A tale of two worlds
We’ve been getting it wrong time after time. Change management programmes that fail to deliver, many inefficiencies in the management of organizations, the poor performance and big disappointments of government- orchestrated social change interventions, the failed civic or religious campaigns to develop and implement a ‘social agenda’, the slow, painful and often unsuccessful health education and promotion initiatives...in short, lots of failed attempts to change behaviours in a large population, either inside the firm or in the outside world. They all have something in common. All these failures stem from the misunderstanding of the differences between two separate worlds, each with their own rules and their own tempo: the world of communication (world I) and the world of behaviours (world II).
These worlds are very different. I have summarized these differences in the graph at the end of this chapter. Yet we mix up these worlds all the time, like mixing apples and pears, pretending that they are the same. After all, they’re both fruit. We cross the border between these two worlds at our convenience and we use their attributes indistinctively. And this is where the problem starts.
I deeply believe that achieving success in any of the goals described before, from internal management in the organization to an external macro-social change, depends on mastering both (a) the understanding and respect for the differences of the two worlds and (b) the establishing of bridges between them without getting them mixed up. Management in particular has not learnt the distinction between world I and world II. It muddles them together as if they were one single territory. The consequences are a series of messy and wrong expectations either about people or ‘management systems’.
Things that belong to world I are expected to deliver outcomes that belong to world II and vice versa. For example, behavioural change (world II) is expected to follow an information or communication cascade (world I). Every single day in the management of organizations this mistake is made. The mistake costs time, effort, and results, at the very least, in inefficient management and leadership. Let’s look at this in detail.
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