Everything will change !

What are your New Year’s resolutions for 2017 ? A quick guess leads me in the direction of weight loss, more sports, less alcohol, no more cigarettes or more time with the family.

Rest assured : you are not alone. I dare to assume that you are aware of the key factors that lead to success : don’t be grandiose at the outset, start today and not tomorrow, find allies. Above all : try to make a habit out of the resolution.

How difficult can it be ?

Surprisingly enough more than half of these dapper resolution makers have given up by February. The number one reason for quitting is ‘lack of motivation’. So why did your motivation, which was rock solid just a couple of weeks ago, vanish ? And how can you get it back ?

At Indra Partners, we teach managers a simple technique to gauge motivation with rebellious or passive team members. We make use of 6 questions :

(1) What would be the sense to do xyz ?

(2) How ready are you to do xyz ? Give yourself a score on a scale from 1 to 10. 1 means ‘not at all ready’ and 10 means ‘completely ready’.

(3) If the answer is anything but ‘1’, you ask : Why didn’t you chose a lower number ? If the answer is ‘1’, you follow up by asking : What do you need in order to turn that ‘1’ into a ‘2’ ?

(4) Imagine that you have managed to do xyz, what could be the positive result ?

(5) Why would you consider this important ?

(6) What would be the next step you could take, providing there are steps that can be taken ?

The 3rd question is the most important one. The fact that you ask to quote a lower number is so unconventional that the surprise element helps to turn a ‘no’ into a ‘maybe’.

Whatever number you got on the second question, the third question allows to find positive arguments.
All other questions serve to confirm and strengthen the positive mind shift.

There are a couple of prerequisites to make this technique successful : each question offers options but it is key not to put arguments into the team member’s mouth. Only this way can you check what really moves the other to change or to do something.

That is the reason why you need to follow the questions, their order and the way they are formulated quite strictly. Many managers find this challenging and it is apparent right from the start. As managers are convinced of the importance of their request, they fall into the trap of giving their own arguments to convince the other one.

You really need to keep course till the last question : ‘Provided there are steps that can be taken’. This still allows the possibility that the answer is : no steps can be taken.

You can imagine that we often get fairly sceptical reactions when we explain this technique. You can almost hear the “ Is that all ? ” exclamation. But those who try it out, are sold. It actually does work !

Dr Michael Pantalon developed this technique. He is a scientific researcher at the Yale School of Medicine and an expert when it comes to motivation in the field of addiction. In his book “ Instant Influencing” he explains in detail why his method works. (*)

You can also use this technique on yourself. You can ask yourself : what would be the benefit of going back to the gym ? How willing am I to do this ? Why didn’t I chose a lower number ? ….

If you (once again) know why you had made a resolution to begin with , you can focus on keeping this habit up for the rest of the year - or maybe even longer.

But that is a different story. Now we need to put on our new running shoes. A New Year’s resolution, of course !

(*) More information on "Instant Influencing" is available on Michael Pantalon's own site.
Some time ago, Psychology Today published an interesting article on "complaining effectively, motivating loved ones, and getting what you want without being a jerk". Our workshop "Influencing others" teaches you how to bring these ideas into practice.


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