Feeling a sense of control over our situation can give us great confidence and overcome unease in the face of change. Where can you integrate choices that make people feel like they’ve “got this”?
Working on a big project that's dragging on for too long or become inefficient? How can you request time / resource for a small project that could be used to test a project hypothesis quickly more simply? A small sprint involving a multi-disciplinary team and a necessary opportunity for everyone to let go of their sunk costs together.
We're predisposed to over-value our current efforts and feel uncomfortable about that which we're not familiar with, even if it might be a better route forward. How can you expose those exhibiting sunk costs to new ideas by gently increasing exposure and familiarity to them over time? Eventually, the better idea won't be so unfamiliar any more...
A fresh week, month or year offers a convenient opportunity for perspective-taking and a more rational assessment of work done to date. Letting go is hard, but iterative time segments with built-in pre-commitments around milestones can offer everyone a clean break from the past.
We'll be more willing to let go of our past efforts when the scenario is reframed to make us feel better. How can you reframe peoples' past efforts not as wasted but as a necessary part of the creative process? Going further, what work or learning can be salvaged from the efforts?
We're disproportionately averse to losing our efforts. Offering a perspective of higher level goals or mission can help reduce our attachment to wasted effort along the way. Where can you remind people of their ultimate dreams? How can you package the loss as part of a necessary sacrifice towards a bigger gain?
When we don’t know what to choose, we look for guidance. Defaults offer a great way to navigate the new. Where can you guide people?
Giving people a low-risk taster is a great way to test out the new without fear. Where can you provide moments to explore the unfamiliar?
Unfamiliar, hard-to-understand concepts will always trigger uncertainty. How can you simplify messaging to ease cognitive processing and therefore familiarity? For particularly-new ideas, how might you use existing metaphors to allow people to easily relate?
Too much choice can overwhelm, but a little choice allows companies to provide consistently for a range of differing tastes. Where can you use choice to provide certainty and therefore familiarity?
We naturally follow others, especially in unfamiliar situations. How can you use others’ choices to help reduce risk aversion?