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November 27, 2020

BTOES From Home - SPEAKER SPOTLIGHT : Using Neuroscience to drive Digital Transformation...

Courtesy of Excellence & Innovation's Jose Pires and Google's Travis Hahler below is a transcript of his speaking session on 'Using Neuroscience to drive Digital Transformation...' to Build a Thriving Enterprise that took place at BTOES From Home.

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Session Information:

Using Neuroscience to drive Digital Transformation...

'Fireside Chat'

Jose & Travis will discuss change and the neuroscience around it.

People inherently resist change. With Digital Transformation at the top of most companies' list of goals, how do we harness what we know about the brain to prepare ourselves and our teams for the changes necessary to achieve Digital Transformation?

Discover the different reactions to change and tips on how to manage change successfully. You’ll learn about your brain, how to relate to your teams, and leave understanding how Change Management can not only improve your odds of success in your Digital Transformation journey but also be a valuable investment in your people and culture.

Session Transcript:

So, hello everyone and welcome back to the main stage, at the business transformation operational excellence world summit, where we accelerate culture business and digital transformations and we create environments where great people and great ideas can connect and I'm very excited on the neuroscience of change. We have here Travis Hahler with us. who is a worked with over 100 companies including 40 of the fortune 100 list and he holds degree is in this cycle refunds in consumer behavior an NBA has studied neuroscience at Harvard and performed neurological research at auburn university in Denmark, currently track global change and transformation lead for google, Travis thank you so much for taking your insights and practical applications with our global audience of business transformation operational excellence leaders, very excited to have you with us.

Thank you so much Jose that was very kind introduction, I'm excited to be here thanks for having me. It's it's real pleasure for us and for the over 2 000 registered participants who are joining us today from all and that the nearest directly ending and uh one of the things that I would like to do is the audience understands that this is a fireside chat so we have 45 minutes here with with a with an expert in this area who is willing to go deep into the insights and practical applications on how neuroscience applies to change so it's very important that the audience asks questions throughout okay ask questions that are important for your context you know what matters most to you how can you apply some of these principles to your contacts.

I have other monitors here that I'm looking at and I'm monitoring your questions so after you submit a question other participants can vote it up and I will pick the best ranked questions and I'll relate them to to Travis as they come up so please be liberal in asking your questions and uh we want to make sure that we engage you on this conversation as we go along but Travis just to set the stage.

What I'd like you to do if you could please just introduce yourself and tell a little about about your to the audience about your background and and what you do at google certainly thanks Jose um so as Jose said I'm Travis I am a global change and transformation lead at google and I think you covered uh quite a bit of my background in terms of education and the and the work I've done but um you know what I do at google is essentially driving our own change and transformation internally to to the company and as we continue to grow as a company.

Screenshot (41)-1We have our own transformation to do right just like many of you in the audience we have systems that weren't designed to do what we need them to do today we have processes that used to be easy because they were less people and now are complex because we've grown so fast and my job is to design the methodologies and the approaches that we use to help influence change that is affecting our people and help to create plans for it and and really that's that's kind of the essence of what i do is to try and change the way that we work but in a way that is um strategic and keeps our people in mind very good Travis.

I have collaborated with you in the past and then and I understand the topic and the how you approach it and uh you know neuroscience change management are two areas of passion for you and you're very passionate about those those areas how did that come about how where did that interest come from yeah so i as you mentioned you know, I have a degree in psychology and consumer behavior being one of my areas of specialization and um when I was kind of pursuing that degree I had the opportunity to go to albert Denmark and uh live there while doing some research at a neurology lab um and albert university is very well known for their research on neurology and as i started to learn more about that neurology through that research.

I started to kind of fall in love with it and so I did that for quite a while in in alburgh but I eventually had to come home to the us to finish my degree but after I kind of returned to the states I didn't know what i what i wanted to do with it because i was kind of at this weird crossroads i had to decide if i was going to go that research and PhD route or if I was going to go into a clinical role or something else entirely and ultimately I decided that I wasn't quite ready to make that commitment to that road.

So I thought you know i should probably round out my experience and my education to make sure that i had something that i could fall back on in terms of if i decide to not go that direction um so i started taking business classes and um i come from an entrepreneurial family and um I naturally kind of fell in love with it and saw a lot of similarities between what I saw my mom and my dad doing when i was growing up and learning that in a classroom and kind of putting it all together but after i finished that undergraduate work and i kind of went out into the workforce.

