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Icelandic Horse Connection

The Change Maker

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About the "Change Maker" from Don't Shoot The Dog, by Karen Pryor:

What people do when you start to institute a change (in chronological order)

  • Ignore you
  • Pretend to agree but actually do nothing
  • Resist, delay, obstruct
  • Openly attack you (the dangerous phase, but also a sign that change is starting)
  • Absorb
  • Utilize
  • Take credit
  • Proselytize
What people say in the process of accepting the change:

  • "That might work for your population but not for mine." (absorbing)
  • "I can use it but not for anything important." (absorbing and utilizing)
  • "Some of my people can use it if they feel they need to." (utilizing)
  • "Oh yes, we've been doing that for years, it's quite good." (utilizing and taking credit)
  • "We've come up with a really incredible program, you should try it." (taking credit and proselytizing)
How the change maker can react effectively:

  • When they ignore you, find allies and persist.
  • Don't be misled by lip service. Find allies and persist.
  • Meet resistance with persistence. Move around the resistance; try other avenues.
  • The stage of open attack is a touchy time.
  • Keep your head down, but persist. Don't take the attack personally, even if it is a personal attack.
Attack is information; it tells you:
  • You're getting somewhere: change IS happening, causing extinction-induced aggression.
  • Your attacker is frightened. Empathize.
  • Your attacker still believes in the efficacy of aversives.
  • Absorbing and utilizing: this stage can last a year or more. Maintain generous schedules of reinforcement.
They're taking credit for your idea? By all means, let them; your goal is the change. Credit is a low-cost reinforcer and people who want it don't satiate. Give it away in buckets.

Are they pitching the change? Good. If you want to change something else, you now have new allies.
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