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LEAD 644 999Peterson,

Dynamics -
Dashboard Spring Semester 2017 SP2017-LEAD-644-999 January 9 - January 15
First Discussion Form this semester (1st of eight) Science of Change

First Discussion Form this semester
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Peterson, Dawn
General Science of Change 4 replies
January 9 - 65 days ago

January 15
Last 62 days ago

ion to How do people effectively make change? That is the ultimate ques-
LEAD tion the article by Rock and Schwartz (2006) attempts to answer. Specifical-
644 ly, in the area of leadership management. How do leaders affect change in
Spring, their organizations? Change is hard, painful even. Take for example the de-
2017 cision to start to exercise. Your body feels the effects of starting to use
LEAD muscles that havent previously been used. Pain follows and it can cause
644 one to wonder if the effort is worth the pain. According to Rock & Schwartz
Course only one in nine people, on average, adopts healthier day-to-day habits
Schedule (para. 2). When change is so hard, how do we make changes when we may
/Outline not even know that change is necessary?
The first question asked this week is what level of awareness do peo-
Question ple have of the factors involved in changing their behavior? Prior to read-
s, ing this article I would have said that many people probably have a fair idea
concerns, of what needs to take place for change to happen. But after reading this ar-
reactions ticle several times, I realized that I had no idea at all what went into chang-
to our ing behaviors. Rock & Schwartz clarified for me why my son has difficulties
class making changes.
n Form When my son was young, he struggled with learning his letters. He
this couldnt remember that the shape of the letter and the sound went togeth-
semester er. This later translated to his math signs, telling the difference between X
(1st of for multiplication and + for addition. Later when he would try to write a
eight) sentence, even using the smallest words he could think of, he would forget
the sentence as he struggled to remember how to spell a word. He
Scienc learned his multiplication table at least five times! It was a never ending
e of struggle. Years later, my son was tested at University of California Los Ange-
Chang les (UCLA) for learning difficulties. We were told that he had Attention
e Deficit Disorder (ADD), remnants of dyslexia, and an extremely low working
memory. I was told that had I not chosen to homeschool him, he would very
January 16 -
likely still have more symptoms of dyslexia. My ability to work with him in-
January 22
dividually minimized his symptoms. But the real issues were ADD and the
January 23 -
low working memory. We were told that it would take him much longer to
January 29
learn complex activities such as driving. It would take many more hours
January 30 - than the average teen to be able to drive comfortably. This proved to be
February 5 true in many circumstances and has many implications for his ability to ac-
February 6 - cept change.
February 12
February 13
- February According to Rock & Schwartz, the reason Brice would forget his sen-
19 tences as he was concentrating on the spelling of a word was because
February 20 working memory fatigues easily and can hold only a limited amount of in-
- February formation on line at any one time (para. 9). Imagine working with less
26 than the normal amount of working space? It takes him longer to develop
habits that can be pushed down to the basil ganglia, the habit center part
February 27
of the brain.
- March 5
March 6 -
March 12
Brice is not the only person that struggles with change. Many people
March 13 -
avoid change like the plague, even going out of their way to keep what is
March 19
familiar to them. My husband does not like to learn new technology. He
March 20 - tends to forget shortcuts, and begs me not to change his phone platform
March 26 (even an upgrade from the same platform makes him uncomfortable). This
March 27 - leads me to conclude that people will avoid change and even knowing that
April 2 change may be necessary, they do not understand all that goes into making
April 3 - changes in their life. The list by the authors of previous methods used to
April 9 affect change is example enough that we are, as a general rule, unaware of
April 10 - all that is involved in change. Which leads me to the second question of the
April 16 week.
April 17 -
April 23
How well do you think people can articulate the role of these factors
April 24 -
in their behavioral change? I think many people believe they know how
April 30
changes were made in their life, but if we were to interview them, we may
May 1 - May find that what they thought brought change for them was actually not the
7 key factor. According to the authors, change is a science of the brain. We
My courses affect the greatest change when we are part of the problem solving
Learner Dashboard process. When I solve a problem myself (an ahaa moment), the brain releas-
es transmitters that actually make me feel good about my discovery which
encourages me to continue making discoveries in the future (para 20). But
could I articulate that without the knowledge from this article? More than
$ likely not.

