over many years and still evolving) includes to make
      change familiar to people. I never thought about the things I do
      in those terms until I read your message, but as I look at how I
      nudge people toward change, some of it is about making the
      unfamiliar familiar.

      Here's an example of one of my nudges:
      http://www.dhemery.com/cwd/2003/12/a_story_of_resistance_resolved.html

      I wasn't advocating any particular change in that situation, but
      my questions had the effect, I think, of framing Susan's problem
      so that it was suddenly very familiar to her, and then she knew
      exactly how to solve it.

      Another example:
      http://www.dhemery.com/cwd/2003/05/after_all_weve_done_for_them.html

      As I look at that story now, I think that Paul's epiphany at the
      end was largely about suddenly reframing his customer relations
      issue in a familiar light. And he knew what to do.

      Another example: What finally convinced me to try TDD and simple
      design myself was watching Alan Shalloway demonstrate how the
      rules of simple design can (sometimes) generate well-known design
      patterns. I had a little familiarity with design patterns, so
      Alan's brilliant demonstration had the effect of making something
      strange (designs can /emerge/?!) into something familiar.

      Another example of something I do often: find safe ways for
      people to try whatever I'm advocating. A small demonstration,
      maybe, or a "toy" situation to practice on, where failure doesn't
      matter. Making it safe for people to try the new idea in a small
      way nudges them to get a teeny tiny bit of experience, from which
      the new idea becomes a teeny tiny bit more familiar. Stories
      (like the ones I linked to above) can make new ideas more familiar.

      You're a pretty effective change artist, so I'll bet that a lot
      of what you do is also about helping people to find something
      familiar in something new. How have you persuaded people
      effectively in the past? Did any of that have anything to do
      with making change more familiar?

      So this idea is now in the back of my mind: If we attend
      purposefully to the idea that familiarity matters, what new ideas
      might that give us for how to encourage change?

      Thanks!

      Dale

      --
      Dale Emery, Consultant
      Inspiring Leadership for Software People
      Web: http://www.dhemery.com
      Weblog: http://www.dhemery.com/cwd

      One half the troubles of this life can be traced to saying "yes"
      too quick, and not saying "no" soon enough. --Josh Billings
    • Dale Emery
      Hi Alistair, A few months ago you referred to Virginia Satir s phrase, People ... My initial reaction, reading this two months ago, was that it doesn t
      Message 207 of 207 , Jan 15, 2005
      • 0 Attachment
        Hi Alistair,

        A few months ago you referred to Virginia Satir's phrase, "People
        prefer familiarity to comfort." You wrote:

        > I don't know about you, but that phrase, besides ringing true,
        > frightens the bejeebers out of me. I think that's the biggest
        > thing we're up against.

        My initial reaction, reading this two months ago, was that it
        doesn't frighten me at all. Given that I'm always advocating one
        change or another, I wasn't sure why it didn't frighten me. So
        I've been pondering.

        I think it doesn't frighten me because my persuasion style
        (developed over many years and still evolving) includes to make
        change familiar to people. I never thought about the things I do
        in those terms until I read your message, but as I look at how I
        nudge people toward change, some of it is about making the
        unfamiliar familiar.

        Here's an example of one of my nudges:
        http://www.dhemery.com/cwd/2003/12/a_story_of_resistance_resolved.html

        I wasn't advocating any particular change in that situation, but
        my questions had the effect, I think, of framing Susan's problem
        so that it was suddenly very familiar to her, and then she knew
        exactly how to solve it.

        Another example:
        http://www.dhemery.com/cwd/2003/05/after_all_weve_done_for_them.html

        As I look at that story now, I think that Paul's epiphany at the
        end was largely about suddenly reframing his customer relations
        issue in a familiar light. And he knew what to do.

        Another example: What finally convinced me to try TDD and simple
        design myself was watching Alan Shalloway demonstrate how the
        rules of simple design can (sometimes) generate well-known design
        patterns. I had a little familiarity with design patterns, so
        Alan's brilliant demonstration had the effect of making something
        strange (designs can /emerge/?!) into something familiar.

        Another example of something I do often: find safe ways for
        people to try whatever I'm advocating. A small demonstration,
        maybe, or a "toy" situation to practice on, where failure doesn't
        matter. Making it safe for people to try the new idea in a small
        way nudges them to get a teeny tiny bit of experience, from which
        the new idea becomes a teeny tiny bit more familiar. Stories
        (like the ones I linked to above) can make new ideas more familiar.

        You're a pretty effective change artist, so I'll bet that a lot
        of what you do is also about helping people to find something
        familiar in something new. How have you persuaded people
        effectively in the past? Did any of that have anything to do
        with making change more familiar?

        So this idea is now in the back of my mind: If we attend
        purposefully to the idea that familiarity matters, what new ideas
        might that give us for how to encourage change?

        Thanks!

        Dale

        --
        Dale Emery, Consultant
        Inspiring Leadership for Software People
        Web: http://www.dhemery.com
        Weblog: http://www.dhemery.com/cwd

        One half the troubles of this life can be traced to saying "yes"
        too quick, and not saying "no" soon enough. --Josh Billings
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