What Success Looks Like
Change your thoughts, change your behavior: Study has implications for culture transformation
June 1, 2010
A new study by Daniel Strunk, assistant professor of psychology, provides hope for people affected by depression, but also has implications for our culture transformation efforts.
The study’s results suggest that moderate to severely depressed clients showed greater improvement when therapists emphasized changing how they think rather than how they behave.
Understanding this can help advance our culture transformation. In unfreezing retreats, we talk a lot about different behaviors that help us be more positive and increase effectiveness. But, the conversation goes deeper and focuses on the thinking that drives our behaviors.
Focusing on our thinking is important because, in order to achieve the behavior changes we’re seeking, we must do more than go through the motions, we must change our thought patterns. If someone offers you strengthening feedback and doesn’t think about how to help you learn, how helpful is the feedback? If you don’t see feedback as positive and helpful, how well do you receive it? If you see your teammates as people to compete with, how likely are you to offer or ask for help?
In each of these examples, the outcome is determined by the thoughts behind the situation. Both people have to be open to giving and receiving feedback in a positive manner. We have to see our team as a source of support. We can go through the motions, but the result is the same as if we didn’t.
As you hear about and go through the culture transformation process, you are encouraged to have an open mind, and pay attention to how you think about the changes you’re learning about; don’t just go through the motions. Changing your thoughts is the first step in changing our culture.