administration Rock & Schwartz list examples of how society attempted to affect
change in the past. Some of these we are familiar with such as the M&M
theory (behaviorism), and the long therapy session where we talked about
View posters
all our problems (humanism). But fairly new to the field is the idea that if
we focus or pay enough attention to a certain idea or practice, we actually
create a brain map. Our brain actually creates pathways that allow us to
Subscribe to see the world differently (para. 28).
this forum
Subscribe to
this discussion How do we as individuals or leaders facilitate change? The authors
state that one way would be to take advantage of the mental map by culti-
vating moments of insight (para. 32) allowing us to experience that ahaa
moment I talked about earlier. Another way to guide change is to help them
take ownership of the idea, to buy in as it were. Leaders need to recognize,
encourage and deepen their teams insights (para. 34) to allow them to un-
COURSE derstand the goals.

Another factor in making institutional change with this theory is that

change cannot happen overnight if we expect individuals to experience
Go their own connections or moment of insights. We cannot hand over the an-
swers and get the same results. But we can help direct by asking probative
questions such as what do you need to do to resolve this challenge in the
future? It is imperative to ask the questions that focus on the future not
the past. Mary Kay Ash always said praise people to success (Ash, 1984, p.
21) and that is good advice for us. Focus on positive comments rather on
the negative. Nobody likes to be beaten down to force change and that in
fact can take metabolic energy away from the prefrontal region which pro-
motes and supports higher intellectual functions and thus stimulates the
error signals that causes an employee to become emotional and impulsive
(para.13). Actually doing harm instead of helping.
In conclusion, it would be advantageous of us as leaders to work within the
natural patterns the brain uses for change. By being positive and treating
our employees or family members with respect and allow them to come to
conclusions brought about by positive focus and support, we can best affect
change in a way that will be more effective for long term change.


Ash, M. K. (1984). Mary Kay on people management (Warner Books ed.). New
York: Warner Books.

Rock, D., & Schwartz, J. (2006). The neuroscience of leadership [class hand-
out]. strategy+business, Summer 2006(43). Retrieved from https://learn-

Sum of ratings:6 (1)

4 replies

1 Post by Brand, Jay 65 days ago

RE: Dawn's outstanding post


First, thanks for 'breaking the ice' for everyone this semester -
and well done! I am very grateful for your sharing some of
your son's struggles with change; they provided an excellent
example of many of the contentions about the neural and
behavioral foundations of the difficulties most of us have
with change.

You referred to your husband's discomfort with embracing

the constant change (euphemistically called 'upgrades') in
technology. Believe me, he's not the only one! Most compa-
nies flounder when they introduce new technology, because
they assume their employees are tech-savvy and don't need
any orientation. A simple online training manual, or better
yet, well-designed, user-centered technology, would go a
long way toward ensuring more successful 'roll-outs' of new
technology (or software) within organizations.

I would like to cautiously insert some moral philosophy at

this point, but I don't mean to imply that you ignored this di-
mension; I would simply like to give some of the spiritual
implications of the neural foundations for 'change' a bit more
emphasis. Our brains form networks of neurons when neu-
rons are simultaneously activated (e.g., a sensory neuron fires
along with a motor neuron, linking a sensation with a behav-
ior). These networks are thus influenced by experience. When
they become established, such networks underlie habits or
habitual patterns of behavior. Once established, such net-
works are not easily disassembled; instead, the only way to
make progress (change bad habits to good ones) is to estab-
lish new neural networks that produce new, better habits. By
selecting (choosing) the newly established networks (the
'good' habits), they can be strengthened, gradually supersed-
ing (but alas, never fully replacing) the 'bad habits'.

However, if we never allow 'bad habits' to become estab-

lished in the first place (one author referred to this as 'guard-
ing the avenues to the soul'), establishing good habits (i.e.,
'good change') wouldn't be very difficult at all. Of course, I
realize this admonition may come too late for many of us.
That's why grace is so precious!

