Cookies for change (or, Easy ways to help people move towards a goal)

Sometimes cookies are the solution.

At a recent family get together Theresa was talking about her study habits as she prepared for medical exams. “It’s hard to say focused. Sometimes I put a cookie in the textbook every 10 pages. No cookie until I finish studying each part!”

Certain activities excite and awaken our passions making it easy to stay on task. Other times we put every possible alternative above the jobs we don’t want to do, delaying the inevitable or sabotaging our success.

Author Val Wright recommends that we write down our favorite “procrastination destinations” (Facebook, Instagram, checking in with peers, emptying the recycling bin) and then use those as a reward AFTER we complete a significant piece of critical work.

That’s great advice for all of us, whether we are writing a book, or slogging through a tough assignment. And it applies just as well to change.

When a change looks overwhelming or is so far down the road it’s difficult to get started, break it into smaller pieces with a little reward at each stage. When I was working at CIBC on a massive skill development project, the sponsor awarded ‘mile stones’ for each person who completed a significant task. Rocks have no re-sale value but they were a hit with employees.

What have you offered to ignite movement towards a goal?

Sometimes rocks are the solution for sparking change. Sometimes it’s cookies.


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Jeff Skipper
Jeff Skipper is an expert in accelerating change. Clients such as Shell, Goldman Sachs and The Salvation Army have engaged him to achieve dramatic results during strategic transformation by wrapping complex change in motivating mission. He has been quoted in Fast Company, Forbes and HP’s enterprise.nxt. Jeff holds a Master’s degree in Organizational Psychology and is a Certified Change Management Professional.