S1 E27: Praying for Extinction
Change implementation requires changing the behavior of the people involved. This can often look like resistance, in that unwanted behaviors can crop up with increasing frequency before disappearing entirely. This is because the reinforcement and reward of this behavior has changed.
When we want to phase out an unwanted behavior we make a decision to no longer reinforce it. From the perspective of change, this means that we no longer respond to maladaptive behaviors. In short, we ignore.
When we “ignore” a behavior (no longer respond to the stimuli) it can result in a temporary intensity and increase in the maladaptive behavior before it stops.
Understanding extinction bursts and how to deal with them is important for change leaders. Change leadership requires strength and forbearance especially when we are moving through an extinction burst – it gets worse before it gets better!
A few references to help dive deeper into this area of behavioral science:
How Extinction is Defined in Psychology
What is Extinction? Behavior Modification for Reducing Problematic Behaviors
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Natalia Lobach is the founder and principal of Charthouse Advisory Services