Consequences are motivational. We choose (consciously or unconsciously to do certain things that we believe will bring us pleasure. We also choose (consciously or unconsciously to avoid doing certain things if we believe they will cause us pain or discomfort. Change in human systems is driven typically by either the positive consequences of achieving goals and visions of desired change or the negative consequences that may result if change does not occur, such as potential loss of productivity revenue, key employees, job, and loss of the business itself. This holds true for individuals and teams, though in many systems such consequences are not clear. For goals to be accomplished most effectively, all parties involved must be clear about the consequences of following through with or failing to follow through with their agreements.
To ensure change efforts in your organization are poised for the greatest possible success:
• make sure that those involved clearly understand the reason for the change and the desired outcome
• make sure that those involved understand their respective roles and responsibilities for accomplishing established goals
• understand what consequences, positive or negative, effectively motivate each individual, and
• clearly communicate the individually relevant positive and negative consequences of succeeding and failing to implement the change.
For many, the consequences of accomplishing goals and fulfilling agreements are sufficient motivators. For others, further motivation is needed and may take the form of additional coaching, disapproval of leaders and peers, loss of status or position, and even loss of job. What works depends entirely on what motivates any individual. Many efforts at change have failed due to a notable absence of clear and motivating consequences.
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