Lead to Transform: Why we Fail at Change

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Original Date: October 10, 2019
The only way to stay ahead of the game, especially in the current climate of turbulence, disruption and high-velocity markets is the ability to change and adapt. 
Have you been thinking or trying to change, adapt or improve something and feel you are not capable yet? What about your team, your organization?
 
Socrates said “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new“.
 
That sounds simple, so why is it so hard to create change?
 
In this live webinar, Fran Cherny, Managing Director at Axialent will share lessons and insights from the past 15 years of working with organizations, teams and individuals who are trying to create change fast. He will share best practices, common pitfalls and some concrete steps people can take to make change happen
During the webinar, Fran will go through the three levels of change and how to recover faster when you fall into a trap. 
 
You will learn:
– why it is so difficult to change
– what makes us fail over and over again when we try to change
– how to really make change happen 
 
When:
10 October 2019
11am ET / 5pm CET

 

Transcript

Barbie:

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Lead to Transform webinar, Why We Fail At Change. This is one in a series of webinars where we connect for 45 minutes to an hour to bring to life the challenges we see in the market and what to do about them. We have invited Fran Cherny, Axialent’s Managing Director, who has been sharing this content with our clients during the last year and gotten great feedback. And we thought it would be really good to share it with a larger audience.

Barbie:

During the webinar, he’ll engage in a dialogue on how to really make change happen. He’ll talk about the three levels of change and how to identify patterns and share some easy to apply tips to get you started. We will host a Q and A at the end of the session. If you have any questions during the presentation, you can use the Questions application in the side panel, and we will answer them later in the call. So with that, I hand it over to you, Fran.

Fran Cherny:

Thank you. Hi everyone. Actually, I’m going to put on my camera at least for 10 seconds to say hi. So I’m more used to give this talk about this content, I would say with a lot of people. And it’s a bit weird for me, actually, to connect through online, I would say. So it’s also a learning experience for me. So I’m going to turn off the camera when I do the presentation or maybe put it back when we do the Q and A.

Fran Cherny:

Some comments about the presentation. First of all I hope you enjoy it and you find it valuable. But mainly there are going to be sometimes we’re going to be asking you to participate in some way. Although maybe you will not be actively be sharing at that time. So please, as much as you participate you can write down some things there, thumbs up, thumbs down, whatever you find as responses to the questions I’m going to be putting. That’s going to help, I think, you go through the presentation in a way that is more engaging for you because you make it more your own story. I’m going to turn the camera off and I’m going to kick off from here.

Fran Cherny:

Good. So, I think the invitation it’s Why We Fail At Change, Changing to learn, learning to change. And I assume that if you’re here it’s because there are something in your life or something in your team or in your organization that you find that is not working as expected or you’d like to develop, at least something you would like to change and it’s not working as you want. But the first thing… This was my introduction, but the first thing is I would like to change the subject. I want to move from Why We Fail At Change to Making Change Happen. So I want to move in a way and I hope that through this presentation, you can connect the two things. Because if we understand what the blockers are, what is coming on the way, maybe it’s going to be easier for us to really start making something different.

Fran Cherny:

So let’s dive into it. One of the questions I always I ask is why we’re talking about this topic. And I want to bring the context in which we’re in at least where we find working with big organizations everywhere these days. So we are part of a bigger system. We are all connected more and more. And the current landscape in which various technologies, the internet of things, mobility, the cloud, big data and analytics, social collaborations. All these technologies are disrupting entire industries. So I can more or less know where you come from because I saw a bit of which companies you work before and you belong to one of these industries for sure, most of you I think. And you can see how all these industries are getting disrupted. The automotive, the transportation, the music industry, how we travel is changing completely. How we gather data, how we sell to consumers. Everything is changing because of all these changes.

Fran Cherny:

So in this context, the other piece is if you’re making money, you’re going to be disrupted. So if you belong to an organization who is doing well, you’re selling to someone, I can guarantee you there is someone in Silicon Valley trying to, or someone near you trying to capture that business. That’s how it is. So this looks pretty scary. That’s what I find when I go to organizations, the whole topic of change, the whole topic of knowing why things are not just like they were. And I think that that’s very important. If things were like just they were, maybe there’s no that much need to change unless we have an interest to evolve. And remember, many things doing thousands of years we’re more or less the same. So what I would say is the speed of change is the big difference these days. So just remember that 20 years ago we didn’t have internet. So that’s the moment in which we are. And 100 years ago, we didn’t fly through the oceans, no one could connect continents.

Fran Cherny:

So all this is happening at a speed that is creating in a way that is our brain is not adopting fast enough to that change. So that’s why it looks pretty scary. So this is what I found. We found that most companies or most organizations or most people are talking these days about. So everyone wants speed agility, whatever you call it. Everyone wants more innovation. So no matter which company I work with, they in a way say, some of the things are all of these together. So no matter the industry. We need more collaboration. We need to break the side doors, we need to put the teams to work in a more customer centric way. So they need to come together. But at the same time they don’t work in the same office any more. We want people to be more courageous, we need the new ideas, the new things.

