Capability and Motivation – why you need both to achieve change.

Posted by on Feb 28, 2019 in Articles, My Book | 0 comments

For change to happen, people and teams need two things: the capability to carry out the required action and the desire to do so. Capability reflects many aspects such as knowledge and skills, as well as resources like time and money. Motivation can be intrinsic due to beliefs and attitudes or extrinsic due to instructions, incentives, penalties or social norms.

Understanding Capability and Motivation can help us develop the right strategy for change.

Capability and motivation are related. An easy-to-implement behaviour change (i.e. one for where the existing capability to act is high) will need much less motivation than a challenging behaviour change (i.e. one which requires lots of resources, time, effort, risk-taking, knowledge, etc).

Understanding the interrelationship between capability and motivation can dramatically increase the chance of success of our change programme.

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Are small actions counter-productive?

Posted by on Feb 25, 2019 in Blog, Books | 0 comments

I started my book on energy and resource efficiency (available free as a pdf) with a traditional saying:

“How do you eat an elephant? Why, one bite at a time, of course”.

In the section on availability barriers to resource efficiency, I argued that we can drive a successful efficiency programme by getting a lot of people to regularly dedicate a little time rather than by getting a few people to commit a lot of time. Clearly, we need to start with where people are at and it is often unrealistic to ask someone to make a large change in their behaviour from the outset. Indeed, asking for too much or holding back for “perfection” are the root causes of many programme failures I have observed with my own eyes. So starting small is a reasonable strategy.

Is that true, though? Some argue that if all that we request in terms of change is a minor action, then this will result in – surprise, surprise – a small result! Folks like Donella Meadows, Bob Doppelt and many others have reasoned eloquently that no less than a fundamental change to our underlying systems will deliver the scale of change needed to address the magnitude of the problems we face. Similarly, Cambridge Professor David MacKay, in his fantastic book Sustainable Energy — without the hot air  asserts:

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