Most leaders really struggle to use plain language, especially when it comes to communicating something like strategy or a major change they are leading.
I see this nearly every time I work with a group of leaders in helping them tell their strategic story, or when using stories to build employee engagement or when they are trying to influence change in their organisations.
They don’t seem to be able to get past the formal language they are used to using in business.
In this series of blog posts I have explained the role of identity in changing behaviour, showed you a video to highlight using identity to influence behaviour, and then gave an example of changing teenage eating habits by tapping into their identity.
This blog post, the fourth in a series of five, is about using identity in a slightly different way – playing into who people don’t want to be.
I was in the lift yesterday and overheard a conversation between two guys who had obviously just been on a training course together. As part of the course they had to build something – I didn’t hear what it was – and one of the guys said; “It probably wasn’t very good, but I made it myself, so I thought it was amazing.” The other guy replied “Yeah, there’s something in that.” I had to bite my tongue from joining in and saying; “There sure is. Let me tell you what the research says.”
The identity model says our decisions are based on how we see ourselves, and who we believe we are (or want to be). Any time we have a decision to make, we ask ourselves three questions:
- What kind of situation is this?
- What kind of person am I?
- What would someone like me do in this situation?
This concept can be really useful when we are trying to influence someone to change their behaviour – to make a different choice. Let me give you an example.