Fran Cherny:

So these are the things that most companies, again no matter which industry are talking about. And the other thing that is very interesting is that in today’s world, it’s not like 50 years ago when people went to work and they were just expecting to get in at 9:00 AM, leave at 6:00 PM and that was your time for work and all the other things you do outside. Today everybody is talking about work-life integration, different ways of calling the integration of the mind, the heart, the body, and the spirit part of ourselves. So we want to express who we are at work. And most of companies and all of us, we’re demanding that from the places where we’re at. So I hope all this story makes sense. But I want to create a context and I assume and you can tell me later if this makes sense. But I think this is at least what we have found in working with many companies around the globe, which are the most common things that are happening in the context and what people are demanding from the organizations and what organizations are demanding from people.

Fran Cherny:

So the question I have for all of you, and this is the time where we start the work together, is please think about this. Take a minute. I’m going to pause for a minute. And just try to answer this question to yourself. So one thing that I want to share is, I’ve been talking about organizations the world. Now I want to get much more into our individual situations. Why do we want to change, what do we want to change? And then we will collect it back to organizations. But I will use as the resource will have to work each of us. We don’t have hear the organization but we have each of us. Then we can extrapolate that and link to the things and organizations. So the question is, what do you want to change about yourself to be more capable, happier, and feeling better shape for what’s coming? And when you think, think of something that you think is going to make a difference in your life, it’s going to be a quantum leap in a way. You say, “Yes, if I be better at this, everything will be better.”

Fran Cherny:

Okay. I will assume for a second that you already have it. If you don’t have it, it’s good if you find it soon. But I will keep going from here. What I think is very important, or my suggestion for the presentation is that, if you keep this in mind, everything will be easier because that’s another thing that is for me today there is a trend that we all need to change everything if not people go through to new events and they go to organizations to get new trainings. And we assume that it’s true that we need to change on everything. And one of the key issues we’re going to talk about is that that’s one of the problems, the lack of focus and the lack of thinking, “This is the thing that’s going to make a difference,” and trying to change 10 things at the same time. One of the key reasons why it is so hard to change. Because we are scattered, we are thinking of many different things and not focused on the right things that are going to really make a difference. And that’s true for people, for individuals, that’s true for teams, and that’s true for organizations.

Fran Cherny:

So I hope you find something. Let’s take from here. So this is the moment where my presentation can last 20 more seconds with what’s going to come. Because the answer is very simple for this question. Just do it. So usually when I put this, I cannot see you now. But now is if you hate me or if you’re smiling to it. But actually it’s true. You know what to change, just do it. It’s as easy as I’m saying it. Now that’s how it looks but it’s not that way. I know. That’s why we’re all discussing these days is a trending topic, why is it so hard to change. So let me try to reveal why it is so hard, what the research says and what we found working with many individuals around the world.

Fran Cherny:

The first reason is because, and this is my inference. I’m going to be a bit challenging with you today. So you take it or leave it depending on where you are. Again, I cannot see your faces. But the first thing is that you, not you, all of us we are expecting a magic wand. We’re expecting the till that is going to make us change what we want to change. So we want the change to be easy, to be fast, and that it doesn’t take a lot of effort from us. And we are still expecting that one day that will happen. So the question is, why is it so hard to change? Why is not with the magic wand? So the main reasons I found is first thing is the confusion between being knowledgeable about something. So meaning reading about something and being able to.

Fran Cherny:

So this is a question I always ask. So if you need to know the one who has kids or if you have a niece or a nephew you know anyone you know or kids of your friends if you don’t have your own kids. So who would you trust take care of your kids while they’re swimming in the pool? Someone who read all the books about swimming or someone who has been rescuing people and swimming everyday for the last 10 years? So the answer is pretty obvious. But that’s not how we operate everyday. Usually we confuse knowledge and reading about things with the capacity to do things. So that’s why we go to trainings. So now I’m going to show it to you, that’s the second one that is how we learn. So if we are more than, even today, but more than 30 years old, this is how we learn. When we’re at school. But this is also how we learn today in many organizations. So we have someone giving a master class telling us what we should be doing and then we believe that then we can do it. So it’s more the same than reading a book.

Fran Cherny:

And that’s true in some cases. I’m not saying that’s not true in some cases. We want to see when is it true, depending on the level of challenge and when it’s not. So the how we learn has nothing to do with how we apply things later. So we isolate the places for learning instead of doing things on the job when things really happen. The third one is that we still have organizational systems, even the educational system still allow changing in some places. That is from the time this movie was built, in the ’50s. So we still have organizations that didn’t adapt. I would say organizations not only companies, it’s also an organizational system, it’s also the way we operate there for a time that doesn’t exist anymore.

Fran Cherny:

So let me show you also how this works from a climate change standpoint. So I’m going to put a little video on this. It’s not the full one. I can share the full one later.

