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Book Review How to Change by Katy Milkman

Posted by Carole Mahoney on 11/12/21 4:29 PM

Book Review (1)

So, have you ever wondered why some things work for you, but not for others? Or why so many of us fail at our New Year's Eve resolutions every year? It is one of the main things that I am writing about in a chapter right now.

For my “Buyer First” book. And I really wanted to dig into what the psychological science behind the “why” of those things work, or do not. So that I could share those strategies in the book for those self-employed business owners and frontline sales professionals that are trying everything and anything to increase their sales, but they often do not realize that it is their own mindsets and behaviors towards sales that are getting in their way.

Changing what and how we think so that we can take different actions to get better results…

Sounds pretty simple, but it's anything but.

Book Review How to Change by KM-1

We often know what we need to do, but we stumble in the getting to the “actually do it” part and that is why I read the book, “How to Change” by Katy Milkman. Now, she is a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and she also holds another appointment at Penn's Perelman School of Medicine.

Her, research explores ways that economics and psychology can be used to harness to change our behaviors for good like savings and exercise and doing more vaccinations.

I took a lot of notes, but I had three that stood out to me as my favorites.


Now the first one was the one that actually surprised me a little bit.

In the research, she found that when we are pursuing something that requires a lot of sustained effort, knowing how far we are behind some of our peers, actually, demoralizes us, can break our spirit.

So, all those leader boards that we are seeing in our sales dashboards could actually be a bad thing for your team. And business owners who read all of those articles about how someone turned a side gig into a multimillion-dollar enterprise in six months:  You might be raining on your own parade.

Now another one that grabbed my attention is the role that giving or taking advice plays in our behavior change.

You see we need the confidence to make a change happen and it is a huge factor in whether we are going to stick to that. But when we are asked to give advice on something that we are pursuing for someone else, it actually increases our own confidence in our abilities to do it.

Mentoring and peer groups are notable examples of how you can increase your own confidence to accomplish something. I know for myself personally that when I coach sellers and business owners to prospect, it actually makes my own prospecting that much easier to do myself.

Now, there is a third one that really stood out to me as well.

And this is actually something that might surprise you. We all have those times when we feel lazy. Right? Like we just cannot seem to make ourselves do something. We can actually harness that laziness to make behavior change easier and stickier.

For example, when I started on my weight loss journey, a couple of years ago, I made the same three things for breakfast nearly every day and it was really because of my own laziness that I did not want to have to spend the time figuring out some new thing to make.

So, by producing three options that I chose from every day, It was essentially doing a setting & forgetting of this task that I needed in order to make my daily behavior change.

Now, there are probably lots of small ways that you can do the same thing in your own sales behaviors, by limiting, your options and setting them up. So that it is something that you do not even need to think about doing. It is a terrific way to start a new habit.


Now, there is one important lesson that I hope that you will take away from all of this:

And that these things, these were MY top three.

You probably have a different top three based on your own personal strengths and weaknesses. So, even though it is based on scientific research, we really are all special snowflakes unique, and therefore, the strategies that might work for me, not necessarily guaranteed to work the same way for you.

There is no one-size-fits-all “works for everyone” at any time strategy for behavior change.

So, read the book, get your top three takeaways, and try them out.

Any one of the lessons that you have in that book are small things that you can start applying right away. This was the absolute key for me helping to make my behavior change.

This is definitely a book that is going on my recommended reading list for all of my clients.

Check it out:

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Topics: book review, sales coaching, sales development, personal development, mentoring, sales mindsets, sales training, stress