The Glue of Behaviour Change

Change-making is not a singular thing, rather it is viewed more as an index. That means that the more of these different factors that are present, the greater the likelihood of change. The latest episode of Censemaking: The Innovation Podcast looks at the things that tie change-making efforts together.

I recently concluded the first season of Censemaking: The Innovation Podcast summarizing what has been covered in each of the ten episodes. The heart of this is ten factors for change and how they come together as an index, not a list. That means that they go together and build on one another.

I also introduce the last of the ten factors: glue. Glue brings together strategies, processes, techniques and tools (one of the other factors).

It’s what connects things together and, like glue, absorbs into and binds what it seeks to connect.

Ten Factors for Change

The ten factors profiled or mentioned in the first season are:

  1. Knowledge
  2. Skills
  3. Confidence
  4. Outcome Expectations
  5. Conditions
  6. Environment
  7. Social Support
  8. Time and Space
  9. Tools
  10. Glue

This first season has focused on the building blocks of change. These ten factors that if applied in earnest can help us to grow and transform organizations, communities, and ourselves. We can think of these in two groups: individual-influenced change and shared-infuenced areas of change.

A big myth that we’ve covered this season is that we are the masters of our own change and destiny. While we do contribute a big deal to our own change efforts, we can’t separate ourselves from the communities, organizations, families, and teams around us who enable, constraint and support change.

Individual Factors

We begin by having knowledge about the problems that you’re facing in the means to potentially solve them. So knowledge is really that building block that everything else rests on. The second factor is having the right skills because it’s one thing to know something and entirely another to actually do it. (In reality, knowledge and skills often come together through something called praxis.)

And in the process of that, we come to the third: Confidence. We need to have some confidence that what we’re going to do or intend to do is going to achieve the kind of outcome that we’re hoping to accomplish. And the last of these individual factors are outcome expectations, knowing and framing what it is we can expect and creating strategies to be able to get there.

This is about seeing the future and reaching for it. It’s about what we can expect from us as individuals and setting ourselves up for success.

Shared Factors

The second group of these issues goes beyond individuals into the spaces that we create and then habit. This also involves giving ourselves time and metaphorical space to sit with problems, engage in sensemaking, and to learn and reflect. Another factor is having the conditions that support our change recognizing that these can change quickly.

All of this sits within a larger environment and considered the physical social, and as well as historical environment that we inhabit. It means designing spaces where we can do beautiful work. Beauty is a big part of change-making.

Lastly, we can’t do this alone. We need social support to be successful in the long term.

These latter set of factors are the ones that we can design for together. They’re the ones we can shape, even if they’re outside of our own individual control.

Just Add Glue

The last two factors are tools and what I call glue. Now, of course that’s not the scientific term for it, but what it means is it’s not literally glue, but it’s viewing these together as a group that works together. These are things that, with glue, allow us to build real sustainable strategies for success. When we have glue, we can use our tools and techniques. better.

This dispels that myth that if you do just one of these things and you do it really well you’re likely to achieve large scale change. While it’s possible, it is far less likely. I’ve never seen any substantive change come from optimizing efforts on one factor at the expense of the others. I’ve also rarely seen all ten factors utilized successfully, which speaks to the challenge of innovation and behaviour change. However, this should give us hope because it means we can work with some factors while we seek to improve performance on others. Maybe we don’t have the right skills. We can create other areas of our life and environment that can perhaps support those and get us to a place where those things actually come into being.

The more of these things, we do the better, the quality of our performance, the amount of persistence and endurance of our efforts. The more likely we are to change specifically glue are the techniques, the methods and the strategies for change. They are something that connects all of these other factors together in the implementation of some type of plan to make changes.

They are the ways to leverage the other nine factors not to lead them necessarily, but to bring them together. Giving people tools though, isn’t really that helpful if you don’t have a focus for them. So in our next season of the podcast, we’re going to begin to look at this area of glue, these specific tools, techniques, and strategies for taking your ideas forward.

And we’ll continue to rely on these nine or 10 foundational aspects of change-making that we’ve covered in season one.

Another thing we’re going to look at is how to bring these things in sync. How do we work together with all of these different factors to produce change in the real world? The practical examples of change-making will be featured using real-world case-studies.

Lessons from Season One

Before I go, I like to end the podcast with a short three-point list of key lessons. Here are the ones from season one:

The first is that change Isn’t a single thing. It’s more of a combination of things that we think of less than the list and much more as an index. Second, tools, techniques, strategies, and practice are the glue that ties all of these individual factors. Third, we can design change if we know what to do, and we can draw these 10 factors together to help us innovate and create a difference in the world we’re looking to make.

Thanks for reading and for listening. This is just the start of more multimedia ways to learn the art and science of change-making and innovation. Stay tuned for more to come as season two debuts in the weeks ahead.

For more information on Censemaking: The Innovation Podcast click and subscribe here:

Photo by Qinghong Shen on Unsplash and Scott Sanker on Unsplash

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