How to Win at Mind Games
(Business 2.0) – For 35 years, Harvard University cognitive psychologist Howard Gardner has been changing the way we think about thinking. His recent work has focused on the processes people use to make decisions. Gardner's new book, Changing Minds, will come in handy for executives who need to win over headstrong associates. -- BRAD WIENERS
Apart from Jedi tricks, what's the secret to changing someone's mind?
There are seven "levers" for changing minds, but deciding which lever to emphasize depends on the context. When it's just two people, for example, resonance [appealing to intuitive sense] is very important. Redescriptions [presenting the same idea in different ways] are the most underappreciated. It's not enough to repeat something a million times; you've got to say it several different ways.
Is there a cure for corporate inertia?
We always underestimate how doggedly people resist new ideas. You have to be persistent, and it helps to understand where the resistance comes from.
Isn't "changing minds" really just a synonym for coercion?
No, it's the opposite: conscious, intentional, and reasonably transparent efforts to change a person's mind. Good executives are generally open about what they are trying to achieve, and they put their goals out on the table.