Gradually then suddenly

April 29, 2015

downloadRural Spain, 1920s.  Two characters have just met in Hemingway’s novel The Sun Also Rises.  Each one is trying to figure out what the other is doing there.  One of them cuts to the chase, asking the other, ‘How did you go bankrupt?’  The other responds, ‘Two ways. Gradually, and then suddenly’.* So often this tempo of change – gradually and then suddenly – can be frustrating and derail the best change efforts.  We all love instant results, whether we are trying to make personal or organisational change.  So how can we accelerate results in this two-speed change economy? Make momentum your best friend:  Throw everything behind the change for the first 30, 60 or 90 days.  The research on personal change says it takes 21 continuous days to create a new habit.  Building momentum early gives you that tipping point into speed.  Often going too slowly, like driving a car in first gear, makes  people simply lose interest. Do a Disney:  One of Disney’s success strategies is ‘Think big, start small and go fast’.  Starting small breaks the overwhelm of change into an immediate, tangible next step.  No matter how large the task at hand, identifying and executing that first small step is doable.  Make progress visible:  This is the advice to create and sustain behavioural change from Dr Jason Fox one of the best motivation strategy and design experts on the planet.  Celebrate and publicise every milestone. The power of small wins will get you that big win.  Turn gradual and slow into fast and successful.  Please comment: what strategies have you used?

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