The authors suggest that before you try to change people, (which is nearly impossible), understand if it's a people problem or a situation problem.
Most people assume character flaws in others, when actually it may not be their character, it's the situation.
The author and motivational speakers give the example of a women who complains her husband is stubborn. To be fair, he's not stubborn at work, or with his parents, or with his children. He is only stubborn in certain situations- like things that involve spending money when your broke.
If we can isolate the situations that cause people to evade change, and restructure them, compliance would increase.
Gain Compliance and forge change
The book gives the example of a university professor was plagued with students showing up late for class. He begged, threaten, cajoled,and nothing worked.
Finally, he tweaked the environment to increase compliance:
- He locked the door two minutes after class time, if a student is late, they miss class.
- The professor had a quiz at the start of class, students not present will fail.
- They posted an on time class record on the wall, to broadcast their tardiness.
- Finally, the professor bought a big comfortable couch, those first to arrive to class got preferred, comfortable seating. Suddenly students clamoured to get to class early.
As authors and motivational speakers Chip and Dan Heath suggest, none of these scenarios required changing people, instead they changed the environment.
If you are trying to change someone...is it a situation problem or a people problem?