This term I am taking Risk Management and the reading today was on Risk Appetite vs Risk Attitude. I found the general concept of them being two separate thoughts really interesting, especially in light of today being the inauguration of our next president. And I use the term “our” very pointedly. Love the choice or hate it, this is how we change leadership in the United States. We hold an election, one person wins, one person (or many people) loses and we move on. Our constitution is designed in a way that we may not have an appetite for the person elected. They may not have been our choice, we might not even like them, they may be our broccoli or even a food we are allergic too. But regardless our attitude needs to eventually come to a point of acceptance. This is our leader for at least 4 years.
In my reading the difference between the two was described as appetite being an internal feeling and attitude being how we approach the situation externally. I may be hungry for cake and ice cream, that is my appetite, but since it is 7am I opt to eat bacon and eggs, this is my attitude. It is the action I take. Appetite is uncontrollable. Attitude is a choice.
I think this concept has huge implications for individuals undergoing change. In an earlier blog post, https://socutenew.com/2015/03/31/so-they-say-who-moved-my-cheese/ , I talked about the four change personalities described by Spencer Johnson in ‘Who Moved My Cheese’. Another way to view his model is these are four appetites for change. They range from constantly starving for change to an anorexic type avoidance of change to the fourth personality being a form of a hunger strike.
If we look at change response in this way, the first two personalities are, as we know, easy to change, because they are hungry. They are looking for food, they are open to new food experiences and are easy to serve. The third personality type is trickier, as we know. But I think the appetite/attitude concept presents a great platform for how do we introduce change. How do we make them more likely to eat what we are serving? Because the “food” (change) each person eventually consumes is a choice they make, their attitude, we have to address the appetite side. How do we increase hunger for the change we are making
One way we increase the hunger is through making the food appear more appetizing. We do this through ‘selling the why’. As I have talked about before, https://socutenew.com/2016/12/09/but-why/ , why is key to change.
Another way we increase the desire to eat what we are serving, is limiting the choices available to eat. One mistake I see firms make is they offer too many options for accomplishing the same task. Universally, for every company I visit getting timesheets submitted on time is a challenge. To try to meet the complaints of it being difficult or time consuming firms will add option after option to how you can submit time. Typically there is the desired method, via a database, but then there is often a paper or Excel option, the options that you can have an assistant do it for you or in some firms people will review your calendar and try their best to enter it for you. The hope is that with enough options users’ attitudes will be swayed to comply. But the reality, attitude cannot be changed from the outside. If you put a buffet out for someone who is not hungry or feeling well, often just the opposite reaction occurs, the food becomes overwhelming and they are driven further away. Also when they do get slightly hungry we will have given them another choice of meal that the one we want them to eat. Keeping the menu to only those dishes that we deem acceptable choices ensures that if appetite develops that will be the choice selected.
Finally, appetite is a reinforceable quality. We eat what makes us feel good. They become the foods we crave. The same is true of change. If the change is presented in an appealing way, we are likely to be open to giving it a try. This means communication, preparation and messaging are super important. If we have a good first taste of the change, we are likely to take a second bite. To make change taste good we need to provide good information, training and guidance. If the meal leaves us with a good after taste we will want to eat the dish again. This requires the change leaders to follow through, to stick to their promised goals and to continue to evaluate if modifications are needed.
Appetite and attitude are linked, but they are not rigidly co-dependent. I can be very hungry but choose not to eat. I can be anything but hungry but know that for my health I need to eat. Attitude, the action one chooses to take, is at the end the responsibility of the individual. But the cook can definitely make the plate more appealing.