Saturday, October 27, 2018

When Your Clients are Moonwalking

Change blindness -- a phenomenon in visual perception where large changes are undetected by the viewer.
I learned about change blindness in an APA Monitor article by Zak Stambor, who wrote, "Distinctive things, things that are unusual, things that are highly salient, don't necessarily draw attention to themselves if you're engaged in some other task."

Here's an example:

How often, when working with corporate clients, have co-workers failed to observe, appreciate, and reinforce changes your clients have made? This failure in perception occurs because others stay focused on the old behaviors instead of the new ones.

In Out of the Box Coaching with the Enneagram we give the example of Jack, whom his boss Ben had asked me to coach:
Coaching came too late to save Jack's job. He'd made progress learning how to solicit and accept feedback and greatly improved his ability to listen to others instead of always telling stories. He'd achieved more balance when he presented business problems... to work with more details and plan more for potential problems. But senior management still saw Jack as a lightweight and Ben had to let him go.
When our clients' success depends upon others noticing positive changes, we have to show those others what to observe. If the instructions in the above video were changed to "look for the moonwalking bear," that's what everyone would see. Your clients and their new behaviors are the moonwalking bear.