To shift stubborn people, reduce the cost of change

Thu Jul 04 2024 Michael McQueen

Oliver Wendell Holmes famously observed that “It’s a rare person who wants to hear what they don’t want to hear.” While humans have always been resistant to uncomfortable and unfamiliar ideas, our ideology-driven and polarized age means that changing people’s minds today can feel harder than ever. Certainty is so often esteemed over curiosity and obstinance too easily takes the place of open-mindedness. 

Stubbornness may be alive and well in political discourse, but it is no less prevalent in our teams and organisations. Debates or disagreements can quickly descend into ego-driven battles causing individuals to double-down on their existing ideas as a form of self-preservation. But given the fact that we spend an estimated 40 percent of our work lives trying to persuade the thinking of others, we must be careful to avoid using 19th and 20th century techniques for trying to change 21st century minds. 

The vital first step in overcoming obstinance is to understand why people don’t change their minds – even when they want to and know they should.

We need to learn how to disagree. In today's culture, we are disagreeing constantly - but we are doing a terrible job of it. When it's done well, disagreement is necessary in guiding us further in pursuit of truth, but on the other hand it also has potential for being highly destructive.

Edward De Bono put it best when he observed that there is a big difference between disagreeing with someone and being merely disagreeable.

While many of us assume that being persuasive is about learning to present our arguments impactfully, the way we respond to individuals and ideas we disagree with is just as important. Speaking to the theme, venture capitalist and author Paul Graham devised a spectrum for describing different forms of disagreement—from the toxic to the constructive.


Mon May 13 2024 Michael McQueen

AI is making waves in every industry, and healthcare is not exempt. While the health industry is undoubtedly one in which the presence of humans is essential, the ever-increasing capabilities of artificial intelligence are opening up possibilities for processes to be streamlined in a way that benefits both healthcare professionals and patients.

Here are 3 ways in which AI is impacting the future of healthcare:


Tue Apr 30 2024 Michael McQueen

Is our knowledge exceeding our wisdom? While the two terms are often associated, they are far from synonymous. In an age saturated with information, the ability to handle this knowledge is essential – and yet, we are at risk of a dangerous wisdom deficit.

In recent weeks, I’ve been reflecting on the degree to which my own profession and profile makes it hard to prioritize wisdom. Whether it’s speedily scanning volumes of research in preparation for a presentation, assembling bite-sized content pieces to share on social media, or crafting soundbite responses for media interviews, I too easily find myself merely trading in knowledge and information. While quality trumps quantity when it comes to thinking and ideas, I increasingly find myself consumed in the quantity game all too often.

The best way I’ve heard the role of AI in today's corporate world describes is as a multivitamin or a painkiller. As a multivitamin, it can supercharge your activities, working alongside employees to ensure that outcomes are achieved to a greater level of quality, efficiency and productivity. As a painkiller, it takes over all the tasks that are common headaches for workers, freeing them up to focus their attention on more valuable and gratifying work.

In the banking and finance sector, AI is set to enable significant productivity gains for those that integrate it. Providing automated reporting, improving risk transparency, automatically updating policies and procedures and performing compliance and risk audits are among the ways generative AI will be capable of improving efficiency. Beyond this, algorithms can analyse vast amounts of financial data to identify patterns and trends, enabling more accurate predictions and informed decision-making.[1]


Thu Apr 11 2024 Michael McQueen

Having grown up within a digital age with no memory of a pre-internet world, and reached adulthood within an era of lockdowns and global crises, Generation Z finds itself in a very unique set of circumstances that are consistently setting it apart from previous generations.

All this to say, Gen Zs are thinking about their relationship with work very differently to their predecessors!

Here are 3 ways Gen Z is approaching work:

Whatever game you are playing, generative AI is changing it. As the capabilities of the technology continue to proliferate, our societies are in the midst of fundamental change - as sizable as that generated by the advent of the printing press.

2024 is set to be another massive year for AI as we continue to see big companies integrate it into their operations, jobs evolve with the takeover, and regulations play catch up.


Mon Dec 11 2023 Michael McQueen

In the early 50s, a doomsday cult called the Oak Park Study Group thought the world was ending. Members of this particular cult had predicted that a massive flood would occur on December 21st of that year and destroy all life on Earth. Oak Park Study Group members were taught that on the eve of the cataclysm, an alien being from the planet Clarion would come to rescue the true believers from the fate that awaited humankind the next day.

At the time, Stanford University social psychologist Leon Festinger became intrigued by this group’s rise to prominence. Having infiltrated the group with a group of colleagues under the guise of being true believers, Festinger uncovered some fascinating psychological findings about the nature of cognitive dissonance.