Outside The Box Media and Democracy: Change or Die Book Review by Hugh Klein

Out of the Box articles are independent of the Otaki Mail

NO15_democ-change-die.jpgChange or Die! “Of course I could and would change if that was the choice”, you may be thinking to yourself. Really? You’d be the exception, Deutschman points out. How many of us change our habits with regard to diet, exercise, smoking, … even prescription medicine, we’re not very good at. But Deutschman doesn’t stop there. He has studied why it is so difficult, and more importantly, what we must do if we want change to come more easily.On a personal level that would already make interesting reading, but perhaps the greater value lies in his accounts of how organisations can — indeed need to — work differently. How successful are we as a society in addressing such issues as education, criminal rehabilitation, the medical system, religion, environment, etc? The author takes us through a number of situations in intimate and fascinating detail, where some genius has found a way to create change in people’s behaviour. He has analysed what they did in common, and effectively we learn from them as we go along, how we can bring this with us into our own lives and organisations.

Current thinking relies heavily on the three F’s: Facts, Fear, and Force. They don’t work! Environmental groups have been putting facts to the public, to private enterprise, to councils, to government, for decades. Many have added fear and some have added force, but let’s face it — it is probably not too much to say we’re making the planet die rather than changing our behaviour. Even the profit motive is often not enough. His tale of General Motors and Toyota is illuminating; as also his tale of IBM.If you want change in your self, your work place, your family, your organisation — use the three R’s: Relate, Repeat, and Reframe. The first one, Relate, means that we need a personal relationship to motivate us. As an excellent example, he tells how he went to a gym and hired the best personal trainer money could buy. And the guy might have worked wonders — probably did — with people who could relate to him, but Deutschman could not; and didn’t lose any weight at all. Later, he found a personal trainer with whom he just ‘clicked’, and losing weight became effortless and enjoyable. The principle holds right up to the corporate level. But this is only a mnemonic. To get the full meaning out of all of them is a longer tale which Deutschman tells with persuasive clarity and interest. So I will limit my comments to another three R’s — I can Recommend you Read it and you will be well Rewarded.

Author: Alan Deutschman, Publisher Harper Collins, 2007

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