2014 County Court Assistants Training Conference February 12-14, 2014

2014 County Court Assistants Training Conference
Embassy Suites Hotel & Conference Center | San Marcos, Texas
February 12-14, 2014
Friday, February 14
10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Mr. Mark Warren
Training Consultant
Texas Association of Counties
J. MARK WARREN is the training coordinator and consultant for the Texas
Association of Counties. He assists the Association with the vision,
development and delivery of training for both the internal and external
customers of Texas county government. He attended Texas A&M
University from 1973 to 1975 and received a bachelor’s in sociology from
Saint Edward’s University in 1977. He is also a graduate of the 157th
session of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, VA. Warren retired from
the Texas Department of Public Safety in 2000 after 23 years of state service
and was commissioned a special ranger by the Public Safety Commission.
He spent 19 of those years working at the training academy in Austin and
was its assistant commander from 1993 to his retirement. Prior to the
training academy, Warren was a highway patrol trooper in Baytown and
Austin. Warren has earned an instructor’s certificate from the Texas
Commission on Law Enforcement (formerly Texas Commission on Law
Enforcement Officer Standards and Education (TCLEOSE).). In 1991,
Warren received the TCLEOSE award for professional achievement, and in
1996, a Master Peace Officer certification.
Tactics of Innovation
How to Make it Easier for People to Accept
New Ideas (and make them stick)
Presented by Mark Warren
Texas Association of Counties
February, 2014
When it comes to something “new” being proposed, the natural reaction you get is
“why?”Fear is natural when the way we’ve always done it is challenged. The sooner you
can dispel fear about change in general (initially we all react with suspicion) and help
them feel empowered to change behavior on their own, the better. On the delicate subject
of helping people to accept newness, the following is largely based on the book Made to
Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. Citing
a proven formula utilized by the advertising industry, the brothers Heath have isolated
example after famous example in their book. In the ad industry, success is based
exclusively on getting new ideas into people’s heads and making them, well, sticky. But
old and new ad people are also experienced in the complexity of the human psyche. The
book is a perfect template for anyone whose goal is to try to change behavior in others by
helping them feel safe to accept something new.
The resources and references for this program include:
1. “Tactics of Innovation” a video-based “program in a box” by Joel A. Barker,
(based on the research of Professor James Bright) 1998, www.starthrower.com
2. Made to Stick, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, Random House Publishing
group, New York, New York, 2007
3. Pink Bat: Turning Problems into Solutions by Michael McMillan, Simple
Truths, Naperville, Illinois, 2009.
Truth or legend?
What sticks?
 Chip Heath and Dan Heath make an offer in
Made to Stick, 2007.
When it come to the truth or the legend,
always print the legend. Why?
Mark Twain once said “a lie can get half way
around the world before the truth can even get
its boots on.”
Consider the man with time to kill before his
What makes his story “sticky?”
In the newspaper business, the adage “when it comes to a choice between the truth and
the legend, always print the legend” is not meant to be deceptive. Rather, it’s about
making sure that the story sticks. New ideas and innovations generate one of the great
ironies of life: while we all benefit from change (not many of us would want to live without
such conveniences as the telephone or the microwave oven), we also resist it. Why? We
resist for many reasons – some cultural, some intellectual, but the fundamental reason is
because change upsets the careful balance between new and old – known and unknown,
familiar and strange – that we work so hard to achieve in our jobs, our homes and our
communities. “We’ve always done it this way” is comfortable for many, and thus hard to
surrender. This presentation is designed to help participants overcome the natural fear of
newness – to transform the way people think and act - particularly if the new is better
than the old.
is good; you go
People have plenty of rational reasons for not wanting to change. At work, people settle
into certain procedures and relationships to get things done. Over time, this behavior
develops into stated and unstated rules about how the organization operates and develops
mastery of certain skills and equipment. This paradigm has been called “social
equilibrium”, and it encompasses three elements: the technology we use, the procedures
we follow and the values we hold. (Barker, 1998)
Change and Social Equilibrium
As constant as change is, we all
universally resist it. Why?
Fear – “maybe my way isn’t right…”
 Discomfort
 Disruption in “We’ve always done it this
The fact is –
People don’t want their boat rocked!
In the process of inventing, the inventor is important. However, with innovation (that is,
introducing the invention to others), it’s the user that becomes important. It’s easy for
inventors to become so focused on their invention that they dismiss or ignore the needs
and perceptions of the user. Remember, a new idea or product only has value if it is
adopted by others. Thus, it is self-defeating for an inventor to overlook the user.