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I decided that you know i really need a little bit more education on business and so i started an MBA program and so i did all this work in you know the study side but it wasn't really until i went into consulting um and working with companies to solve those strategic problems that it all kind of started to click together i thought oh shoot I've wasted a bunch of my time doing all the psychology work when i actually started rolling out changes i started to see a lot of things that were really interesting to me and um i think one of the things that stood out was that as companies rolled out changes they assumed that everything that was going wrong or the barriers they were hitting were all purposeful and unknown and i was kind of sitting there with my neurology background going well.

That's not true um but you just didn't know that it was there when you started and so i started to see this incredible gap between understanding people and our neurology and driving transformational change and I've really spent the better part of my career working to help bridge that gap with my master's studies in neuroscience at Harvard and doing a lot of the work I've done with companies um to drive change and transformation and so that's kind of where that passion came from it really came out of just a weird convergence of all of my background all at one time to kind of finally see that spark.

Where I was like wow this is really important stuff and I feel like it's not given the the proper um the proper rigor that it deserves i love that because one of one of my favorite questions sometimes when I'm talking to people who are leaders in their field you know is that I is about what they see out in the field there is a that is a need that's going unfulfilled to a large extent and that and you and you have identified the gap there which is which is quite interesting remarkable interdisciplinary uh background also you have and I think that that creates a lot of opportunity.

I'm curious what about neuroscience do you think makes it so important for for the business world to understand especially when it comes to business transformations yeah i get that question a lot and i do a lot of talks um about you know neuroscience but um there are neurological barriers to adoption that most people don't actually realize and it's really hard coded and i can i can give some examples in the in the neuroscience part of it so you know pretty much everyone in this room is changing or transforming their business in some way shape or form we're all doing it right now.

We're all going to continue to do it probably until the end of time right it's just the way things are um and we're asking our people to change their repetitive functions and and that basically means we're saying today you do this and tomorrow we need you to do something completely different well when we think about repetitive functioning um it's all actually housed in our basal ganglia and the basal ganglia hard codes the things that we do every day to conserve energy in our brains to free it up to do other things so in order to change that you actually have to engage you know your prefrontal cortex you have to use that logical center of your brain and that takes a ton of energy so it's the exact opposite of the basal ganglia right like you can save a lot of energy.

There but you use a ton of energy by engaging your logical thought processes and so that use of energy to change reduces the capacity that people have to do other tasks so that's one barrier um that we already know about right and if we think about that most transformations and changes are are on a time crunch but if you need the time to learn the new ways of working but using your prefrontal cortex um is really taking a lot of your energy and it takes a significant amount of time and effort and you have to push and if you push too hard your brain has this kind of fail safe or basically it's going to say no stop everything um we have to make sure that we can live because we're overwhelmed.

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We're not sure we're stressed and that's really your amygdala um and so it kind of takes over and stops those bodily functions that aren't necessarily used to survive and so then you exacerbate even more you say then we also have this issue of exclusion because exclusion activates our brain's pain centers and then in turn activates our brain's protective measures which creates avoidance of whatever is causing the pain if that pain is your transformation program that's not great because that person is going to be a late adopter and the whole finale is that our brains don't really deal with loss and ambiguity well so if employees know that they're going to lose something but they don't know why and they don't know what it means for them..

They kind of start to make it up quite frankly and the brain does this naturally it starts to piece together a story because it wants to make sense of what's happening um and pretty much that's how rumors start and pretty soon your your easy system change or your easy system upgrade is all of a sudden being talked about as a huge organizational change and it's going to result in possible layoffs and so and so is losing a job and those are all the pieces of the brain and the neurology that drive all of this behavior and the really really incredible part is that we know all of that what i just told you is all known.

So that's why neuroscience is so essential for business leaders to understand and why change management is so important for our companies because it's really going to take all of that knowledge of neuroscience and using change management to overcome those barriers that you're all going to see as you go through business transformation that's fascinating it's not in every fireside chat that we have that we discussed the basal ganglia and the amygdala and we talk about the impacts on that on the in your ability to deal with ambiguity it's it's fascinating Travis because early on we had uh magnus banker from Sweden, who is a an innovation expert a global innovation expert talking about the blockers of innovation and a number of them have to do with um you know silos uh fear of failure dealing with ambiguity is one of the top five uh there as well.

