Published: November 9, 2021 | Updated: November 10, 2021

Change: is it possible and is it preferable asks Simon Cassin, Director, Ouch Training Team…

By Andrew Diprose, editor

As many of you will be aware November 3 was National Stress Awareness Day, writes Simon Cassin.

The point of such days is to raise awareness of an issue and compel us to recognise the need for change. We all have things we want to change, but doing so is incredibly difficult, especially when the change involves not just ourselves but others.

There are many different change models and change experts, all providing their own variation of models and theories which can help us with personal and business change.

One of the earliest and possibly most well-known models is that of the German psychologist, Kurt Lewin. In the late 1940’s Kurt Lewin presented his 3 stages of change model (unfreeze, change, refreeze). Over the years we have seen literally hundreds if not thousands of models all advocating the way to design and implement change.

Whilst I am ignorant of many of these models, I have spent over seven years looking at and evaluating methods of behavioural change.

Working in the Health and Safety industry we recognise the importance of change, but if we are honest how many of us adequately plan and manage change?

Some of the common methods I often see are: the ‘if say it, it will happen’ approach, the ‘train them and they will do it’ method, and one of the most common, the ‘it has to happen because we need it to happen mantra’.

Over the years I’ve realised that we can ask two simple questions that will help us understand whether behaviour change is, or is not, likely to happen.

What Ouch call the ‘Possible and Preferable’ tool asks us to consider two simple questions.

  1. Is the change possible?
  2. Is the change preferable?

Whatever you want to happen will not happen if it is not possible for it to happen.

Imagine you want someone to complete a task and doing so would take one hour to complete. If the person does not have an hour to do the task it will not happen.

Obviously, it’s not all about time but there are things that are required before the desired behaviour becomes possible. If those things are not present it is not possible for the behaviour to happen.

The second element to consider is whether the change or behaviour is preferable?

When we say preferable, we mean preferable to the person or people who are undertaking the change. If I want someone to do X, and doing X is in some way undesirable or results in negative consequences for the person or the person can get away with not doing X, you can be pretty well sure they will not do X.

At Ouch we are using the Possible and Preferable tool with clients to help them support change and manage workplace behaviours.

If you would like to more about how this tool can help your teams implement change or support behaviour then please get in touch.

01202 880999