Master 7 languages ​​and comprehend the “first principles” of in-depth transformation

There is a “famous saying” that is like a paragraph and somewhat serious, saying, “There is no “easy” in the adult world. If what is said is true, then there is no such thing as “easy to change” in the adult world. A study found that people’s impressions of other people and things in the first 11 milliseconds are highly consistent with the impressions made when there is no time limit. This means that people are either very smart or very stubborn.

However, in this new era where change is the norm, individuals have to face challenges such as devaluation of experience, outdated knowledge, and outdated cognition, and companies often live in fear of losing their territory. As a result, the sound of talking about change is like rock music. Few people don’t embrace change with enthusiasm, but “the beginning is not the beginning, the end is hard to overcome”, and the vigor and vigor of the vision and the “banner” can not pass How long it took to return to the original place with peace of mind formed a sharp contrast.

The new world’s richest man Elon Musk has an innovative “first principle”. In the eyes of admirers of cognitive therapy, cognitive renewal may be regarded as the “first principle” of deep change. Robert Kagan, an expert in adult development and learning at Harvard University, believes that people “how the way we talk can change the way we work” (How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work); as long as they master seven languages, they can do it Depth changes.

“Language is thinking”
Communication scholar McLuhan has a judgment, “The medium is information”, and the difference of the medium determines the division of information quality. Therefore, people who like to watch TV and basically get information through mobile phones and people who like to read live in two worlds. According to cats and tigers, can we say that language is thinking?

At least two theories can provide support for this.

The first theory is the mechanism of self-cognition. It believes that people (at least at the beginning) may not really know what they are thinking or what attitude they hold. How did “know yourself” happen? Infer from what you do. As Karl Wick said, “When I understand what I said, I know what I really think.” Therefore, language is like the window of the soul. You can see your true self when you lie on the window and look inside.

The second theory is Lyon Festinger’s cognitive dissonance theory. This prestigious theory holds that people cannot tolerate inconsistencies in behavior and cognition. Therefore, either change behavior or adjust cognition. “Say” is undoubtedly an action, and it is a very explicit and visible action, which can reflect a person’s thinking and attitude. It can even be said that a person’s language is as loyal and authentic as taste, and it can reflect a person’s mind, character and taste very accurately.

In fact, most of the time, people judge your perceptions and attitudes based on what you say and how you say it. A grand narrative with a mouth full of empty heads and brains, his brain is mostly the racetrack of other people’s thoughts; a person playing officialdom with you shows that he has no intention of getting too close to you and has considerable reservations about you; subordinates have never I didn’t say “no” to you, not because of how clever you are, but because you are a bad leader and have the potential to be “lost in a word”.

Based on this, we can prudently agree with the premise of Kegan’s “Cognitive Therapy of Change”, “Our work environment is a language community…all leaders are leading the language community” rather than jokingly saying, “Our The working environment is a WeChat group…All leaders are group owners.”

As long as you speak in a way that is conducive to change, the renewal of the cognitive layer will occur, and the change will be true and effective, and continue to move forward. More importantly, if the change in the cognitive level is not realized, it will let the change go around. Because the human cognitive layer has a set of defense mechanisms, the “immune system”, which will counteract the efforts of change through a dynamic balance mechanism.

For example, if a person decides to run to lose weight, when he runs for a month without any results, there will be a voice in his mind telling him that exercise to lose weight is useless; when he is hungry and dizzy when he is dieting, the other voice is Will tell him over and over again, life must have fun in this world, don’t let the rice bowl empty to the moon.

Start with respect for “negative energy”
Changes start from the individual. Individuals do not change or “restart” from the root of their behavior. It is difficult for the collective to make major and positive changes. Even if it starts, it is difficult to continue. So, how can individuals fight their own “immune mechanism”? The answer is to master four languages.

To achieve this change from complaint to promise, the first thing to do is not to suppress, defile, or shame complaining, but to respect it and face it squarely. There are two reasons: First, “complaining has almost become the hidden second nature of people.” Therefore, it is impossible to eliminate complaints. No matter what method you use to contain it, it will be like weeds, as long as the spring breeze returns. Now, when the rain is not dry, and the sun rises as usual, it will surely invade the road and connect the city; secondly, people “will not complain about things they don’t care about”, “under the torrent of complaints, there is a hidden darkness worthy of attention. River, that contains what you cherish the most, and what makes you devote yourself to the most.” Therefore, the first thing to do for change is to dig out the implicit “commitment or belief” from the negative energy.

