Don’t forget about what got better

Don't forget about what got better

Negativity bias is the tendency to focus on only those things that aren't working, rather than focusing on what has improved. I've observed that during a switch from one AMS to another, frequently staff will fall into this trap. The result can be as simple as spending too much time on trying to fix something that isn't that important, to the extreme of staff believing the entire implementation has failed.

True story: I once had an executive director tell me an AMS implementation I was assisting with was a "complete failure" (her words) because we had gone live with one piece of functionality still not working. In her mind, this proved the project had failed, even though everything else had launched properly and they had seen many significant improvements over the old system. (The punchline is that not only was the functionality fixed within weeks, but that "failed" system has been used by the association for over 12 years now!)

So our job is to make sure we communicate the successes that any given project has achieved, as frequently as possible. Humans have a tendency to focus on the negative and flat out forget the positives. So we have to help them re-focus by reminding them of everything that has improved.

Wes's Wednesday Wisdom Archives

You’ll make incorrect decisions. Acknowledge them and fix it.

January 17, 2019

A client of mine recently wrote the following to me: “It’s so hard to set …

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"Experience is unobservable to everyone except the person who it happens to."

January 10, 2019

In Dan Gilbert’s book Stumbling on Happiness, he writes: “Experience is unobservable to everyone except …

"Experience is unobservable to everyone except the person who it happens to." Read More »

Know Your Audience Before You Speak

December 20, 2018

This one may seem obvious, but when you’re speaking to anyone, whether it’s one person, …

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"Behavior is a function of the person in their environment."

December 13, 2018

Lewin’s equation says “behavior is a function of the person in their environment.” (He was …

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Signal-to-noise ratio

December 5, 2018

Signal-to-noise ratio Signal-to-noise ratio, formally used, applies to electricity and engineering, and refers to how …

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Consultants bring perspective

November 28, 2018

Consultants bring perspective At a recent speaking engagement, I was asked what I think is …

Consultants bring perspective Read More »

Garbage in, gospel out

November 22, 2018

Garbage in, gospel out We’ve all heard the phrase “Garbage in, garbage out.” If the …

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Dramatic change does not happen overnight

November 15, 2018

Dramatic change does not happen overnight Like most things in life, dramatic change does not …

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Implementation Intention

November 8, 2018

Implementation Intention Editor’s note: I have a new email newsletter, sent weekly, called Wes’s Wednesday …

Implementation Intention Read More »

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