So it's awesome to see these connections and uh that that you're making to to to issues there are really real real challenges for organizations um now um so give me some give me some examples of how you can maybe leverage some of this neuroscience in driving transformation you know you talk about some of the uh you know of the issues that are the basically the way that we're hardwired for certain things and then and and then you know some maybe there's some possibilities there of of of using some of that knowledge to overcome this resistance that we have individually and as organizations so um you know tell me a little bit about how you can leverage neuroscience to drive transformation absolutely and Jose I can promise you any fireside chat you do with me is going to talk about the basal ganglia so we're we're always going to go there and I love the basal ganglia anyone.

Who's heard me talk or any of my neurology and neuroscience friends always give me a hard time because they say i harp too much on the basal ganglia but in what I do the basal ganglia is the biggest factor in everything that i do when it comes to change so for me it's the most important part but to answer your question you know um if we think about what I kind of just laid out for you all of those um pieces and blockers that we already know inside the brain and we can use all of those to our advantage if we allow ourselves to do it .

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So you know we talked about reprogramming our basal ganglia is going to require that prefrontal cortex but you have to be concerned about that amygdala right so those are kind of the three that work together that we always have to keep in mind um and the only way to that you can ensure that you don't overwhelm the brain is to either one reduce the amount of change which i think we can all agree is probably not going to happen um two is is to really reduce the amount of other stressors or tasks that that person needs to do so that would basically say you know we need to clear that person's calendar to make sure they can focus on this I think again most people would agree that in the business world.

That's usually not able to be done because we need to keep the business running even though we're going through change right and then the third option is really to allow more time for the change to take place um from you know the moment that you inform to the moment that you go live and to allow time for that person to learn and adopt the new ways of working and it's really important but you know if we think about the other things that we just talked about if we also you know think about our anterior cingulate which is your pain response center and the threat that that poses with avoidance and the only way to avoid that exclusion piece is to be really inclusive so that's you know asking for feedback it shows that you know people's opinions matter and it shows that they're actually involved in that process and if you think about loss and ambiguity.

You know the only way to overcome um those two is to truly acknowledge that they exist and add support and transparency and frequent messaging is the only way that we can actually combat ambiguity right is to actually give information um so we know that we have to do these things just based on our neurology and on what neuroscience tells us and this doesn't really matter if it's a large or small change you know any change needs this type of consideration but it it's not the most popular thing that you would say in the boardroom right.

So these are things that are unpopular opinions quite frankly we're talking about things like taking more time we're talking about things like you know rolling out slowly we're talking about things like we have to share transparent messages and those are actually really anxiety written for a lot of executives and for a lot of leaders in business because those basically mean risk right you're sharing information and and that can be a really risky thing to do if you're a leader but they're so necessary to what we've kind of talked about so far that's that's that's excellent those are such interesting sites account intuitive as you said because in a way, we are with we're stuck with a brain.

That was not designed for this exponential change in times that we're dealing with right i think that we have barely evolved from a time where the our perception of the world is what we can contemplate in uh in a one day's walk in the savannas of Africa and all of a sudden we're in this world that is exponentially changing and and our brain and our frontal cortex maybe has not evolved that quickly um so um i have a question for you let me back up a little bit I remember that you and you have talked about these items and you and you talk about five or six items of major resistance or struggles with the brain and then you have kind of different ways you can overcome them if you if you if you don't mind kind of going back to the basics here and when you look at the the the six barriers that you have and the five or six berries that you have and ways to overcome some of those barriers.

If you can kind of guide us through that what does that look like yeah so kind of did that in my last uh two answers without actually saying it so um I think it's it's really a good thing to point out so when when we think about our barriers to adoption it's really about the fact that you know we are repetitive beings um it requires a ton of energy to actually change um we don't like ambiguity um we are going to avoid if something isn't inclusive or we don't see ourselves in the solution and we don't deal with loss well so those are kind of the the big bucket items of of the barriers and then the solutions to those are really.