Barbie:

Hey, Fran. This is Barbie. We cannot hear the sound. So I wonder if you have to turn up the audio and restart.

Fran Cherny:

You can’t hear a sound? Can you hear me, Barbie?

Barbie:

I can hear you. But we cannot hear the sound on the video.

Fran Cherny:

Okay. That’s not good. So let me see. I don’t know how to do that. So what do you suggest?

Barbie:

I wonder if the volume on your computer needs to be all the way up. Or check the little volume button on the side.

Fran Cherny:

Oh, no. I think that’s fine. We can try it, if not I will skip the video. So don’t worry. But I can share later. Let me say. Computer show. I don’t know. Let me try again and then you tell me if it works. So if it doesn’t work, we just… Let me see. Let me see if it works. If it is not, we skip the video and I share it. Can you hear it?

Barbie:

No. We still have no audio.

Fran Cherny:

Okay. So then I don’t know how to do it. Let me see. Anyway. Then I will skip the video and I will share the story. I think it’s going to be easier unless you know the solution.

Barbie:

I suggest you share what he talks about on the video.

Fran Cherny:

Okay. Then we can send you the video to all of you. So very quickly, this guy made a… So I’m going to share the story while I put the video so you can see what he’s doing. So actually what he did was, there were some engineers who turned, and now you’re going to see it, change the gears, change the way that this is built. And the reason I’m putting this is because we all have been said, and this guy did this because of that, that it’s just like riding a bicycle. So we know how to ride a bicycle. So now you’re going to see what they did to him. And what he’s saying is that none of us can ride this bicycle. So what they did was when he turned left, the bicycle could go to the right. And when you turn right, the bicycle will go to the left. It’s just a simple change in how you engineer this bike.

Fran Cherny:

And now you’re going to see him trying to ride it for the first time. So that’s the experiment. So look what happens when he tries to do it. So as simple as that. So in way what he’s saying here is he’s not a damn guy who cannot do these type of things. His brain is pretty wired for that. So let me pause there. That’s what he does.

Fran Cherny:

So the question is, that I want to put as the next slide let’s say. So I’m going to skip this. Give me one second. So Barbie, now I think you can take it. So the question is, how long it took this guy, because that’s the experiment he does and then you will see the full experiment, how long he took to this guy to be able to ride a bicycle in the new way? So here you have the options. This is a poll. Now Barbie you can explain how it works and how people can do it. But the question is, he said he practiced for five minutes each day. How long it took him to rewire his brain to be able to ride a bike in the new setting?

Barbie:

So people can click to vote. And people are voting. We already have 50% of the votes in. So let’s give it a few more seconds.

Fran Cherny:

Okay. I think I will give 10 more seconds. I think that’s the… Okay. Good. So Barbie can I…

Barbie:

You can close.

Fran Cherny:

We can move on. Okay. What you said is, 12% one week, 35% between one week and one month, and 42% between one and three months, and 12% more than three months. So here is the answer. You cannot hear but I want to share it with you. You’re going to see how he does it. Well, it happened after eight months. So this is after eight months, this happened, he was able to do it. And he shares in the videos is that even if the mobile in a way the sound of the movile or something, you get the vibe of the mobile, he will distracted, he would fall. So what this is saying is that, for him to rewire the brain from an old habit, something we learned since we were kids like almost everything we know, it took eight months of five minutes everyday until people get it. When we send you the video, it’s a seven-minutes video in total, you will see that he did the same with his kids. I’m going to share with you the answer but you can imagine that the answer about his kid is much lower because of the neuroplasticity in his brain.

Fran Cherny:

So what I want to share now is a way depending in the level of challenge, we might need different solutions. But that’s something we all get very confused with. So there is a first level of challenge that is, “I hear it, I understand, and I can implement.” So that’s okay when you read a book. And let me tell you something, there’s nothing more dangerous to me than someone who says, “I already know it. I attended the webinar, I attended the call, I read the book.” So the question is not if you understood it, the question is can you do it? And that’s one of the biggest confusion in all the things we do when we try to train ourselves. So this is like saying, “I read a book about how to get a new language,” but then you need to go to that new country and speak the language. So how many times we say, what I’ve been… So I learn French when I was a kid or a teenager. Six years. I can tell you when I go to Paris, I cannot say more than a couple of things because I don’t understand how they speak different from the this.

Fran Cherny:

So all the things happen. So the first level is hear it, understand, implement. And that happens many times. So I’m not saying by reading a book or by listening to a concept you can’t apply something tomorrow. Now I’m going to show you some examples of those. Then you have a level two challenge, that is I hear it, I understand it, requires effort, but I need to start practicing, and start implementing. But I can do it by myself. So if this is the kind of things that is… And even I was thinking of let’s say that you have an apple tree and you go at the beginning of the season where the apples come, you are one of the first ones coming, you can just get the low-hanging fruits let’s say very easily. But once people pass by you need to stretch a bit yourself and maybe climb a little bit to get the apples that are higher there in the there. That’s the level two.

