Change Management: tips from wild animal trainers

In How I put my husband through the hoops Amy Sutherland writing in G2 for the UK Guardian describes how she used tricks trainers use on wild animals such as dolphins, elephants and african crested cranes to modify her husbands behavior!


Amy also learned the true meaning of the animal trainers motto:

"It is never the animals fault"

These animal change management tricks include:

  1. rewarding new positive behavior and simply ignoring old negative behavior

  2. "approximations" where you create and reward interim steps to a larger behavior change

  3. least reinforcing syndrome (LRS) where you avoid any response whatsovever to unhelpful behaviors

  4. "incompatible behaviors" where instead of trying to stop a negative behavior you replace it with a different (positive) behavior

All of these techniques can be helpful in nurturing a traditional team into a bioteam.

Just like animal training you should also practice and refine your Change Management skills in a safe environment - a great way to do this is playing a change management simulation game with your colleagues.


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Funny because its true. I wonder if we could use the same interpersonal strategies with people we work with on teams !

i love animals so much

I heard that rumour you Frigging Animal Lover.


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Organisational teams: thin slice for responsiveness

 Organisational teams: thin slice for responsiveness

Humans and animals do not need complete information to act; they can operate on various clues provided there is a sufficient context. Organizational teams can also use this thin slicing technique in conjunction with short messaging to enhance their performance. Malcolm Gladwell’s introspective book Blink digs deep into the abyss of human cognition to illustrate the human ability to think at a subconscious level. The idea of thin slicing is used where one is introduced to only a few snippets of information which lead to a series of conclusions based on moments of rapid cognition – an ability claimed to be intrinsically dormant in most humans. By bioteams guest author Max Bhanabhai.

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