You know the only way to combat repetitive um repetitive tasks is to learn new tasks and get them to be the repetitive tasks uh that takes time um the only way to you know kind of make sure that you're not using too much energy is to actually provide that time for people to adopt new ways of working uh the only way to combat you know like we talked about ambiguity is transparent and frequent messaging um the only ways that we can overcome a loss is to actually acknowledge it and um and we need to make sure that we do all of that in an inclusive way so that everyone can make sure that they see themselves in the solution even.

If you didn't call them and ask them for their exact opinion people need to see that their opinion was taken into consideration um and those are kind of the big buckets that i typically talk about in in my discussions around neuroscience and you do a fantastic job and distilling these complex items into kind of a simple bullets and you talk about them but as i think about what you said in terms of bears and times of in terms of what we do to overcome those barriers um do no wonder that the overwhelming majority of transformations have failed and they will probably continue to fail because these are we're hardwired for for failing in the in in these areas and uh and you have some really.

You know incredible tips on any any one of this um every one of these items um so so help me out here um what a you know and you may be repeating yourself to a certain extent because i do think it takes some repetition here for these concepts to sink in because they're very simple for the expert in the mind of the expert there's only one way in the mind of the novices here there are many ways you can interpret what you said.

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So I'm curious to learn a bit more about the mind of the expert i mean how do you how do you leverage neuroscience to drive transformation knowing the things that you share with us and maybe that it's a different way of asking how do you how do you do these things that you mentioned that you should do for overcoming the the neuroscience barriers um just some tips give us some suggestions there what really works well for you practically speaking yeah so you know i think i think the the kind of buckets that we just talked about in terms of how you can overcome those barriers they're going to change no matter what the project is so you know depending on what the change is depending on what that impact level is so you know Jose, if I ask you to change your password that might take you a couple days to relearn your password every time you have to type it in on your computer but if i ask you to go from using a windows system to a mac system having never used it before you're going to need quite a bit of time to learn that right.

So it all kind of depends on the amount of impact of the change and how you kind of roll it out but i think i can answer your question in a little bit of a way of how i kind of leverage the neuroscience when i drive change and transformation and what it kind of does for me beyond just the we know these things to be true and we know that we need to include them all there's also some really some really good ways that you can leverage this knowledge um as you're driving change and transformation having those discussions and you know the first is that it's really a powerful tool in determining what i need to worry about, so if I think back to kind of my my days before i really had a good grasp on neuroscience and neuropsychology you know i used to think about all the things that could go wrong or derail or or you know could could be barriers to to the work that i'm trying to do and and it does seem overwhelming and i hear that a lot when i talk to leaders um who are driving transformations they say that the list of things that can go wrong is a mile long and it keeps them up all night right um neuroscience has allowed for a different perspective on that so um if we think about the things.

That I just talked about the things like repetition um you know having to use a lot of energy we don't like ambiguity we don't like pain all those things kind of come together as we start to think about what are the things that can go wrong and can actually really change our perspective on what we have influence over.

So if I can give kind of an example that i like to typically use is um most often the first thing on the list if i ever ask anyone what could possibly go wrong in this it's usually people won't like it or people won't adopt it right it's like that's the biggest item on the list and people are always really worried about that but when you think about neuroscience um you take it from being something uncontrollable in which case you're saying oh people will decide this.

I can't make them like it i can't make them adopt it they're the decision maker and you actually can take a lot of control in that because if you're being inclusive like we talked about and you're gathering that feedback and if you're being transparent and acknowledging that loss by creating plans that support the time that the people need to adopt them nine times out of ten adoption's going to happen and the bonus is that i already know people are going to resist my change so it's not personal and i can really plan for it and i think that's the piece that a lot of people get caught up on is that there's a lot of things that are tied into what could possibly go wrong that people also tie to their own self-worth and self-value right is this is personal if you're not going to do it it means that you don't like my plan it means that you don't like what I'm putting out.

There when in reality it's actually just going to happen you just have to accept that resistance is totally natural and kind of move forward with the way that you're thinking about the plan and so that's one big way of using it uh the other way is really just in conversations um we talk a lot about um how you can use neuroscience to actually have really informed conversations and a lot of times what i hear from leaders when we're talking about change in transformation and adoption is is i'll hear the words that's really fluffy meaning there's not a lot of not a lot of meat behind that that's a lot of fluffy language not sure what that means right and for an executive for a leader.