Fran Cherny:

Now the level three is where you hear it, you understand it, it requires practice. But you realize that you need support. You cannot do it by yourself. So that’s the moment where you need someone to hold you, where you need someone to help you with some indications, or to even be a culture, a feedback. So now we’re going to see that. So one of the big issues that I see mostly is the following. Let me explain it in this way. Whenever we hear all of us about a new concept, so this is the axis is capacity from bottom up, and then time is in days from left to the right. And capacity meaning 10 I’m an expert, one is I’m at the lowest level.

Fran Cherny:

So usually we hear a concept and we believe that on day one, we master it. Start thinking of you or any colleague of you because usually it’s easy to see it with other people. They attended a session, “Yes, how to speak with honesty and respect, how to be more agile in the way I work. I need to do X.” So you believe you’re very good at it the day after, but that your colleagues are not or that they need it. So that’s the level one. Now you’re going to see. Now, the truth is this is that this is the curve of learning. Many for level two and level three, you’re going to see it now. So the question I ask you is, and you keep it to yourself. But it’s the question I ask you, I think you can put comments there if you can. I don’t know Barbie if people can do that. You can just share it.

Fran Cherny:

So how many days it takes based on the research to acquire a new habit? Now forget about the five minutes, eight months for the bike. That was example for the bike. But in general, what does research says about how many days it takes for any of us to acquire new habit, to rewire our brain so automatically we start doing the new thing? So what do you think that will be? So the answer is 66 days. That’s the time, and you can look at this also, I think someone who has a… It’s a very good book, Atomic Habits from James Clear. He has this research. 66 days is what it takes for us to acquire new habit, to get into a new learning, to be able to do it in a way that becomes more automatic. Not the way we react to things.

Fran Cherny:

So again, level one, it’s okay for the things that are as simple as hearing a concept like it could be I travel to a new place and I need to get to know the area around my hotel. That’s pretty okay in one day, you just walk around, you know where to buy certain stuff. It’s fine. That’s okay. But if you need to learn a new language because you’re going to stay there and you need to evolve in that, you’re not going to learn a new language the day after. So you will really need to understand even the culture. And I would say, the language depending on you or you did before could be at level two or level three. But usually, it’s at level three. You need support, you need a cult, you need someone to help you, you need someone to give you feedback.

Fran Cherny:

Again, you can do it by yourself depending on how many languages you speak before and how similar it is. Some people also are below capacity. Now again, what I want to state very clearly is that the main problem is that we all confuse level one with level two with level three challenge. And whenever we see something, our brain goes directly to think, “This is a level one problem.” So my suggestion to you is that next time you hear about anything you would like to change about, you would like to evolve, you would like to acquire, you think to yourself, “This is a level one,” then you can go back to this. “This is a level two. I can do it by myself but it will require practice or I need support.”

Fran Cherny:

And now let me go into the issue why it have to respond to that question also. Because we have blind spots. We don’t see things clearly because we have our own cognitive biases even about ourselves, about our colleagues, about what we’re capable. So the 66 days, I also want to relate it with this concept that Shauna Shapiro who is one of the main teachers on Mindfulness, and author a research which is fantastic. I suggest you get into that. And we’re going to send you her Ted Talk too. She says what you practice goes stronger. Because her research shows, and the research shows that the more you practice something over time, and this is the connection with the 66 days, you rewire your brain. We can all do it.

Fran Cherny:

So there is some research about the London taxi cab drivers and how they have developed their brains in a way that they can… because they need to remember the streets of London. So the moment you do research on their brains, it’s different from many of us. Because they develop that. So we can rewire our brain. But it takes practice. And one of the things that is very important about her research is whatever you are practicing, all of us grow stronger. And what she says is, when you practice the wrong things too, when you practice the habits that are not good for you, you’re also growing them stronger. So even in her Ted Talk she shares. When you are in a way blaming people and not liking people, that’s what’s going on in your mind, that’s how your brain is being developed. When you start connecting to people and assuming good intent from people, that’s how you will automatically start reacting to things when they happen.

Fran Cherny:

So it’s just an example. But remember, we’re always practicing. The question is, are we practicing the things that will put us in the right track for the things we want to evolve and change or are we practicing the opposite. But whatever you’re doing, you’re practicing. So this for me means whatever you do, is going to help you grow something. So the question then is, how can we, and this is the moment you need to respond, whatever you responded at the beginning that you want, become or be better. And the answer is by the way that we think, we talk and we do things. That’s the only way in a repetitive way. So if we change the way we think, we talk, and we do things, they will become the new norm, they will become the new way. But it will not happen with a magic wand.

Fran Cherny:

So let me go a bit deeper into how this works and how we, in a way, operate. So whatever we are getting in our lives is a result of what we do everyday. So there’s no way out. Whatever we are doing, the way we’re working with others, creating with others, or creating within ourselves that’s the result we get. And whatever we do is in a way, a representation or a way to show how it shouldn’t work. We don’t really need so. So it’s not the same to have certain mindsets than others.

