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28 Jun 2012

Change Management – Tactic #7: Setting the Mood

This entry is part 7 of 9 in the series Change Management Tactics

Change Management & Effecting ChangeA owner of a top-flight commercial painting company once said to me, “Mike, prepping the surface is 90% of the paint job.” When we rely on ideas or vision, and the presentation of “pros and cons” and “what’s in it for me” to breach the challenges involved in moving an organization’s culture toward change, we are essentially just slapping new paint over old without cleaning, scraping or sanding the surface.

In addition to relationships, setting the mood is part of prepping. Here, understanding the 40-year-old Velten Mood Induction (MI) procedure is helpful.

Very simply, Velten MI puts people in a positive mood by having them say positive things. Over time the procedure came to include other moods. Researchers use MI very often to see how mood’s change our thoughts and behaviors.  For example, subjects reading violent things tend to then have aggressive moods. We often experience MI when we watch movies and plays or listen to music; happy ones will tend to put us in a happy mood, sad ones in sad moods. We see politicians using MI to prep a nation for war or major legislation change (i.e. civil rights, healthcare).

Additionally, MI has very specific, business applications too. For example, we can put people in a more goal-oriented mood simply by talking about goals, outcomes and results. MI can also help us establish a more cooperative, collaborative culture. Thus, using it we can set the mood for change through regular communications and interactions over time. It doesn’t mean presenting specific plans; it means positioning – in a general sense – that change is necessary.

MI works because people tend to become more comfortable with change as they think and discuss it. It’s also why we don’t want to spring change on people as a surprise.



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