Can do vs want to do

The rotten thing about having Mum as a mum is, I know how to stop being angry. I’ve been taught any number of ways to manage anger, and they really work. What she’s never been able to teach me is how to want to manage it. So I go on seething and raging and knowing the whole time that it’s my own fault, because I do know how to stop.

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik

When we want to change behaviors, we need to consider both if people want it, and if they have the ability to do it. Just because we can do it, we might not want to do it. Or in other cases we are highly motivated to change but we don’t know how, or we don’t have the resources. BJ Fogg has created an extremely simple and useful model for understanding and talking about behavior change. He says that behavior change comes from motivation, ability, and prompts. And if any of them are lacking we will not get the new behavior.

What I have seen in most organizations that I have worked with, is that in most cases what we lack is ability and prompts. Most people want to change their way of working or how they act, they just don’t have the skills, time, nor resources to do it.