That's not good right because when you're leading a transformation you want real data you want to know what's going to happen you don't want someone to come in and say well I think this is going to happen that doesn't necessarily give you a lot of courage when you're moving forward so you know we say things like do we think that's enough time for them to learn or how can you know how can we target that group or what or whatever that might be very kind of anecdotal language but when you think about neuroscience.

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I can actually use scientifically proven theory to discuss change so instead of that fluffy language you know i don't think that they'll have enough time or that doesn't feel like enough time we can say things like you know our three-week timeline from initial telling this group to go live just isn't going to cut it and here's why they're facing a loss of competence and that's going to be because our system they're currently the experts in and they're gonna need time to not only learn the new ways of working but to build that confidence back up and that competence and acknowledge that loss so we need to build in time for them to actually understand why this loss is happening and allow them to go through their own personal grieving process while we try to get them to understand the value of the new way of working and then we also have to build in repetitive tasks so they need time to actually learn it and since we're not freeing up workload.

We can't just put them in a room for eight hours a day with intensive training so if we expect them to do that in three weeks i don't think that that's really going to be quite possible we need a much longer timeline or we need to change something else right maybe we do need that eight hours a day in a room talking about this new way of working but it's a give and take so being able to talk about that is really really impactful in a way that uses actual scientific language versus i just don't think that's enough time they're not going to get it in that amount of time i love that i love that you're you're basically bringing science and some structure to the conversation.

That validates um maybe some of the feelings that we have but it's hard to put the right words behind it um that that's very powerful uh let me take a quick look here at the questions are coming up I have a number of questions um uh let me see one here that's popping up and i ask people to vote for each other's questions to raise the ones that they think are most uh important i have one here from Monterey Mexico.

we have uh Javier Segovia you probably remember he was in Canada with us when you did a wonderful presentation opex with Canada, there and uh he um his question is about the role of real neuroscience in learning and uh and people's learning and behavioral change process i mean boy behavior changes is a subject all its own right uh you do talk about you you talked about some of that early on um about how it takes time for people to develop an understanding and then practices and new behaviors around something new um can you expand a little bit more on that I'm just curious from a research standpoint you know what you could share you know i know it probably has a lot to do with the context the level of complexity of the task blah blah blah but you know what how long does it take and and what and what does it take to to have us change our behaviors in a meaningful way yeah um well.

I think I can't give you uh how long does it take only because i think a lot of times it's an ever never-ending process right ever going so i think part of the part of the situation that we run into especially when it comes to neuroscience is that what we have done for so many years and and not just years decades and centuries when it comes to learning is the approach that we've actually had is pretty much counter intuitive to the way that our brain actually learns and so you know um there are a lot of people in this space who have a lot of really good information on on the learning piece of it and how we actually teach change and how we actually teach people especially adult learners um but that that's part one part one is that.

We we tend to think that teaching someone is putting them in a room showing them a slide deck with someone to present all the content and then quizzing them right that's not exactly how your brain learns so problem number one I'm not gonna I'm not gonna unbox that because it's a big topic um but the second piece of that is how do we really drive behavior change and if you think about what the human mind um values is it values safety it values um it values knowing and transparency um and it values reward.

So when you're thinking about behavior changes your brain is thinking about those three things so it wants to make sure that when it's safe so it needs to be an environment where the person feels that they have psychological safety to express their opinions to ask the dumb questions that everyone has right um the second is that you know we really need to focus on what it is that is driving behavior and that's reward.

So when we think about trying to get someone to do a behavioral change it really comes down to are you incentivizing that new way of working or are you incentivizing the previous way of working and a great example that that I've pulled from my experience is you know when we think about sellers and people who sell products.

I get a lot we want people to be collaborative we want them to collaborate across the across the aisle but then when i look at how they're being compensated and their reward structure we actually compensate and reward them for not collaborating because they get more money if they actually figure out how to do these things on their own so i think that's a big big part of how we drive behavioral change is that we have to also align the way that we're rewarding and enforcing that behavior change because that's a huge portion of how your brain adopts uh terrific i i that's that's so insightful about the the safety the knowing and transparency and the reward systems.

