Monday, 2 June 2014

Obsessive focus on behaviours

An excerpt from the book Homo Imitans by Leandro Herrero:

Confronted with the execution of a strategy (problem solving, culture building or any other aim), we are always offered a choice of routes: world I and/or world II. As we know, traditional management’s default position is world I. In the following chapters, I will address each of the world II components on their own. Each of them relates to disciplines in the social and/or network sciences and all of them contain a fair amount of counter-intuitive principles. Mastering the combination of these components or disciplines is the basis for Viral Change™. As the graph on the previous page summarizes, the art of social infection requires:

(1) Obsessive focus on behaviours
The first discipline is behavioural change management which is well-anchored in traditional behavioural sciences. I am still surprised to see how the management world remains filled with folk psychology and half-baked behavioural answers, eagerly embraced by people in search of quick fixes. Invalidated behavioural concepts are widespread and anybody in ‘management’ or ‘HR’ seems to be a de facto expert in the matter. I’m advocating for the application of some standards, like those needed to master accounting or running a production line.

When it comes to ‘people’, it seems anything goes. The results are things such as ludicrous incentive schemes which reward exactly the opposite of what they intend to promote or extraordinarily complex competence frameworks that seem copied word-for-word from the latest management book on the shelves. Chapter 4.1 will explore key concepts about behaviours in the context of social infection of the viral change type. As it will be impossible to summarize the whole discipline of Behavioural Change Management in one chapter, I will focus on a few key concepts that are crucial or simply not well understood.

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