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Five myths about changing behavior

The May 2005 issue of Fast Company (pg. 54) discusses five myths about people changing their behavior.

(1) A crisis powerfully influences change. In light of how few coronary bypass patients stick to a healthier lifestyle, a couple of bad quarters for the company won’t cause lawyers to change how they practice.
(2) Fear motivates change. To the contrary, people often deny the fearful future, such as losing their job, or they harden their behavior. Bad client satisfaction scores can ripple through a law department in the form of resistance to “those stupid clients.”
(3) Facts point the way to change. No, narratives – stories with intuitive messages – alter views more than numbers do, such as a benchmark study that shows total legal spending as a percentage of revenue being above third quartile.
(4) Gradual changes are easier to make and sustain. Research rebuts this myth. Jump into the cold water of reviewing bills online, rather than spreading it one law firm at a time.
(5) You can’t teach an old dog new UCC provisions. Most lawyers want to become better, and in-house counsel especially want to ride the tides of business. They will adopt the new practices that make sense to them.

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