The oft repeated rule is “do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” Catchy, huh? Here’s the problem with that belief-it assumes that others self-interest is the same as yours. How reliable is that?

Organizations spend a lot of time, money and focus on trying to get people to act the way they “should” about matters only loosely linked to performance and happiness. “Work/life balance” is one example. Evidence that someone is “out of whack” is often a spurious conclusion. Forcing our views on others because we think we know best is presumptuous at best. At it’s worst, it erodes motivation (because you can’t motivate someone without understanding what interests them) and weakens relationships.

The three key elements in changing behavior are 1. Information, 2. Motivation and 3. Behavior. Oftentimes attempts to influence behavior include 1. Communication 2. Telling people what they “should” want and 3. Training.

It’s no wonder managing change is so frustrating. Assuming motivation is a poor substitute for actually finding out.

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