1. Role models and visions
In this model people tend to adopt voluntary changes because they are unhappy, frustrated or dissatisfied with their lives or businesses. This dissatisfaction provides the energy and motivation for change. Dissatisfaction happens when the reality of life contradicts people's hopes, dreams and sense of identity. It's not about rational calculation. It's about the role of the imagination: the ever shifting dream world that swirls around our identity (our hopeful self). There are many elements on our 'hopeful self', including values (things we value); perceived social norms (what we think our peers value); and hopes (our vision for our lives). But life isn't a dream, it's full of indignities and frustrations. The bigger the dissonance between dreams and reality, the more unattainable our dreams seem, then the greater the motivation for change. Dissonance alone does not make change however. It actually blocks change unless there are feasible pathways for change and social 'invitations' to entice/kick us out of out comfy zones - that's where the other elements of the model come in. |Definition | |Shared purpose: A vision for living, running a business or household that: | |addresses real dissatisfactions of the people you want to act; | |crystallises a hopeful future; | |accords with their hopes and dreams; | |believably demonstrates the role of the particular action or product in achieving | |those hopes and dreams. |
Implications for program designers
A change program should therefore be a credible answer to the actual frustrations being experienced by the people we want to become actors. The basic research question, addressed to the potential actors, is therefore: "Thinking about your life/business/farm, what are the things you are unhappy about and would like to change?" This provides an agenda of frustrations we may be able to position our program as an answer to. Importantly, we may have to reengineer our program before it can be of service to our actors' dreams. In the case of a quit smoking program, for instance, we may need to alter the program from getting smokers to quit, to enabling non-smokers to negotiate more effectively with smokers to help them quit. In other words, retargeting our program to where there is a frustration we can reasonably address. Because desire works at the level of the imagination we need to use desirable visions and role models to demonstrate how our product/action would fit into people's visions of what a good life/farm/business could look like. You could call this 'crystallising a vision'. For instance we might use a successful, respected grazier to demonstrate how, say, sustainable grazing practices are a normal part of a high-status farm business in a particular district. Transforming a program into something that solves the dissatisfactions of the potential actors, as well as meeting the agency's goals, is what I call 'establishing common purpose'. It is one of the most...