Organisational Change Management Volume 1

Framework 41 Changing Minds


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For mind change to be effective, it must involve changes in behaviours.

There are 2 main distinctions in differences in changes of minds:

i) the difference between the young child's original formation of mind and what it takes to change a mind once formed

ii) the difference between a deepening of the mind that occurs when one learns more about the subject or enhances one's skills, and a genuine transformation of mind, where one's knowledge and skill move in a new direction

There are 4 main elements or factors involved in successful mind change:

i. 6 arenas

ii. 4 entities

iii. 7 representative formats

iv. 9 levers

NB These need to be understood and used skilfully to handle change

Six Arenas

There are 6 different arenas in which mind changing can take place. It is like an inverted pyramid

"... large-scale changes involving the diverse population of a region for an entire nation

large-scale changes involving a more uniform or homogeneous group

changes brought about through works all of art or science

changes within formal instructional settings

intimate forms of mind changing

changing one's own mind..."

Howard Gardner, 2006

Examples of first arena are political leaders, such as President Kennedy, Nelson Mandela, etc; the second arena includes organisations, corporations, clubs, etc; the third arena includes Karl Marx, Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, the Beatles, etc; the fourth arena includes schools, etc,; the fifth arena includes the family, friends, work mates, etc; the 6 arena, it is usually linked with an external agent or factor.

Four Entities

The 4 entities of mind change are

i. Stories (narratives that describe events that unfold over time)

ii. Theories (relatively formal explanations of processes in the world)

iii. Concepts (an interpretation of worldly events)

iv. Skills (practices of which an individual is capable of performing).

For example, representing multiple versions of the same concept can be an extremely powerful way of changing someone's mind, ie describing the concepts in words, numbers, graph, diagram, cartoon, etc

Another example: it is difficult to change people's minds about what intelligence is (a concept), how it operates (a theory) and how to assess it (a skill).

Seven Representative Formats

The 7 formats are

i. Reason (logic)

ii. Research (collection of relevant data)

iii. Resonance (the extent that it feels right)

iv. Representational redistributions - deliver your message in a variety of appropriate formats. Such formats may include engaging narratives (stories); startling numerical information; logic; reasoning; graphic depictions, such as charts or cartoons, humour, demonstrations and simulations, vivid descriptions of enticing or disturbing scenarios; existential (asking the big questions); aesthetic (examining instances in terms of the artistic properties or capturing the examples themselves in works of art); hands-on (looking directly with tangible examples); cooperative or social (engaging in projects with others where each makes a distinctive contribution to successful execution).

Furthermore, 2 important outcomes result from representing a topic in several ways:

- people learn in different ways, ie some people learn better from stories; others from social or artistic entries

- conveys to the staff the idea that topics can be conceived of in more than one way

Most importantly, embody the message in your own behaviour. By delivering your message through a mix of formats, you increase the chance of your audience understanding your idea. Thus there is a greater chance of your audience being able to let go of firmly entrenched notions and embrace new ones.

i. Resources and rewards (used to encourage positive reinforcement)

ii. Real world events (natural, man-made, etc)

iii. Resistances (as we become older, our views and perspectives strengthen. This increases the chance of resistance to change)

Thus change is most likely to occur when the first 6 formats operate in the same direction and the resistances are relatively weak.

Reason and research appeal to the cognitive aspects of the human mind; resonance connects with the affective component. Resonance can be linked to a relationship with a person who is reliable and is respected.

All are linked to rhetoric - which is an important vehicle for changing minds.

"...rhetoric works best when it is linked with tight logic, draws on relevant research, and resonates with an audience..."

Howard Gardner, (2006)

Each lever of change is strongest in a particular format

"...reason and research are most important for those involved in intellectual argumentation; resonance comes to the fore in intimate relations; resistances are particularly notable in formal educational settings when new theories have been introduced; leaders of large groups often rely on the appreciable resources at their disposal but are also buoyed or undercut by real world events..."

Howard Gardner, 2006


"In terms of mind changing levers......there needs to be a clear and reasoned statement for the proposed mind change (which includes research into why traditional authority structures no longer work); substantial resources need to be devoted to the change (which would involve several teams working over many months); powerful resistances must be recognized (eg, most employees are used to top-down structures); resonance must be cultivated (eg, reinforcing the idea that it is pleasurable to work together on consequential problems with individuals whom one likes and respects); and real world events......must be recognized and exploited. Perhaps most important, the leader who seeks to bring about the change of mind must attempt to capture and convey the desired shift in a multiplicity of formats (representational redescription). If the new way of thinking is embodied in multiple forms over a significant period of time - if it is well stated and well embodied in spoken policy, in modelled behaviours, in groups that actually do what they are intended to do - then and only change of mind likely to occur throughout the important note about resistance. One can - and must - go through an exercise of deep and pervasive mental surgery with respect to every entrenched view: define it, understand the reasons for its provenance, point out its weaknesses, and then develop multiple ways of undermining that view and bolstering a more constructive one. In other words, search for resonance and stamp out resistance. Consider such entrenched views......there are usually good reasons why such entrenched views persist and defy ready abandonment. Yet there are times when the entrenched view is counterproductive, the need for a counter-story acute. Having identified this challenge, it is the task of the authorized leaders to determine the best ways in which to challenge the earlier representation, demonstrate its limitations, suggest reasons for another perspective, and embody the alternative stories in as many impressive and diverse formats as possible. Only if an individual truly becomes convinced..." will they change their thinking and behaviours

Howard Gardner, 2006

Nine Levers(formats or 9 multiple intelligences)

"...when a mind change occurs, how is that shift expressed in the unique language of the mind".....we take information through our eyes, our ears, our hands, our nostrils, our mouths, and speaking loosely, we can speak of visual or tactile or gustatory information......actual thinking takes place in several different formats that rely for delivery on the sensory organs..."

