Proverbs 4:23 tells us to, “Guard [your] our heart with all diligence for out of it flows the issues of life.” Tom Asacker asserts that we don’t make decisions based on data, as human beings we make decisions with our hearts. This is interesting, because the Bible has been talking about the heart for eons. In the book of Matthew chapter 6:21, Jesus explains that, “where your treasure is there your heart is also.” So what does this have to do with how we make decisions? Asaker was quick to point out that humans are not just robots with tendons and muscles. Human beings are filled with emotions, “personal truths”, and desires. In short, we make decisions based on the heart. Information doesn’t move us, desire does. Those desires support decisions that we would consider to be or fit our personal truth. Asaker asks, “Who do you think you are?” Powerful question; why? Because who you think you are determines how you will act. Proverbs 23:7 says that, “as a man thinketh in his heart so is he.” So how can we use these ideas to target people? We need to talk to the heart of people, and recognize that change happens when people feel differently, according to John Kotter.
I’m currently dealing with this issue on my cross country team. My assistant and I have taken over for the old coach, and there are some changes that had to be made immediately. Much like Kotter, we had to let the kids feel urgency. We made little changes here and there until the 1st meet. Losing really touched their hearts. After they saw their poor performance, we have been able to step in and change complacency. We were able to address three problems right away. Practice starts at 2:45. Whether you are there or not, we start practice at 2:45. This season has been influenced by COVID, so there are some things that we would normally do that we can’t. Normally we would not let the late runners run in the meets, but…COVID.
The second item comes in the form of the warm-up. Remember, Kotter pointed out that you need to rid your organization of complacency. My assistant and I found that during the warm up, our kids were setting a complacent tone. We realized that their pacing was so slow that they actually were not warming up. The warm-up was actually detrimental to the workout because the kids could not rise above the warmup pace. So, contrary to what is done in most places, we started not only timing to warm up but measuring the distance of the warm-up.
Finally, my assistant coach and I have to be careful of the language that we use to describe our runs. We no longer use popular running phrases such as, “easy run”, “nice and easy”, etc. Case in point, the run after a meet is traditionally called an “easy run”. We had to reorient our team paces because we were running too slow. We gave them the opportunity to run at conversational pace (fast), one sentence pace (faster) and finally one word pace (fastest). In order to create a sense of urgency we stopped using running terms that real Runners can understand and we had to use language that the kids could understand.
All of this was made possible by losing, which pricked the hearts of our runners. It actually gave our runners an insight as to the “why” of what we do.
“How to Change People Who Don’t Want to Change: The Behavioral Science Guys.” YouTube, 5 Jan. 2015, youtu.be/9ACi-D5DI6A.
“John Kotter – The Heart of Change.” YouTube, 23 Mar. 2011, youtu.be/1NKti9MyAAw.
“Leading Change: Establish a Sense of Urgency.” YouTube, 15 Aug. 2013, youtu.be/2Yfrj2Y9IlI.
“Start With Why – Simon Sinek TED Talk.” YouTube, 29 Sept. 2013, youtu.be/sioZd3AxmnE.
“Why TED Talks Don’t Change People’s Behaviors: Tom Asacker at TEDxCambridge 2014.” YouTube, 30 June 2014, youtu.be/W0jTZ-GP0N4.