Fran Cherny:

Now we’re going to get into that. So for example, if you believe that people are good in general, then you will treat people in that way and that’s how you will act and then you will get results based on that. I’m not saying always good, but I’m saying it’s different than if you have a belief that people are not good and then you’re always scared, checking what they will do, what will happen to you, that’s the way you will act and that’s the results you will get. Again, some others they will work, sometimes they don’t. The question is what you want. And I’m not saying is one extreme or the other but I think you are getting the sense of what I’m talking about. So the connection between one and the other.

Fran Cherny:

So the question is what are the mindsets and beliefs that are going to progress in the right track, that are going to help us or we will conduct it for the changes we want? So this is the question I want to ask you because this is one of the key things. So what is it that can be really big but you can’t touch it, it often gets in the way but you can’t see it? What is it? Because this is the main source of the difficulties we all have to change. And the main issue, one of the main blockers is our own ego because we are trying to protect who we are, how we are seen by others. And then it’s impossible to evolve. Because the only way out in a way to do new things. So this is like… Let me go back to the riding the bike. That’s why I love that video. So all of us, let’s assume that most of us know how to ride a bike. And we know how we got there. We fought 100 times. And at that time maybe we were not, it was not funny for us but maybe for our parents. But there’s no way out. We need to be open to failure, to fail, to fall in order to create any transformation or evolution. There’s no way out.

Fran Cherny:

For example with learning a language, I went through this. And also through that. And the only way is to be exposed to feedback, to people telling you, “This is the way you say this.” So at least you will improve faster. But it is so hard to do. Because you are protecting something and again, we can send you some things about vulnerability and the power of vulnerability for creating change. But when you are a leader in an organization, when you’re a family member, when you’re recognized by certain things, that’s when it becomes very hard. So the first thing is if you want to create change in certain deep things, you need to work with your ego, you need to ask him to be okay with it.

Fran Cherny:

So the other question is what kind of mindset do you have? So what kind of mindset do we have? Because we were wired because of how we learn and what I show you before. So think of organizations in the past, I don’t know, 100 years maybe. So within the last 30 years school, we were recognized by knowing. And that created what Carol Dweck, that I think she did a fantastic work on this, she called the fixed mindset. We called in Axialent the knower mindset. But I will connect with this mindset. And then you have the growth mindset. So if you want to change, evolve, be able to do things as an individual, as a team, or as an organization, we need to work on moving from how we were wired and the culture we were in since we were kids that is more connected to a fixed mindset to really open up a new whole world. And that’s a hard thing to do by itself.

Fran Cherny:

So what is it a fixed mindset? Is it when we think, I’m either good at it or I’m not. And then the growth mindset it says, I can learn anything I want. So it means I’m open to new things. Then when I’m frustrated I give up; When I’m frustrated I persevere. I don’t like to be challenged, that’s a fixed mindset. And start thinking about yourselves and the people around you, who wants to be challenged. Either you’re being challenged or you say why the hell you’re challenge me. At least side of you don’t matter what you show. So I want to challenge myself. When I fail I’m not good as I was saying when I fail, I learn. Tell me I’m smart, tell me I try hard. If you succeed I feel threatened, this is a competitiveness, if you succeed I am inspired. So think of an organization, think of a theme, think of a group of people working together where people can learn anything they want. When they are frustrated they persevere, they challenge themselves, when they fail they learn, they work hard, and when someone else succeeds, they feel inspired, they feel there is more possibilities.

Fran Cherny:

And then also my ability determines who am I in a way, know everything, my effort and attitude determine everything. So again this is just two different ways of approaching life. And again, I think we can rewire and we learn how to become fantastic fixed mindset people. Now we’re asking everyone to change and to evolve and to move fast and to be more agile. And then how we can do that from that place, there is no way. So I love this phrase from a colleague of mine, I am my own innovation project. For me this is the key thing to drive change in our lives. This is the key mindset that will create a change. If we see ourselves as a never-ending innovation project, if we treat ourselves like I’m constantly experimenting, this is what life is about. Our focus on progress over time. And I always decided to learn new things. That’s what life is about actually.

Fran Cherny:

So if I’m 30, 40, 50 years old and I learn everything already, we know that’s not true actually. So let’s stop pretending. And actually who do you want to learn more with, with people who are always trying to learn new things, who are curious, who are trying to get new stuff or for people who are always telling you how things should be? Well that’s also the same for people working around us. And again I know it’s easy to say hard to do. So I’m going to go more now into how to do it, how do you get there. And I’m going to give you again, some tips that try to do this in no more than 10 minutes so then we can move into Q and A. So how do we get there? How we know where start developing that learner mindset, that growth mindset, that I am my innovation project?

