Chapter 6: “Shrink the Change”
In this chapter we learn from several interesting examples that big changes come from a succession of small changes. The elephant is reluctant to start a daunting task. The challenge is to get the elephant moving by shrinking the change.
One example of shrinking the change was the loyalty card promotions for a free car wash. In one promotion the customer received a stamp for each car wash purchased, and then received a free car wash after filling out the loyalty card with 8 stamps. In the other promotion, the customer needed to fill the loyalty card with 10 stamps, but the card already had two stamps on the card. To get a free car wash in either promotion, customers needed to buy 8 car washes, but customers were more motivated in the second promotion because they were already 20% of the way to their goal of getting their free wash rather than starting from scratch. It is more motivating to be partly finished with a longer task than to be at the start of a shorter one.
Another example of shrinking the change is a fundraising campaign that is not publicly announced until contributions making up 50% of the goal have been received. People are more apt to contribute when they think the goal is within reach.
I can relate to the dreaded housecleaning example. Starting the unpleasant task of cleaning house is worse than continuing it. Facing a daunting task, the instinct is to avoid it. Using the “five-minute room rescue“ technique is shrinking the change. The smaller goal is a cleaner house rather than a clean house. At the end of the five minutes, achieving small, visible goals creates momentum to keep cleaning.
Personally, I find wearing my Fitbit Flex to track the number of steps I take in a day helps motivate me to achieve 10,000 steps by shrinking the change into five smaller goals of 2000 steps. When just one of five LED lights are blinking on my Fitbit, I know I am between 0 and 2000 steps. The closer I get to 2000 steps, the faster the light blinks. When I reach 2000 steps, the second light displays to show I am between 2000 and 4000 steps. When I see one of the lights blinking fast, I am motivated to keep walking to get to the next level. When I see all five lights, I know I am getting close to my 10,000 steps for the day, and I want to keep walking to see the fifth blinking light and finally feel the vibration to indicate I have reached my goal.
In my classes I need to find ways to break down tasks for my students so they can achieve small successes that will motivate them to continue the journey with a feeling of confidence.
“If you want a reluctant Elephant to get moving, you need to shrink the change.” (Page 129)