No matter how cool, revolutionary or dramatic the idea, the bottom line with most
users is “what’s in it for me”? How will it make their personal condition better? That’s all
most people car about. A couple of examples:
The people in charge of education at a retirement community announced that they
were going to hold courses on how to use computers. Two hundred people signed
up and the promoters excitedly talked about all the benefits the computer offered,
such as the ability to do genealogy research or managing one’s finances. However,
nearly 75% of those who signed up wanted computers for one thing: to send emails to their grandkids!
A company recently purchased an entire company-wide phone system. In the new
product orientation, employees were told and shown some of the most whiz-bang
and impressive abilities of the system – automatically forwarding calls to a custom
“find me” protocol, giving the recipient a caller ID and option of taking the call or
routing it back to a voicemail box, blah, blah, blah. But what do most employees
want a phone system? To be able to make and receive phone calls! (Barker, 1998)
Simplicity : “A bird in the hand…”
Find your “core”, and
express as a compact idea.
Gallery Furniture: TODAY
We rent helicopters
THE low-fare airline
Proverbs – why?
Simple & Profound, but a
lifetime to learn to
Simplicity – “A bird in the hand…”
“How do we find the essential core of our ideas? A successful defense lawyer says ‘if you
argue ten points, even if each is a good point, when they get back to the jury room, they
won’t remember any.’ To strip an idea down to its core, we must [learn to] be masters of
exclusion. We must relentlessly prioritize. Saying something short is not the mission –
sound bites are not the ideal. Proverbs are the ideal. We must create ideas that are both
simple and profound. The Golden Rule is the ultimate model of simplicity: a one
sentence statement so profound that an individual could spend a lifetime learning to
follow it.” (Heath and Heath, 2007)
Unexpected : “Can make a real mess.”
(“I didn’t see that coming!”)
How do I get people’s attention?
The element of surprise always imprints.
Urban myths and legends
Interest keeps our attention.
Conspiracy theories – JFK, Marilyn Monroe,
 Gossip
Break someone’s guessing mechanism
and then fix it = sticky.
Unexpected - “Can make a real mess.” (“I didn’t see that
“How do we get audiences to pay attention to our ideas and how do we maintain their
interest when we need time to get the ideas across? We need to violate people’s
expectations. We need to be counterintuitive. A bag of popcorn is as unhealthy as a whole
day’s worth of fatty foods! We can use surprise – and emption whose function is to
increase alertness and cause focus – to grab people’s attention. But surprise doesn’t last.
For our idea to endure, we must generate interest and curiosity. How do we keep students
engages during the 48th history class of the year? We can engage people’s curiosity over a
long period of time by systematically “opening gaps” in their knowledge – and then filling
those gaps.” (Heath and Heath, 2007)
Concrete : Sensual stimulation “like a
Making ideas clear in terms of human
action and sensory information.
 “Turn around – don’t drown”
Catchy, but why is it still ignored?
It can’t happen to me.
I’m different.
 “They’re careless, but I’m safe.”
Instead? Make it concrete and personal:
“12 inches of water will float you.”
Concrete: Sensual stimulation, “like a rock”
“How do we make our ideas clear? We must explain our ideas in terms of human actions,
in terms of sensory information. This is where so much business communication goes
awry. Mission statements, synergies, strategies, visions – are often ambiguous to the point
of being meaningless. Naturally sticky ideas are full of concrete images – ice-filled
bathtubs, apples with razors – because our brains are wired to remember concrete data. In
proverbs, abstract [and complex] truths are often encoded in concrete language: ‘a bird in
the hand is worth two in the bush.’ Speaking concretely is the only way to ensure that our
idea will mean the same thing to everyone in our audience.” (Heath and Heath, 2007)
Credibility : Who are those 4 out of 5
How do you make people believe your idea?
Family, personal experience, faith.
Credible messenger and message.
We believe because our parents or friends believe.
Former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop
Michael Jordan wears…
Pam Laffin now believes… Who?
“I started smoking to look older and I’m sorry
to say it worked.” - Pam Laffin 1969 - 2000
Credibility: Who are those 4 out of 5 dentists, and what’s with
that 5th one?
When former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop talks about a public health issue, most
people accept his ideas without skepticism. But in most day to day situations, we don’t
enjoy this authority. Sticky ideas have to carry their own credentials. We need to help
people test our ideas for themselves – a “try before you buy” philosophy for the world of
ideas. When trying to build a case for something, most of us instinctively grasp for hard
numbers. But, in many cases, this is exactly the wrong approach. In the sole U.S.
presidential debate in 1980 between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, Reagan could have
cited innumerable statistics demonstrating the sluggishness of the economy.
Instead, he asked a simple question that allowed voters to test for themselves: “Before you
vote, ask yourself if you are better off today than you were four years ago.”