Fran Cherny:

The first thing is catch yourself right. This is my hypothesis. I’ve been testing this in many professions I did. So think of a time that you saw already in the last few months take a minute to think of a successful change you have made in your life because my hypothesis is that you know how to do it actually, you know how to start getting much more into that mindset to that place. And as I said, that’s what we need to develop. So I’m going to give you 10-15 seconds. Think of something that you were successful to changing, something very specific. So another question is you have a story, what made it work and stick? So why is that time was different when you were able to do with that? And I’m going to share now and I hope it connects with your experience. You will tell me also and you can ask your questions. But I will tell you what my experience and my experience with my colleagues working at Axialent says about what makes it stick and what make it work.

Fran Cherny:

The first thing is, I love this story, let’s say that you have five frogs by the shore of a lake. And two of them decide to jump into the lake. How many frogs you’ll still have by the shore after that? So I don’t know what you’re thinking. But most people say three. But the answer is five. Because there is a big difference between deciding to jump into the lake and actually doing it. And that’s exactly one of the problems, procrastination. We always make decisions but we do not implement them. So whenever you made a change you stop procrastinating and you say I’m going to start right now. Not tomorrow, not the day after. Right now. That’s the first thing. The second thing is you put in your agenda. So today we all work with calendars. We have meeting requests, we have calls, we have… So that’s how we work. Even we put our social life many times in our calendars.

Fran Cherny:

Whatever you don’t have in your calendar will not happen. And if you don’t put in your calendar is because it’s not as relevant as you’re saying. So let me tell you a tip. So if I want to meditate because I think that’s good for me, I put it in my calendar is there. If I want to train, I go for a run, it’s in my calendar, because then people know I have something to do at that time. And I know I have something to do at that time and if I need to change it, then I move it but I don’t just pretend that it was never there. So putting in your agenda is critical.

Fran Cherny:

The other thing is you need to find a coach, a coach meaning anyone who can support you. So whenever I’m talking about this, I’m talking about the level three challenges. The level ones you can manage. Level two I assume more or less too and whenever you cannot, is because it’s a level three one. So you need to find support sometimes is a buddy pair someone who is working with you, who attends meetings with you sometimes is maybe a relative, a family member, your… so whoever. Now what is very interesting about this is that whenever we ask someone to call us out and to give us feedback this is like the personal training when you want to train for anything and you know that you are going to a diet that is the typical one, if you have support or someone telling you, “Remember you said this, you said that. Well no, let’s cook this,” so then you have someone who is helping you. But the very interesting thing about this is that when someone call us out and make us pay attention to what we said, we first get annoyed. So pay attention to that, because that’s what’s going to happen. That’s the moment to breathe and say thank you. Because whoever is supporting us, they’re not doing what they want, they’re doing what we told them to do to help us. So that’s the third one, find your coach.

Fran Cherny:

And now I’m going to make a suggestion to all of you to keep it simple and start with something. That is, there’s something called Keystone habit. And again, we can send you some more research about this. And a Keystone habit… and we have this picture because Keystone habit comes from the idea of the Keystone that is supporting everything. That is my suggestion of how to change and evolve is that you need to start small, with very little things until you get into your 66 days of that. Is the five minutes every day until you make it. If you can get a little more, that’s perfect. But one of the issues is that we always are thinking about the end game and we never start. So a Keystone habit is something that doesn’t create a direct correlation with everything we want to change, but we know that will put us in a much better place.

Fran Cherny:

So let me give you a personal example of this. That is, I found that there are two things that help me to make my day much better, to be much more concentrated, to be much more focused actually three things. One is what I eat. For me, it’s not the same what I put in my body let’s say. So before a very important meeting, if I eat certain things, I get asleep I’m not like… so for me that’s carbs, carbohydrates. For other people might be other things. But what I intake every day is one thing. The second thing for me is having some one minute meditation, maybe three or four times during the day that I put in my calendar is time to pause to just take a minute to breathe. And I know… and that’s the feedback I receive, that people experience me in a much better… because one of the feedback maybe I got was “you’re always too accelerated”. So let’s pause for a second, let’s breathe and then the next two hours, I’m in a completely different space. And the other thing for me is to make sports. For me, having activity every morning or in the afternoon, doing something even biking, biking to my workspace, it creates a relaxation in my body that is helping me be much more focused and much more present in my meetings. So I’m telling you things that are pretty easy things to do.

Fran Cherny:

So a Keystone habit is something that is easy to do on your own, that you can do for at least five minutes every day and that will create a positive change in general in your life. So maybe I would say even the last thing I would request to you is, can you please think about one thing that meets these criterias? I don’t care if it’s the perfect thing. What I think is the way out from the problem of how we change is in this, because if we start doing this every day, then it becomes a new routine, a new habit. And then from here, we can take it to the next level. So I’m going to give again 30 seconds for you to think about something like this.

