Kotter has hit on a crucial insight. “Behavior change happens mostly by speaking to people’s feelings,” he says. “This is true even in organizations that are very focused on analysis and quantitative measurement, even among people who think of themselves as smart in an MBA sense. In highly successful change efforts, people find ways to help others see the problems or solutions in ways that influence emotions, not just thought.”
Between this and reading Blink (Malcolm Gladwell) it’s been a bit of an eye-opener in terms of decision making. While I’ve known for a while that car-buying for instance ends up being a mostly emotional process, you really have to wonder if that’s in fact true of all decision making. I’m increasingly a convert to the thought that when our analytical side gets overwhelmed with choice or information, we basically make emotionally guided decisions. It may feel somewhat arbitrary, but there’s just an upper limit to the amount of analysis you can dedicate to any particular problem.