Every lean transformation has managers and associates who just won’t get on board. Others appear to be complying with new ways of working and behaving only to ultimately backslide to the old ways.
The reason for such regression is that most people can’t change. They are “addicted” to the status quo, a non-chemical compulsion similar to addictions to running, watching TV, playing video games, or using smartphones excessively, says Ron Oslin, a lean coach, leadership therapist, and a senior coach at OneSystemOneVoice.com
“We’re learning that the brain actually is pre-dispositioned to addiction,” Oslin says. “It likes patterns and when it finds one it likes, it sticks to it. And it’s really hard to overcome. So, one of the things that we’re learning is how to bring some of the techniques that are in the medical field into the business world that can help a person become less addicted to the status quo.”
For example, when a healthcare organization hit resistance among nurses to changes necessitated by a lean transformation, medical professionals who helped addicts break deep-rooted habits, began counseling the nurses.
“Magic started to happen,” Oslin says.
Part of the magic was a key technique called motivational interviewing that the therapists and counselors used to arrange conversations so nurses convinced themselves to change, based on their own values and interests.