When Made to Stick Will
Gooey to the Nth Power
on Flickr by adwriter
Chip & Dan Heath wrote a best selling book called Made to Stick in which they wrote about “why some ideas survive and others die.”
Their book set forth the theory that a person with a great idea could get it to stick in others’ minds ”“ with stickiness defined as transforming the way people think and act ”“ if the idea had six key qualities:
Here is a shorthand explanation of the Made to Stick checklist done by Brand Autopsy (thus from a marketer’s perspective) if you would like to know a bit more about each one of those six qualities: Sticking with Made to Stick
Good stuff, and Made to Stick is an enjoyable read, a book I highly recommend as great ‘language of intention’ learning in your Say “Alaka‘i” library. Yet here’s the thing:
You can have ideas which fit the bill in all six ways and they can still die, buried in the land of “it was fascinating, but it never really gained a foothold here. We didn’t use it.”
The book the Heath brothers wrote is about how you communicate a great idea in a very compelling way, but an ultra sticky idea communicated exceptionally well takes you only halfway there ”“ if even that far. You still have to implement it in a manner which will get you to claim that idea as your own, making it completely practical and useful to you.
Let’s use training as an example, training on some new process that will help you say, increase productivity in your business. The idea can be wildly exciting, and it can be simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional, and with a compelling story you can’t wait to build on. Better yet, it can be dirt cheap or completely free, and you can have all the resources you need to get it done immediately at your fingertips. You can already have the skill and the knowledge you need to implement it, and do it immediately. There are two more things you will need as mission critical to your successful adoption of the idea:
- Individuals ready, able, and willing to groom a new habit for themselves which brings the idea into their lives every single day.
- An organizational culture which creates the atmosphere of positive expectancy when change is introduced, and in which grooming that new habit is much easier than not grooming it. In fact, there are definite consequences when follow-up doesn’t happen.
If those two things are not in place, don’t bother with the training until they are.
When business owners hire me to give a workshop or deliver a keynote, the bold ones will ask, “What is it you do differently so that this is not another flavor of the month training for my people?”
My response is always the same, and often they don’t like it very much, but it’s one of those situations where the truth can hurt. I will respond saying, “It’s not about me, or about Managing with Aloha. I’m a pretty energetic speaker, and I can sell it in a way that might knock your socks off, but do you have the ‘purchasing power’ to buy it? Will your people immediately follow-up, and will you take final responsibility for helping them do so?”
The good news is that this has become one of my silver linings in our current recession. When people can still invest in training delivered by someone outside their firm for the advantages that will deliver, they are willing to work harder at being my partner and making change happen. They are more impatient for results, and they are no longer willing to sit back with arms folded, waiting for me to dazzle them, and expecting me to ‘fix’ their people.
This is a silver lining which is making my work much more enjoyable and rewarding. ‘Made to stick’ will stick when you go the distance as an Alaka‘i manager and leader. Stickiness is not about me or any other hired gun or mesmerizing guru. It’s about you and your organizational culture, and everyone else within it.
Let’s talk story:
- What simple practices can help you make something stick in your habit-building?
- What was the most recent training you attended? Did it stick with you or not, and do you know why?
- If your manager offered to give you some help in grooming a new
habit within your organizational culture, would you know what to ask
Comment here, or via the tweet-conversation we have on Twitter @sayalakai.
More reading from the Say “Alaka‘i” archives: These links are all contained within Talking Story.
- Who says you can’t do that? (April 2nd)
- How do you Learn? Really, how? (March 26th)
- How Managers Matter in a Healthy Culture (March 15th)
- Communication is our Killer App (March 5th)
- Desire Always Precedes Change” and the 10 Steps to an Organizational Culture of Change Agents (January 11th)
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