We’ve all seen the “resistance curve” where a few people are innovators, some are early adopters, early and late majorities, and a few are laggards, or skeptics, or what-have-you (from the work of Everett Rogersand other researchers).

One way to get almost everyone to be an early adopter is to offer something of value – money, time off, presents. Yes, bribes (as well as food) are well-known tools for speeding change acceptance. Did you ever hear of anyone resisting a bonus check? (I do know of one instance where a person received an unexpected bonus check for $100, then complained because the check wasn’t for an amount that would have yielded $100 after taxes.)

However, there’s another inducement to change that I’ve observed. When people are introduced to the possibility of a new or different process, they sometimes are eager to embrace change as long as the new process meets one criterion: It’s “less work” for them.

Now, this is a little differentdiscussion than most of us havehad about Radio Station WII-FM: What’s In It For Me? These particular folks don’t want to be jollied into accepting more work; they just want to do less work (by their own definition).

Because, let’s face it – often, it’s “more work” to do something right the first time, in the way it’s supposed to be done, than to do it poorly the first time and let someone else do the rework later. Regardless of the potential benefit and value to the customer, some people who are “in the moment” just care about the work that they do personally. It’s so easy to get caught up in what’s value-added for ourselves and to lose track of what’s value added for the customer.

I don’t want to get diverted into related discussions about the work ethic of our Generation-X and Gen-Y employees (not to mention the Millennials); or Theory X (people try to do the least work) vs Theory Y (people try to do a good job). I’d just like to know whether anyone else has experienced this, and what they have done to address it. After all, we won’t get far with process improvement if the gold standard is that everyone will do less work than they were doing before!

Or will we?!?!?!?!

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