Fran Cherny:

Now there is a key concept that for me is very important for creating change and the concept is one percent better every day. So I always put as an example because the one that fits me, but you can in a way relate it to your own examples. When I train to run a marathon that I know is an example that many people put these days. So the way to do it is that you increase the miles you run once every week, but very little. So then you don’t notice it’s like moving from 10K to 10K and a half or to 11K. So this is the same. It’s like saying, “Okay, I’m going to cut… ” that’s also another personal example, “I’m going to cut sugar.” Maybe I will not cut it it all together, but I will put half spoon less on this. So it’s just my example, okay, find yours. But the key thing is… I love a phrase from a colleague of mine, a friend Nithya Shanti, who says, “We usually overestimate what we can do in three years, but we underestimate what we can do in one year.”

Fran Cherny:

So don’t forget that in order for you to be much better on something in three months from now, you just need to do one percent better every day. So you will not make it today, you will make it in 66 days more or less. But in 66 days, I can guarantee you, you will be a completely different person on that topic that you decide to change if you did it repeatedly, one percent every day. So just a summary. Choose something you would like to change, don’t procrastinate that’s a key thing. Start somewhere, put it in your calendar, find someone to support you have an accountability buddy. And again think of the one percent better every day.

Fran Cherny:

So the last thing I want to share before we go to questions is these are monks, Buddhist monks walking and what they do every day actually. And I love this quote what it says is, “Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water. And after enlightenment, chop wood and carry water.” So there’s no magic wand. That’s the main thing that I would love for you to take from this. The only way out is to practice, do what you believe in that is going to take you there, have a buddy to help you out when you are not, and giving them permission to give you feedback. And do the work until it becomes the new norm.

Fran Cherny:

And my last thing would be don’t try to do more than one at a time because that’s another source of frustration. And this can be applied to individuals, things, organizations is exactly the same. I’m tired… let me put it this way I didn’t want to say as strongly of going to organizations and actually asking me to give a keynote on something expecting that something will change the day after about these type of things. And I’m telling them, “You need to move from events, to processes for change, to helping people create that change in their real life situations one percent better every day. But I can tell you, after three months, more or less, you’re going to see a big difference. But at the beginning you will not notice.” So you saw the 66 days exponential curve.

Fran Cherny:

Good, so we’ll pause here. I will open it for questions. I hope you find it useful as a general, I will say sharing and I will also put my camera again just for you to see me again and respond to your questions. So Barbie, I don’t know if you are the one who opens that space.

Barbie:

Yes. So if anyone has a question, you can either use the questions box on your control panel, or you can raise your hand and I will unmute you.

Fran Cherny:

Good news is that the same people who started are here so that’s a very good sign. So I’m happy that you stayed. So now we’re reopen for questions so I think you need to put your hands up, let’s say virtually and Barbie will give you the chance to speak.

Barbie:

And in the meantime, Fran, there are some questions you might be able to answer. Now this topic is very relevant and I want to recommend it for people around me. How do I tell people to do this?

Fran Cherny:

I don’t believe I was that clear. And I assume that you also have second thoughts that you can share. So please feel free to. I see one hand up there but I don’t know if it’s from before but it’s from Anna.

Barbie:

Yeah, that’s from before.

Barbie:

I have here a question Fran. Why learn five minutes a day to learn how to ride the new type of bicycle instead of 30 minutes per day and try 20 days instead of 66?

Fran Cherny:

Okay, no questions.

Barbie:

I just asked a question I just read it-

Fran Cherny:

I thought it was going to be the most interesting part actually. When you challenge me or you ask me-

Barbie:

Fran, can you hear me? Fran, are you there?

Fran Cherny:

Okay. Barbie, do you have any question that anyone send or?

Barbie:

Yes, I do. Can you hear me?

Fran Cherny:

Well, I cannot hear you, Barbie. I’m sorry. Some people are… Let me check.

Barbie:

Can you hear me?

Fran Cherny:

Now I can hear you, I’m sorry. I know what happened technical-

Barbie:

So there was a question.

Fran Cherny:

Sorry.

Barbie:

Why learn five minutes a day learning to ride the new bike instead of 30 minutes a day and try for 20 days instead of 66?

Fran Cherny:

Well, I need an answer so first let me… Yes, you can see me. So I don’t know because I didn’t do the experiment. My assumption, but this is an inference is that it was too hard to try more than five minutes but maybe also it was how he set the experiment. So we might want to send him an email the guy… we’re going to send you the video the guy does a lot of experiments it’s online, you can see it, he has a TV show or a YouTube show I don’t know what it is. It’s fantastic, I think it’s Smarter Every Day. But I assume that some things trying more than five minutes every day is so hard and you fall so many times, and then you just can’t. But it’s a hypothesis, I don’t know the answer.

Fran Cherny:

But definitely, there are some things that you can try to do more time every day, and maybe capture the learnings before. What I also want to share is that that’s not always true. That’s how our mind works. We tend to believe that doing more per day might take there, it could be, but depending on the topic. Because sometimes you get tired of something is better to take it in a different way. So it depends for me on the topic. For me, that’s critical. Thinking it’s a level one, level two, level three problem, and what’s the best approach to this? Is it five minutes every day? And let’s see how it works. Is it 20 minutes every day? Is it splitting many times during the day? But remember whatever you’re practicing, will grow stronger. That’s it.