Dr. Brand


2 Post by Aguy, Jerey 65 days ago

Is change really painful or are we simply Ignorant?

Thank you for breaking down the questions even more

specifically to management and leadership Dawn. You stated
"Many people avoid change like the plague, even going out
of their way to keep what is familiar to them." Do you believe
we avoid change because it's painful or are we simply igno-
rant? When I say ignorant I am referring to not actually
knowing. Dr. Brand perhaps you can also give insight on my

Rock and Schwartz makes it clear how change is difficult be-

cause change is painful (2006). My question is also challeng-
ing that assumption and to receive further insight. I think of
examples like technology. Often times making a change is
actually less painful and yet like you said some of us go out
of our way to keep what is familiar. I think of new technolo-
gy like voice command that actually reduces the need to
spend time doing an activity and just have the device do it
for you through voice command. Many people will still avoid
it even though it may reduce their physical work load. There
is at times minimal new procedures to learn and all a person
is doing is speaking into a device and yet we avoid it. Is it be-
cause the person simply doesn't know why or have knowl-
edge as to how it works.

In my personal experience I find younger people as well as

seasoned executives very open to change as long as they see
value in it. That value often is accepted by simply explaining
how the change will benefit them and demonstrating the re-
sults. In reading the article with an open mind, I didn't find it
difficult to change my beliefs to now see the neuroscience
involved in behavioral change is actually a more effective
approach. The authors however make the assumptions to-
wards the end that "few managers are comfortable putting
these principles in practice" (P.9). I believe ignorance plays a
large factor. Most executives I know, do not have the benefit
of learning a new approach and thus don't change. I also
have seen poor examples of people connecting the change
to something a person actually cares about or direct imme-
diate benefits.

A better question may be will people tolerate the pain of

change if they learn how change will significantly improve
the current way they do things and see an immediate bene-
fit? Is it possible to practice mindful change towards having
an open mind, and if we first do that, will it be easier to ac-
cept and pursue behavioral change?


Post by Peterson, Dawn 63 days ago


Okay..this is a little weird to read your questions and re-

sponse to my post because I missed your response before re-
sponding to your post and our thoughts are so similar, it's
scary! I do believe that sometimes people are afraid to
change because of the uncomfortableness it brings. Also, the
change could bring a sense of a loss of power that could play
a roll in the desire to avoid change. Getting someone to
come around to it being their idea takes longer but ultimate-
ly may be the only way to make forward progress. Once
again, I believe that change needs to take place slowly in or-
der to bring all with them.

If you read my response to your post, my story was about an

addition of technology that could have saved hours of labor
but wasn't used because of the changes it would require. It's
possible that in answer to your question about whether the
person has the knowledge of how it works, the person may
not trust that it will work. Not whether they know how or
why, but will it be as good. In response to your example of
voice command like Siri, I'm quite techy but still haven't
made good use of Siri because you have to know the right
question to ask to get the right answer. (I did find it works
really good on my AppleTV to turn off captions!)

I tend to agree with you about the younger generation tend-

ing to be more accepting of new technology. But be careful
because not all of us find into the latter category of not em-
bracing technological advances.

Your last paragraph summed it up nicely. I agree that it's

possible that some people (maybe not all) are willing to
change when they can see the benefits and have their own
vision (the moment of epiphany) about how it will help them
in the future.

Thank you for your response!

Sum of ratings:1 (1)
4 Post by Brand, Jay 62 days ago
Joining Dawn's and Jeffrey's conversation . . .

Jeffrey & Dawn,

Great exchange! I hate to disappoint you, but I don't have all

the answers to the excellent questions you have raised. How-
ever, I believe what we all must accept is that even though
some new technology may indeed save time, improve our
lives, make communication with loved ones easier and less
complicated, the process of changing from our current tech-
nology to the new technology nevertheless remains daunting
for many of us.

Perhaps simple, even image-based examples (real-life illus-

trations of people using the new technology simply and effi-
ciently) that demonstrate the personal value of making the
transition from the present to the future could be used to
help 'late adopters' accommodate new technology in order to
improve the quality of everyone's lives.


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