How do changes taste in your company? - radishes versus chocolate, two experiments.

A number of students were invited to a so-called experiment about the “perception of food” and they were told that they must consume a certain food, and the next day, they will be contacted to tell the sensations they remember from those tastes. Also, they were told not to eat at least three hours before the study.

Half of them have received the task to taste radishes, the other half the task to taste chocolate, and after that, the two groups were left to enjoy the tasting in the same room.

Surprisingly or not, each of the participants minded their own business: chocolate tasters ate sweets, and the others radishes, without being tempted to try the neighbor's chocolate. The power of the will functioned.

After the tasting ended, the organizers of the event came back to the room and told everyone they wanted to ask them to participate in another study, about who is the best problem-solver, high school or university students - this to stimulate their desire to demonstrate that, of course, university students, just like them, are superior. They were given very hard dilemmas, which asked them to draw complicated geometrical forms without picking the pencil up from the paper, they had the right to repeatedly try and, in fact, the challenges were thought out in such way as to be unsolvable.

And the result: the group of chocolate eaters spent 19 minutes on the task, time during which they made 34 tries to resolve the problem, and the radishes eating group spent only 9 minutes, with only 19 attempts to solve it.

The only difference: the chocolate eaters did not try hard during the previous experiment to resist the temptation of eating chocolate, while the others in the other group exhausted their power of will, abstaining from the chocolate and trying really hard to concentrate on the weird radishes. Thus, their self-control was exhausted. Since the self-control is an exhaustible resource, they were not as perseverant in the next challenge. They were lacking resources.

Often, the organizational changes have an unpleasant taste, and their achievement is exclusively based on self-control, perseverance and discipline. No positive emotion, no pleasure, we do so because we “have to”. And the undesirable effect is the drain of the internal resources of humans.

Change is hard when it exhausts people, when it destroys their internal resources, when it comes against all natural impulses. And then we start complaining that people “don't want to change”.

How is the change that people in your team or company consume? Is it a weird and unpleasant task that they do because they have to or is it something that brings joy, enthusiasm, pleasure? 

Source of resources: the book „Switch, How to change when change is hard” – Dan & Chip Heath

Ștefania Antone

este Managing Partner, Top 20 traineri in Romania in 2019, trainer si consultant cu 17 ani de experienta in crearea si implementarea unor programe de dezvoltarea oamenilor, in mai mult de 50 de organizatii din Romania, Republica Moldova, Bulgaria, Turcia, Ungaria si tarile nordice.