Barbie:

Thank you, Fran. I have another question. I would like to hear a little bit more about dealing with frustration and retrying.

Fran Cherny:

So I don’t know exactly what the question is. The one who wrote it want to clarify, in the meantime, I can speak a little about it. So dealing with frustration and retrying. So for me, what I would say is Keystone habit has a good thing that in a way ignite our energy, passion. So that’s why I will suggest that when we decide how to approach the change, is we try to do it in a way that is going to create good vibe, I would say. That’s the first thing. And there are ways in which we can do that. Sometimes we don’t know them by ourselves that’s why sometimes it’s good just to share with others. Just say, “Okay, I’m thinking of changing this, I’m thinking of working on this because I need to evolve, I need to get better.” That’s the first step just to be vulnerable enough to share it. And then just to maybe have some people sharing ideas with us, so they can help us think out of the box, because if we would know how to do it, we will be doing it.

Fran Cherny:

Now I would assume at the beginning, that there are going to be some frustration, and that we will need some support again, that’s why for me, the support comes before. So this is like when we fall, when we’re trying to ride a bike usually our parents come in and they say, “Okay, come on, let’s do it again. No problem. Let’s do it, let’s try it you’re going to get there.” So I think sometimes we need that encouragement. Now we are all different also. That’s why for me, the problem with these things is there’s no one solution. So whatever I’m sharing is some tips, some ideas, some suggestions that I think we all need to think about how that works for who we are and how we do things. So I think that’s very important. So that’s what I would say unless there’s some clarification on the question.

Barbie:

I actually have another question Fran. And if your question will not be answered before the top of the hour, we will reach out to you personally. Because there’s more questions than we can answer at this time.

Fran Cherny:

That’s perfect. You can send the questions, we can respond them on video or in written and then we can send them without any problem.

Barbie:

So the last question, why do you think it’s hard for organizations to engage in change processes versus one time efforts? Any advice on how to break or change this pattern?

Fran Cherny:

Well, that’s a big one at least for us. First of all, I think there’s one problem in organization is that they are trying to solve the problems and create a culture change from the mindsets of the old one which is a very hard one. That’s the first thing.

Fran Cherny:

The second thing for me is to show today there’s a lot of theme of experimentation and piloting. So for me, the best way to say, “Okay, let’s test it and learn. Let’s pilot it. Let’s use the innovation concept for the process of change itself.” So this is interesting because many companies are trying to do innovation and be more agile, but then the way they approach the problem is, let’s find the perfect solution of the great keynote speaker or the one month process that is going to make it. And then I will say, well, the way that you do product innovation is you test, you learn, you put it there, you do it in small size first, and then you apply the test and the learn and then you extrapolate it.

Fran Cherny:

So what I would say is, let’s start small and fast. That’s what I would say. And for me, the way to do it is to find the right champions, let’s say the people who think in that way and who are willing to try it, to pilot it with them. Because I think there are a lot of people today who has that intention and the question is to find them, and to be able to pilot with them. That’s what I would say, of the things that I found that work in the past or are currently working with some clients. But I still believe there’s a big issue there for organizations to change. They all are saying, “Culture change is the most important thing we need to do it, we need to do this.” But they are approaching the change with the same mindset from before. That is a fixed mindset in general.

Fran Cherny:

So let’s pause there because I know we’re on the hour I want just to share one more thing. We can ask any questions you want, we can respond, we can send you more materials. For me, the idea was to share all this with all of you. Hopefully it will help you in your level, it will help you on how you work with your teams. And it will help you if you’re a leader in an organization, how you approach this. The last thing I want to share is this picture. I always love this story that is, I think we all seek perfection, and we all seek the perfect plan. And I love this picture because the story for me, that I share about this is if you let’s say depart from Barcelona, where I am today, and you are in a flight to let’s say, Argentina, where I’m originally from, and you deviate one degree to the left, let’s say 10 minutes after you depart, where do you think you’ll land? You don’t land in Argentina. You might maybe land in South Africa, I think. I don’t know exactly the mathematics of that but maybe that’s where you will land.

Fran Cherny:

What this means is, whatever change you start doing that you deviate one degree to the right, you are already in a new trajectory. So don’t think that if you start making a change, and you don’t make it perfect, and you don’t go all the way, you are not changing something. I can guarantee you, you are in a new trajectory. And that’s why I think it’s always good to start anywhere and to do something. Because that by itself will be an experience that will inform who you are, how to do it, how to make it better next time. And you will definitely arrive somewhere else than the original trajectory you were at.

Fran Cherny:

So thank you all. That’s everything I wanted to share. Again, happy to share more, maybe follow up with some more information. But thank you all for being here and I hope you enjoyed and you got some value from it.

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