You’ve just got back from a meeting. You completed a written book. You aced that course. What are you heading regarding all the notes in your ideas and journal in your head? Over the past year, I am learning more about what it requires to spark and lead large-scale social change (especially from these people). Among the most crucial things I’ve discovered is this: building recognition is insufficient. If you want to make change in this global world, you need to start by raising recognition. There’s lots of evidence that suggests that people need to find out about an issue before they will act on it.
But there’s also a lot of proof that shows that knowledge alone won’t catalyze action. If you wish to make a change, you will need to find ways to translate information into action. That means building organizational will and developing concrete ways to aid behavior change. Information does not spawn organizational will to change naturally.
Organizational will does not magically morph to behavior change. Each of these is a leap, and you need to engineer the jumps. Look at this in an individual context. But only 40% of Americans do it. We are aware of the issues associated with too little sleep. We realize what the answer is: sleep more.
And yet handful of us to convert that knowledge into action. Some individuals lack the will. Sure, it would be nice to sleep more, but if it’s not a priority, it might not feel worth trying to accomplish. Others have the will but lack the support to actually make the change.
How will they carve out the time to sleep more? What can they change in daily routines to help them get to bed earlier? Without the will, without support for behavior change, we don’t change. Imagine efforts to enhance sleep that takes the understanding as confirmed. You might concentrate on building will by showing before and after photos of people who have made the change.
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You might produce a health calculator that helps people see how much they may be harming themselves by not sleeping. You might encourage couples to compete with one another to see who can sleep the longest. Or think about behavior supports for change. You might offer sleep coaching and celebrate progress in terms of hours of sleep banked. You might make an alarm clock that will only wake a person 7 or even more hours after it is set.
I suspect any of these activities, the silly ones even would achieve more powerful outcomes than another extensive research study on the advantages of sleep. Now think about the parallels in institutional change. Take diversity and inclusion initiatives. Lots of us know that we now have good arguments for making our establishments more inclusive of more diverse perspectives, stories, and participants. How can we convert that knowledge into organizational will?