Behavioral psychologists have this big fancy term for how people make changes in their life, it’s called the “Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change”, we’ll just call it “Stages of Change”. In essence, this is how people progress from denial of a need to change through the successful change of the behavior. These stages are often used to describe the disposition of a drug addict in their process to recovery. However, the same stages can describe the disposition of a leader learning to adopt social media. Here’s how it works:
Stage 1: Precontemplation (aka Denial or “Not Ready to Change”)
This is the denial phase. In precontemplation, we’re saying there’s no real issue here. The drug addict says, “I can quit whenever I want.” The leader says, “social media is just a fad”.
What is needed here is an intervention. The drug addict needs their family to confront them with how their decisions hurt those they love. Peers of the leader need to show avoidance of social media reduces market share, causes missed sales opportunities and reduces share of voice online.
Stage 2: Contemplation (aka Acceptance or “Getting Ready to Change”)
The addict admits they have a problem but has not yet committed to solving it. The leader admits there is value in social media, but isn’t quite sure they must change themselves.
During this stage, the addict needs support of friends and family to grow their interest in changing. The leader needs the same: peers and team members to help educate and reinforce the growing awareness of social media.
Stage 3: Preparation (aka Commitment or “Ready to Change”)
The addict has stopped seeing the dealer but hasn’t gotten rid of their stash yet. The leader is dabbling in social media, friending their kids on Facebook (to their children’s chagrin) or perhaps reading blogs and books on social media principles.
What is needed here are examples, tools and techniques. The addict should join a program or commits to a process. The leader needs a routine, perhaps a schedule to check social feeds, a social monitoring suite or training program.