Howard Gardner, 2006

The idea of multiple intelligence goes against the view of single intelligence which claims the following:

"...1. Intelligence is a single entity.

2. People are born with a certain amount of intelligence.

3. It is difficult to alter the amount of intelligence - it's ' in our genes' so to speak.

4. Psychologists can tell you how smart you are by administrating IQ tests or similar kinds of instruments..."

Howard Gardner, 2006

Intelligence is defined as a

"...biopsychological potential to process specific forms of information in certain kinds of ways..."

Howard Gardner, 2006

Remember: a change of mind involves a change of mental representation.

The more of an individual's intelligence you can appeal to when making an argument, the more likely you are to change a person's mind.

There are 9 intelligences to work on in changing minds that come under 4 headings (symbolic analysis, non-canonical, personal and existential)

A - Symbolic analysis (primarily works with symbols and strings of symbols and associated more with skills)

i. linguistic (spoken and written language; includes the subsets, such as conversationalists who can secure useful information by skilled questioning and discussion with others, and rhetoricians (speakers/writers) who are able to convince others of a course of action through the use of stories, speeches or exhortations)

ii. logical-mathematical (this involves reasoning and understanding numbers and is associated more with concepts, stories and theories)

Some examples of the first 2 include

" individual relatively stronger in language (the prototypical poet or orator) or in mathematical (the skilled hedge fund manager) or in logical (the expert planner) skills..."

Howard Gardner, 2006

B - Non-canonical (primarily works with material objects)

iii. musical (facility in the perception and production of music, such as musicians, singers, etc)

iv. spatial (capacity to form images in one mind, such as pilots, sailors, designers, etc)

v. bodily-kinesthetic (the capacity to solve problems or to create products using your whole body, or parts of your body such as your hand or your mouth, such as surgeons, artisans, athletes, etc)

vi. naturalist (capacity to make consequential discriminations in the natural world of plants, animals, clouds, rock formations, etc)

C. Personal

vii. interpersonal (discriminate among persons, figure out their motivations, work effectively with them and, if required, manipulate them, ie sensitivity to others that includes a person's temperament or personality, ability to anticipate the reaction of others, the skills of leading and capacity to meditate).

Some ways to handle individual differences include

- argument, facts and rhetoric (Can argument, with its logical components, appeal to the person? What role do facts, information and data influence this person's considerations? Are rhetorical flourishes or logically ordered propositions most likely to get attention and bring about changes?)

- central vs. peripheral routes (Is a person more likely to be influenced by direct or indirect discussions? Indirect methods include using questions, examples, tone of voice, gestures, pauses, well timed silences, etc)

- consistency (Is consistency in discussion important? Does this person care about whether the stated beliefs, attitudes and actions are consistent with one another? If consistency is important, how can you help this person deal with any inconsistencies?)

- stance on conflict (What is the impact of give and take in an argument? Is there preference for matching wits, or to avoid sharp exchanges? If one goes too far, how does one restore calm or equilibrium?)

- emotionally charged territory (What are the issues, ideas, etc about which this person feels strongly? Should one engage these or avoid them? Can this person be engaged around areas of strong feeling? How does one avoid the minefield that stands in the way of the desire to change? Is this person motivated more by attraction to what he/she likes, or by fear of what he/she dislikes?)

- current scripts - content (on any topic people will have their own views that have been consolidated over the time. It is important to know beforehand what the views are and how strongly they are held. By talking with others who know them, doing background checks including doing a Google check, reading any of their publications, etc, information will be gleaned on the person's strength of views. It is best to build on these views)

- current scripts - form (as individuals vary in the symbols systems, formats, or intelligences, etc in which they have habitually encoded their mindset, it is important to pitch your contacts with them in their most preferred formats, intelligences, etc, ie embed the new in those familiar forms)

NB It is important to avoid egocentrism, ie becoming ensnared in one's own view of events, ie

"...the purpose of mind-changing encounter is not to articulate your own point of view but rather to engage the psyche of the other person. In general, the more that one knows about the scripts and the strengths of the other person, the resistances and resonances, and the more that one can engage these fully, the more likely one will be successful in bringing about the desire to change - or at least holding open the possibility of such changes..."

Howard Gardner, 2006

Furthermore, sometimes it is preferable to work through intermediaries, rather than the risk the likelihood of an unnecessary clash

viii. intrapersonal (knowledge of self - including a good working model of himself/herself; can identify personal feelings, goals, strengths, fears and weaknesses; has the capability to distinguish own feelings, needs, anxieties and idiosyncrasies, and to assemble them in a way that makes sense and is useful in achieving various personal goals). How to build on one's successes and how to learn from one's reaction to events, whatever their outcome.

" short, having a reasonably accurate mental representation of oneself as a human being, alone and with others, and being able to monitor and, if necessary, to bring about change in that mental representation..."

Howard Gardner, 2006

It is not easy to assess intrapersonal intelligence as everyone is different and it is basically a subjective process

D. Existential

ix. existential (it allows human capacity to ponder on the big questions, such as

- who are we?

- why are we here?

- what is going to happen to us?

- why do we die?

- what is it all about in the end?

Howard Gardner, 2006

It involves faith and is linked with finding meaning in work and life

In summary

- there are 6 arenas; 4 kinds of ideational content; at least 8 representational formats; 7 separate levers.

- all the above helps us conceptualize

"...what people are thinking, how they are thinking, and how, when necessary, that thinking can be changed..."

Howard Gardner, 2006

- it is hard to delineate between the difference intelligences as there is much overlap.

- leaders focus on 2 tools, ie stories and role models

(source: Howard Gardner, 2006)


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