It is easy to know that respecting complaints does not stop here, because complaining will not change anything. Complaints are respected because they have clues to the new world. Complaining clearly expresses what we don’t like, because we know what we like and what we pursue; complaining creates friction and weakness, and discovering that the promise can stimulate energy; complaining is not wrong, but a signal to care about something.

From accusing to taking responsibility now, you see promises, directions, and destinations, but they are on the far side, not in the present reality. A natural question is, why are we so far from the promise? Except for other people’s reasons and environmental problems, what did you do or didn’t do, which caused you to yearn for it, and to be unable to reach it?

Blaming others blindly is tantamount to giving up the opportunity to learn. In fact, you don’t have to worry about solving the gap between your vision and reality, but you have to earnestly grasp the skills and abilities of self-reflection. However, the premise of self-reflection is to acknowledge that some or all of the problems are your own responsibility. The result of blaming others is: first, it causes others to defend and counterattack (if known by the other party); second, one has a sense of frustration, alienation, and powerlessness, because it is very difficult to change the environment and others, and the result is tomorrow, tomorrow, Everything is in vain.

Changes start from the individual. Individuals do not change or “restart” from the root of their behavior. It is difficult for the collective to make major and positive changes. Even if it starts, it is difficult to continue.
From the establishment of the Flag to the confrontational commitment, the gap between commitment and behavior and self-attribution have formed a “shame list.” At this point, should we set up the Flag with the gongs and drums, or should we carefully examine the reason behind the behavior, that is, the antagonistic reason for the promise?

Setting up the Flag is usually a cycle: December 31st, the heart is surging, January 31st, the heart is mad, the end of February is absent, and the end of March is tacit. Why is this so? Because Li Flag is still emphasizing poetry and the distance, but it is back to the first language, back to the starting point. To explore adversarial promises is to understand the legitimacy of behavior. For example, although I am far from a good promise, I try my best to avoid the things that I fear from happening.

So far, the three languages ​​have highlighted the full picture of the cognitive immune system. Give a common example. Mr. Zhang always complained that his leadership layman blindly commanded the insider, which made him exhausted and depressed. What are the promises contained in this complaint? Get enough respect and trust. However, when the leader asked him if he had any opinions on his own working methods, he did not put forward opinions such as “less intervention”, because he subconsciously believed that it is a complete trap for the leader to let everyone advise him, and he must not risk this. risk.

From the unconscious “truth” to the testable hypothesis In Mr. Zhang’s case, giving advice to the leader will cause the leader to be unhappy, and the consequences of the leader’s unhappiness are very serious, which is an unconscious “truth”. Now, if Mr. Zhang wants to change the status quo, what will he do?

First, observe the relationship between himself and this “truth” and how this truth will affect his life, choices and experiences; the second step is to actively look for the moments that made Mr. Zhang doubt the truth; the third step is to explore this Where did the truth come from, and how long has it been born; fourth, temporarily reduce the truth to a hypothesis, start testing with small but novel changes to see how much truth is contained in the truth, and see if it is not followed Will it really have disastrous consequences? Of course, the test should be carried out within a controllable range, and several times more.

The process of mastering these four languages ​​may create confusion and anxiety, but if you don’t try it, you will always be curled up in an uncomfortable “comfort zone”.

Three languages ​​to lead change
Professor John Curt of Harvard University is a well-known “master of change.” He summarized the eight steps of change: establishing a sense of urgency, forming a strong leadership alliance, creating a vision, communicating the vision, empowering others to realize the vision, planning and promoting short-term performance, consolidating progress and promoting more changes, and integrating new methods. Institutionalized. Henry Mintzberg of McGill University in Canada sarcastically said: “Do companies in the 21st century have to imitate the court of Louis XIV?”

Kegan must feel the same about Mintzberg’s dissatisfaction. Because it is too easy for people who lead change to have an “extraordinary perspective”, that is, I know the answer to the question and have the advantage and power to judge right and wrong, so I can reward those who do the right thing, criticize and even punish those who run counter to the vision of change (or say “Anti-revolution”) behaviors and people, showing sympathy, compassion, and help to those who can’t keep up.