That you talked about those things are so important um some of the questions related to that have to do you know a lot of people familiar with the Maslow hierarchy of needs if you will and starting with the very basic needs all the way to the highest level of self-actualization um I'm curious from if from a neuroscience perspective um is is there is there something there in the brains of those people who are because some people feel it feels like no matter where they are in life that they're kind of stuck on the basic needs area and there are some people who are you know at a higher level if you will and they maybe reach some level of self-actualization.

I'm curious of how much of that if you can talk about how much of that is genetics you know hey this is your brain good luck with it and uh versus this is your brain but neuroplasticity is a real thing and you can evolve this thing um what does neuroscience tell us about their ability to to really mold our brains over time yeah um you know neuroscience the the thought of neuroplasticity it's it 100 is is factual you know our brains can can adjust and adapt you know everywhere from when you're an infant all the way up until you're you know on your on your last leg of life enjoying enjoying those golden years and um you know a lot of people think that oh your your prime time is you know when you're actually in school and when you're kind of in that k through 12 to learn all the things right neuroplasticity exists no matter what age you are and that's that's something that i think is really important for our for our adults especially to understand is that just because you're at a certain age group whether that's you're in your you know late 20s or you're in your late 50s it doesn't matter because learning is learning and your brain can do it no matter when um but i think the bigger the bigger part of kind of what you're talking about has less to do with neuroscience and more to do with actually psychology and um there are pieces of you know you have inherited this brain this brain is what it is it's made the way it's made and created the way it's created now we have obviously our people who have you know received an incredible gift in terms of their their brain ability.

I think people like albert Einstein who are able to do things that the normal human isn't able to do with their brain but in the most part when we think about our brain we've inherited this this piece of our anatomy and um when we think about kind of where we're at in the hierarchy or how we're moving through our change curves or how we're adopting or you know doing all those things a lot of that has to do with coming back to psychology and understanding why is it that person a is able to just you know kind of say you know what I think.

That's a great change and I'm going to adopt it and why is it that person b sits there and just can't get past the like denial phase i just don't want this to happen i just can't get past it and a lot of it comes down to psychology and a lot of it comes down to safety um and so you know that basic need of feeling safe and knowing that what's happening to you is a safe space the way that we're changing is something that you know has safety in it and um when we talk about loss you know there's there's different types of loss loss of competency loss of relationships and like losses of understanding all those things are lost and if someone doesn't feel safe um with the loss that they're they're kind of trying to overcome um they're never going to move past that kind of first level of of moving forward really that yeah that's fascinating.

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That this is uh this connection of course between our the neuroscience and the psychology um which you you you study both at depth um curious on uh one of the themes that has emerged here as i look at questions has to do is about um let me pick one of them mark green for example ask how do you motivate senior people to and I'm seeing I'm streaming here to senior people in organizations to have a long-term vision for change when organizational incentives at all levels are towards completing current transactions um um boy that's that's a tough one how how is there is there some tricks there or some suggestions from a neuroscience perspective to motivate senior leaders to have a long-term vision when it feels like they're being rewarded for short-term transactions yeah that's a that's a big question honestly. 

I think a lot of our our leaders today you know are to your point kind of focused on maybe shorter term goals and some of that is just due to the environment right so we're changing so much that i think a lot of leaders think it would be foolish to say like i'm going to have a 10-year vision at this point that's pretty common you know back in probably 20-30 years ago to say you know we have a five-year or a 10-year vision um but with the with just the way that things are changing in the market and the global market that we exist in probably those super long term plans aren't aren't really realistic at this point unless they're very high level from a how are we going to be placed in the market or how do we want our people to work better together um those things are probably more static um but when we think about kind of talking to leaders about planning and about creating those plans for change i think a lot of that motivation is around um making them understand the the consequences of not doing some of these things so um if we're only thinking a year out and we're only thinking about this change and we're only caring about exactly what's going to happen right now.

We miss really big windows of time where we can be preparing people for changes that are going to be coming right after this change because most change most transformation is not singular right so it's usually a the big thing drops and then 50 little things follow it right to continue to iterate on it and continue to improve that and so we miss those opportunities if we're not thinking about the 50 little things um to actually help people come along that change curve and that's when people actually feel that change fatigue and that's kind of like wow you know you just threw this huge change at me and now you're throwing all these little changes at me i just i don't even have a moment to catch my breath and so I think that's kind of the trade-off and part of that change fatigue is loss of productivity right so it comes down to dollars and cents um and i hate to say that but the whole world revolves around dollars and cents um so if we can bring it back to you know what is it that's going to hit our bottom line how can we make sure that what we're doing isn't affecting our business in a way financially or or you know reputationally.

