The speed of change

The ability to be attentive to others
6 August, 2021
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16 February, 2022

The speed of change

At Immersis we have been thinking more and more about the theme: CHANGE.

As a country, it took us little more than a week to change behaviors that were deeply rooted in us (and as a planet, it took only a few weeks), reacting to a sudden change in context that is now calming down. What about now? How long will the behavioral change take to allow us to fully live with this new reality?

All restrictions associated with the pandemic are gradually being lifted and these will be some of the doubts that will assail us in the new reality: should I return to handshakes, hugs and kisses to those who are not so close to me?; how can I be integrated in the midst of a cluster of people?; do I feel comfortable walking into a store that is full of customers?; how close or far from my co-workers should I be?; Will I be able to create new mixed work routines with remote days and face-to-face days?; etc.

Again the same word: change.

Of course, common sense tells us that the behavioral change we undertook in the face of the global pandemic was instantaneous because our lives were at risk, it was an emergency. Common sense also tells us that this is not the desirable scenario for us to make behavioral changes in our personal or professional life and that, ideally, there should be anticipation, planning and consideration. However, in my opinion, this is not the underlying issue.

Even because, sometimes (many times) our health is at risk, sometimes (many times) the life of an organization is at risk, we even know what behaviors must be changed and we outline action plans that are often sophisticated and very detailed, but … behavioral change, quite simply, does not happen. Why?

Do we only change our behavior when we are “between a rock and a hard place”?

Do we only change our behavior when we are really, really distressed, as the popular Portuguese tradition seems to be?

I would say no, let's look at some examples.

What happens, when we lower (or raise) the temperature of a room, to the soul force of those inside it? Or the way these people communicate with each other, if we increase or decrease the volume of the ambient sound?

And how do I react if the door to the meeting room is closed whenever I arrive late for the scheduled appointment with the other stakeholders?

Or when do we want an audience to stop speaking Portuguese and start speaking in English? We certainly don't need to put anyone at “risk” and we can do it as described here (somewhere in the last third of the article).

I would say, therefore, that there does not have to be a negative stimulus, an imminent risk or an affliction to provoke or accelerate the speed of behavioral change, but undoubtedly the status quo has to change so that the behaviors of those who are part of it change in agreement. Can you identify the key points to change this status quo?

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