Leaders Change Things Up to Keep Them Front of Mind

Typically applied to human biology and exercise, the Adaptation Principle is the body’s way of adjusting to increased or decreased physical demands to remain in homeostasis. Applied to life circumstances and work, the Adaptation Principle says that when human beings get used to how they operate in the world around them, they stop noticing what they’re doing and the meaning behind their actions.

Too comfortable and automatic.

Good account managers know this principle, and they hire people who embody it. For example, if a sales person comes from the world of food service, they’ll be very comfortable selling to restauranteurs. Perhaps too comfortable, to the point of missing opportunities. However, if the person with the food service background sells to convenience stores or nursing homes, places outside their comfort zone, they will have to think more. Selling to restaurants was comfortable and automatic; selling outside of food service takes more mental energy.

Another example: a trainer who ends every instruction with “mmm-kay?” doesn’t get a meaningful response after the hundredth time. Comfortable and automatic.

Likewise, a clerk who ends every transaction with, “Have a nice day!” starts to get monotonous after a while. Comfortable and automatic.

What can you do to grab attention back?

Is there a catchphrase or habitual behavior your people poke fun of? If so, mix up your language. Instead of “Mmmmkay?,” try “How about THAT!?” or “What does that make you think?”

So, what can you do to avoid getting bored with your own habits?

Get out of your comfort zone and ask yourself: what’s comfortable and automatic for me? Consider changing it.

Keep moving, keep challenging yourself to do new things, and keep using new words to catch people’s attention. They might notice, and you might even get a smile.

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