How is it that we we feel our company is going to be impacted if our people don't feel like we care about them in terms of their change journey um you know if they leave here will they all say that this is a terrible company they didn't care about our people um those are things that are really important especially in this day and age with social media as what it is and kind of how quickly um news spreads very much so very much so the uh boy there's so many things that we can go deep on here i'm going to pick up on some of the things that are being checked talked about on the chat and the questions that were elbows were having this conversation um let me go a little bit deeper actually one of the comments you made early on and resonated with some people in the audience has to do with the uh as you talk about the five or six ways to overcome resistance.

You talk about the concept of acknowledgement of loss um can you go a little bit deeper on that I mean what is the context what is the actual barrier there is that and then how how do we practically acknowledge loss you know in a business environment yeah that's a that's a great question i i usually spend quite a bit of time talking about that when i when i talk about you know neuroscience and change but um to give you kind of the high level loss if we if we take out a business context loss happens to all of us in many different ways every single day um whether that's you didn't get the job promotion you wanted or you know your car broke down or you know you lost a loved one any of those things.

They're all lost and it's exactly the exact same so let's take business out of it for a second let's think about the way that we acknowledge loss in our personal lives um so if we think to um the example of you know you're a parent you have a child the family pet passes and you know you have that child they're sad right because their pet just passed away um how would you approach that situation as a parent how would you approach that situation as a friend and most of us probably wouldn't walk up to that person and say you know here's all the reasons why this is a really good thing right that's not how we usually accept loss in our personal lives so then why do we do it in business because I can guarantee you every single time.

We see someone who's upset by a change or an announcement that's been made about an upcoming change and they're kind of going through their process of wow if we lose that system what does that mean for me you know that's what i do every single day how am i going to you know live in the future of this work and often times we go to them we say here's the 50 reasons why this is a really good reason to change or why this is going to be great for the company or why you should be excited the reality is that excitement doesn't just appear and the reason for that is that our brains process loss in a different way loss is significantly higher.

I think it's two to three times more impactful on your brain than gain so if you think about that for one loss one single loss you have to have at least you know three plus gains to kind of overshadow it if you even can it just doesn't it's not one for one and in business we tend to think it is um but in personal life we seem to realize that it's not so i think that's kind of how i would suggest is to take business out of it and think about how you would actually go about acknowledging loss in your personal life and then bring business into it i don't think that there's anything wrong with acknowledging the fact.

That hey you know if we're moving accounting software and we realize that we have a thousand people who are experts on this certain software that we use today and all of that goes out the window there's nothing wrong with acknowledging the fact that we realize this is a huge change and we also realize that some of you are going to have really mixed feelings about it um we're going to do what we can and lay out the plan and show them like this is what we have planned to do this is how we're going to make this work for you this is how we're going to help you be prepared for the future and by the way you're all valuable employees and we want to make sure that you make this transition those are are easy things to do but we don't do it a lot i think those are such powerful insights because i think a lot of people who work on good communication plans and things of that nature they know to acknowledge the drawbacks of the change versus just jumping to the benefits and features which is a lot of people like to do that and you are really providing us with some really solid neuroscientific background on why that is the case and this three to one ratio of loss versus uh reward is is fascinating um some people will make a joke for example when companies renew their health plans on an annual basis everybody gets a letter a communication letter about all the new benefits that you have but the first response that most people have is oh i'm gonna look at my old plan to see what they took away and they're not talking about right because it's so they're not acknowledging my loss.

You know and that they focus directly on the new benefits and not talk about the things that will no longer have and uh and I think if i if i understood you correctly it's very important that we we acknowledge what's being what's being lost here from neuroscientific standpoint i guess or my unqualified opinion it's a it's it's a way of developing trust as well that you the person you're talking to is exposing a full reality not just a version of it absolutely Travis you you you're at google one of the most progressive fast-changing organizations in the world and uh i mean seems to be transforming all the time and uh how do you how do you khow how i mean what do you want to transform into and how do you help internally and externally with the organization the clients on this ever this continuous transformation journey.

