The Human Element
Overcoming the Resistance That Awaits New Ideas
Most marketers, innovators, and executives assume that the best way to convince people to embrace change is to heighten the appeal or value of their idea—often leading them to add extra features, benefits, and marketing sizzle. This belief is what award-winning behavioral scientist Loran nordgren, a professor at the Kellogg School of Management, calls a “fuel-based mindset.” Fuel is what incites our desire to change, explains Nordgren. Yet focusing exclusively on fuel neglects the other half of the marketing equation—the psychological “frictions” that oppose change. In his Wall Street Journal bestseller The Human Element, as well as in his engaging talks, Nordgren reveals how to overcome these barriers and bring our best ideas to life.
“An engrossing read on what it takes to open other people's minds. A leading psychologist and a crackerjack entrepreneur team up to demystify the science and practice of convincing people to let go of the status quo.”— Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Think Again and host of the TED podcast WorkLife
Whether you’re a business leader, a project manager, an educator, or an activist, at some point, you’ve probably wondered why some of your best ideas keep getting rejected. It turns out there are four psychological forces or “frictions” that keep us rooted to the status quo—inertia, effort, reactance, and emotion—and we rarely consider them when we’re presenting a new idea, instead focusing on what makes the idea itself compelling. Unfortunately, this common practice is like “building an airplane and caring only about engines and not aerodynamics,” says Loran Nordgren. In The Human Element, a WSJ and USA Today bestseller, Nordgren and his co-author David Schonthal steer us away from the conventional path of persuasion to teach us an even more critical skill: overcoming resistance. Described as “an engrossing read on what it takes to open other people’s minds” (Adam Grant), this book shows us how to transform our most basic evolutionary instincts into catalysts for change.
A Professor of Management and Organizations at the Kellogg School of Management, Nordgren’s research explores the forces that propel and prevent the adoption of new ideas and actions. He has helped companies across the globe work through a wide range of challenges through a process he calls Behavioral Design. Whether it’s reducing turnover rates, improving employee habits, increasing word-of-mouth referrals, or creating a culture of innovation, Nordgren draws on his wealth of insights—as both a lecturer and scientist—to guide us towards meaningful change.
Nordgren’s work has been published in leading journals such as Science and has been widely discussed in prominent forums such as The New York Times, The Economist, and the Harvard Business Review. He has received the Theoretical Innovation Award in experimental psychology, as well as numerous teaching awards for excellence in the classroom. A former Fulbright Scholar, Nordgren teaches MBA and executive level courses on the Science of Leadership and Leading Organizational Change, and was once named one of Poets&Quants’ 40 under 40 business school professors. Nordgren has shared his cutting-edge insights with some of the world’s leading organizations, such as Amazon, Google, The Chicago Cubs, and the Aspen Institute.