Do people with leadership positions really know the answer to the question? not necessarily.

Kodak’s engineers invented the digital camera, but it has been hidden by decision-makers; although Intel invented the chip, it did not pay much attention to the chip business, which made the key figure Fajin disheartened and ran away to start a business; on the eve of the mobile Internet wave, its The CEO decided to sell the mobile phone chip business…On the other hand, the inspiration for IKEA to sell flat-packed furniture came from a worker, and this idea changed IKEA and the entire furniture industry; Honda’s decision-makers decided to sell large motorcycles in the United States. But it was a complete failure. In the end, its small motorcycle became popular unexpectedly; a company that made frozen glutinous rice balls returned from 60% a year to quickly make a big profit, only because someone proposed to change the ping-pong-sized glutinous rice balls to the size of a pinball… Therefore, holding power does not mean that the truth is in hand. Change requires mutual support, fairness and integrity, and mutual learning among team members.

Kegan recommends that leaders who want to lead organizational change master the following three languages.

Continuous attention Everyone needs to feel valued and indispensable, especially in the midst of change. A sense of value can be obtained by expressing gratitude and admiration to each other. Note that gratitude and admiration should be spoken directly, not “middleman”; it should be specific. The reason why you are grateful and admire him is because of what he did in something, not because of what he is like. People; should be non-qualitative, not labeling “state the other person”, such as “you are so generous”, but talking about your own feelings and experiences, “you took the time to help me complete the task after get off work, which made me come for a few days All of a sudden, his anxiety disappeared.” The language of continuous attention can allow people to face the inner contradictions in self-reform, boldly question and test their own “default truth”, and bring vitality to the organizational system.

Table 1 Four-column version of the concept table in Mr. Zhang’s case

Public agreement organizations are in the midst of turbulence and uncertainty. They especially need an upright organizational atmosphere, an atmosphere of fairness, focus, and efficiency that can cultivate self-esteem and new commitment to the work environment. Let everyone work together to create a public agreement, instead of letting the leader announce a right and wrong standard.

Interestingly, the creation of public agreements is more important than the agreement itself. Its purpose is to create violations. Because they violate the public agreement that they have participated in, violations will arouse collective indignation, and collective indignation often enhances the cohesion of the group. Over time, violations will decrease, and the inevitable organizational injustice will decrease. The more upright the organization, the less necessary people’s defense mechanisms will be, and they will focus more on the change itself rather than on its own gains and losses.

Deconstructive feedback, whether it is continuous attention or organizational integrity, is ultimately to deal with conflict. Conflicts include not only inconsistencies in interests, but also differences in concepts, strategies, and routes. There are also setbacks and tensions caused by mistakes. How will people respond?

The most common mode is destructive feedback, that is, to deny others in general, and to blame others threateningly, that is, workplace PUA, for example, “How can you still make such a mistake when you are too old?” The second mode It is constructive feedback, timely feedback on specific issues, for example, “Lao Zhang, you have missed the details of this matter, pay attention next time.”

The two are completely different, but there are similarities, and they are all based on the underlying assumption of “I am right and you are wrong.” In daily affairs and normal conditions, constructive feedback is both good and fruitful compared to destructive feedback. However, neither of these two types of feedback are suitable for change scenarios.

The essence of deconstructive feedback is to bring the four languages ​​of personal change into the social, interpersonal and organizational environment, starting from “I am not necessarily right” and changing the preacher to the learner-“Everyone is a self-learner. They are also people who learn from each other”; dialogue is not to persuade each other, but to understand each other’s differences and conflicts. Through deconstructive feedback, conflict will not evolve into confrontation, whether it is a passive confrontation that violates righteousness and evil, or a controversy of open fire.


Max Planck, the founder of quantum mechanics, once said sadly, “The victory of a new scientific truth does not depend on convincing and comprehending its opponents, (not so much) as it is. Because its opponents are finally dead, and a new generation familiar with this new scientific truth has grown up.”

Change is never easy, and mastering the seven languages ​​advocated by Kegan is not easy, especially the latter three. From another point of view, it is precisely because it is not easy to control change that history is so exciting, and the fight between the conservatives and the innovators is fascinating. However, if we don’t want to become conservatives too early, we might as well give it a try.

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