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Submitted by lindge on


There was an article in the Boston Globe over the weekend about Aid Organizations and the "Positive Deviants" approach to solving problems and introducing change. 

Essentially some aid organizations are dealing with problems e.g. malnutrition by sending people into villages with generally poor malnutrition and identifying 'positive deviants' within these villages e.g. identifying any familiies that may have well nourished kids.  The organizations identify what these families are doing differently compared to everyone else and they then introduce new behaviors from within the community, and are finding that this is proving very effective in changing people's minds in a way that people are less likely to fall back into old habits.

So what has this to do with the MT approach? 

A paragraph from the article stood out for me: "It's easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than to think your way into a new way of acting.  Facilitators try to introduce new behaviors instead of trying to change minds.  Once people see the value of these strategies, they revise their views". 

I've been a listener to MT for some time and have adopted a number of new behaviors that didn't always feel natural to me to start with, but I've stuck with them, seen the results and they now seem very natural to me. 

So I guess one of the things I've learned from MT is to 'jump in', try things out, see the results and that this has changed my way of thinking. 

What have other folks learned from MT?

12string's picture
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 Feedback was a huge one of the those behaviors that seemed so awkward at first to me.  Now it feels much more natural. 

Thanks for the parallel, Lindge.


430jan's picture

When I was a new manager and had no instinct, it was the biggest comfort to be able to DO something effective instead of believing that management was some "magical state of being" endowed at birth.


mmann's picture
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Thank you Lindge.  For me, the quote from the article has to be the best quote of 2009.  This one goes into my bag of management tools!