Monday, January 03, 2011

The Power of Behavior Change

One of the things we're taught in Silicon Valley is how difficult it is to change user behavior. We go out of our way to avoid requiring behavior change (though some of our biggest success stories depend on it--witness Facebook and Twitter).

But there's another implication that most people miss--if changing behavior is hard, you can really stand out if you're able to change your own behavior.

People are often surprised to learn that I've lost 40 pounds in the past two years. They think I've gotten a physical trainer or personal chef. Far from it. In fact, I don't even have a gym membership anymore. What I have done is adopt a very strict low-carb diet. Is it hard to give up bread, rice, and pasta? You bet. But because I'm willing to eat differently, I'm able to achieve different results. I may be getting older, but I'm winning he battle of the bulge.

Are there ways you could change your behavior, to do things differently from everyone else, that could make a big difference in your life?

4 comments:

Larry Hawes said...

Interesting point, Chris, which is applicable to organizations as well as individuals. The historical failure rate for enterprise collaboration and knowledge management projects hovers near 70% and many agree that will hold true for social business initiatives as well. Those businesses that are able to change the collective behavior of their constituents (employees, partners, and customers) should create a sustainable competitive advantage over their less-flexible competitors.

Chris said...

Very true--for organizations as well as individuals, the power to change is a major competitive advantage.

Anonymous said...

One thing to remember is that losing 40 pounds isn't as impressive as keeping it off for the rest of your life. My boss once famously announced that she lost 20 pounds. A year later she was back to her steady-state. Food for thought.

Anonymous said...

Hey Chris, longtime fan. I love your incredibly smart posts. But my favorite posts are about you acting stingy! They're hilarious! Please share more of your "dirty secrets" when you go cheap.