Pam Laffin was not a celebrity or a doctor. She was a smoker. She agreed to share her
story with the public through the Massachusetts Department of Health in a series of antismoking ads in the mid 1990’s. Laffin was a twenty-nine year old mother of two. She
began smoking at age ten, then developed emphysema, and suffered a failed lung
transplant by age 24. In one compelling depiction, featuring photos of Laffin as a child and
as an adult, she talked about how her emphysema left her with a “fat face” and “a hump on
my neck.” She said “I started smoking to look older and I’m sorry to say it worked.” (Heath
& Heath, 2007)
Emotions : “Don’t mess with
How do you get people to care?
The “Mother Teresa” effect:
Make them feel something! (Real Texans, like
Bubba, don’t litter.)
“If I look at the mass, I will never act. If I look at
the one, I will.”
Put a face on the cause.
Keep the self in self-interest. “WIIFM” is
powerful motivation.
Does imagining make it so? Yes it does.
“Imagine yourself…”
Emotions: “Don’t mess with Texas”
How do we get people to care about our ideas? We make them feel something. In the case
of movie popcorn, we make them feel disgusted by its unhealthiness. The statistic “37
grams” doesn’t elicit any emotions. Research shows that people are more likely to make a
charitable gift to a single needy individual than to an entire impoverished region. We are
wired to feel things for people, not for abstractions. Sometimes, the hard part is finding
the right emotion to harness. For instance, it’s difficult to get teenagers to quit smoking by
instilling in them a fear of the consequences, but it’s easier to get them to quit by tapping
into their resentment of the duplicity of Big Tobacco. (Heath & Heath, 2007) Instead of
taking the analytical approach – a person can plan, would be able to, would experience the
benefits of, etc, say “you will be able to have, plan, feel, play, relax, taste, experience”, and
so on. However, letting emotion – even the right one – get carried away will turn
acceptance of a message into a laughing stock disaster in one evening. In the presidential
campaign of 2000, former Vermont governor Howard Dean saw his lead in the democratic
race vaporize before his very eyes with the overly-emotional rally of his followers with the
list of states the Dean campaign was going to take, and then go to Washington and take
back the Whitehouse – “uuuaaaaggghhh!”
Stories: “He was ten stories high, if he was a
4 purposes of speech:
 To instruct
 To inspire
 To persuade
 To entertain
 Relative stories and shared experiences can teach critical
 Each must generate:
 Simulation (knowledge of how to act) and
 Inspiration (motivation to act).
 The audience isn’t passive. Inside, we’re all getting
ready to act.
 Remember: Believe. Care. Act.
Stories: “He was ten stories high, if he was a foot...”
How do we get people to act on our ideas? We tell stories. Firefighters [and police officers,
believe me] swap stories after every fire [and traffic stop or incident], and by doing so,
they multiply their experience; after years of hearing stories, they have a richer, more
complete mental catalog of critical situations they might confront, and the appropriate
responses to those situations. Research shows that mentally rehearsing a situation helps
us perform better when we encounter that situation in the physical environment.
Similarly, hearing stories acts as a kind of mental flight simulator, preparing us to respond
more quickly and effectively.
The power of stories is two fold: They provide simulation (knowledge about how to act)
and inspiration (motivation to act). Both benefits, simulation and inspiration, are geared
to generating action. (Heath & Heath, 2007)
Remember, a credible idea makes people believe. An emotional idea makes them care,
but the right stories make people act.
Mark Warren is the Training Coordinator and Consultant with the Texas Association of Counties
in his hometown of Austin, Texas. He assists the Association with the vision, development and
delivery of training for both the internal and external customers of Texas county government. Just
since 2007, Mark has traveled more than 85,000 miles across Texas and the United States delivering
a training message of inspiration, motivation and new direction. His presentations revolve around
leadership, interpersonal communication and relationship skills, workplace diversity and
professionalism, bridging the generations and customer service excellence.
In addition to his teaching, training and traveling, Mark works with the TAC Leadership Program
and has served as the coordinator of its Leadership training since 2003 and County Best Practices
since 2009.
After graduating from St. Edward’s University in 1977, Mark spent 23 years with the Texas
Department of Public Safety, retiring in 2000 as the Assistant Commander of the Training Academy
in Austin.
The above image was created by Scott Wade, whose story was told in Pink Bat: Turning
Problems into Solutions by Michael McMillan. While I was presenting inside, Scott parked his
car in the hotel parking lot and drew this from a grainy one-inch picture on our website! Then, he
came in and we co-presented “Pink Bats”. Please see more of Scott’s work at www.dirtycarart.com