That everybody's on um how does that work within organizations for you you know if you're able to tell a little bit more about the work that you do yeah absolutely um you know i had someone in my life that told me once that change is something that requires grit and stamina it's not something that can be done overnight right so um i think there's a big piece of that in the work that i do and understanding that um overnight these things aren't just gonna resolve themselves um also understanding that this is certainly not a sprint and with every single change comes many many more changes um so my job is never done um and i think some people that i know look at that and think wow, how do you do that every day and and you know deal with change that just constantly has to you know evolve and it's never finished right.

I love it but really you know in an organization any organization um there is certainly an opportunity for um for improvement and and Google's certainly not in an exception there um you know we are constantly striving to do things differently we're constantly striving to do things better we're constantly striving to be more efficient and all those things require changes and so you know especially when you're in a high growth business like google is you know we we have huge growth every single year in terms of number of people.

That in of itself is a is a giant challenge when it comes to actually driving change and transformation because you have so many new people coming in and one of the things that you know we we work on a lot and we put a lot of time into is understanding how we can help the end user how can we help either the customer so whether that's one of our you know google products or internally how can we help the people who are using our internal processes or internal systems and we set up lots of ways to provide feedback on that we have yearly um yearly surveys that we send out we have lots and lots of ways to provide feedback on what they would like to see things that cause them pain things that they would like to see differently um and that is a huge part of how we kind of drive to transform our organization it's really driven by what people want and that's kind of where my job gets really fun and interesting Travis i can i can't believe 45 minutes have just kind of gone by and I could listen and talk about this topic with you for a long long time we everyone on behalf of everyone who's in this conference we're so grateful for you taking the time um to be here with us to share these incredible insights of your research uh of your practice um and uh we're very grateful for that so on behalf of the our entire business transformation operational access community.

 we want to say thank you for being here with us and sharing your wisdom well it was my pleasure thank you so much for having me um feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn everyone, in the audience I'm happy to chat there and I hope to be here again at the next conference, so thank you again for having me Jose. it's been wonderful thank you Travis. ladies and gentlemen that's Travis Hahler the global leader for uh google when it comes to change management when it comes to culture and uh and uh and of course you know an in-depth look at the neuroscience of change um we certainly will bring him back in future events. 

pillar%20page%20line%201

About the Author

more (30)-1Jose Pires,
Founder & CEO,
Excellence & Innovation.

José Pires serves as the Global Excellence & Innovation (E&I) Leader for Andeavor Corporation, where he oversees the global identification, prioritization and execution of mission critical business improvements and innovations that add value to the company, business partners and external clients in multiple markets.

Prior to his current role, Pires held Excellence and Innovation leadership positions in large, global companies in the electronics (Sony), semiconductor (Cymer-ASML), food (Nestlé) and infrastructure (Black & Veatch) industries. Throughout his career, Pires developed and refined E&I as an award winning program for innovation, leadership development, strategy execution and value creation globally.

Pires is an advisory board leader and keynote speaker for several global conferences on innovation, operational excellence, leadership development, strategy execution, business transformation, customer engagement and growth acceleration.

He holds a Bachelor in Engineering Physics from the University of Kansas and a Master in Business Administration focused in Investment Banking and Entrepreneurship from the University of San Diego.


pillar%20page%20line%201

About the Author

download - 2020-11-27T141125.373Travis Hahler,
Global Change and Transformation Lead,
Google.

Travis is an expert in change management, organizational effectiveness, business transformation, and digital transformation. With +10 years of experience helping Fortune 100 companies from varying industries and across the globe go through large, strategic changes, In the roles he has held, Travis has had the privilege to work with over 100 companies around the world including 40% of the Fortune 100 list. Travis brings this expertise to Google as a Global Change and Transformation Lead. Travis holds a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology with an emphasis in consumer behavior, business management, and neuropsychology, as well as a Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in management, organizational behavior and theory, and accounting. Travis' education also comprised several notable experiences including time studying neuropsychology and neuroscience at Harvard University and performing neurology research on cognitive functioning at Aalborg University in Aalborg, Denmark.pillar%20page%20line%201


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