Can we change sombody else’s behavior?

I gave a presentation this week to a group of sales reps with Eli Lilly co. Nice group and the topic was changing the behavior of health professionals related to their prescribing behavior. One truth is we can’t really change somone’s behavior except our own. Another truth is we sure can push hard enough to get someone to change, that it causes them to dig their heals in and actually get stuck in their old behavior. What I spoke to the reps about was how to know who might be ready to change and how we can have a positive influence in the direction that would be ideal for person doing the changing. In other words how they can get out of their own way and not screw it up. For most of us change is a long term process, that requires deep thought, good reasons to change, expected payoffs if we do change, and a real commitment to the process and outcomes of change. Since I work with people who have diabetes and also those with sexual issues I see a great deal of mixed feelings about change due to fear, frustration, but also some realization that life can be a lot better if they are able to find the energy and direction to move. It is really at the intersection of these mixed feelings that change can begin. Let me know what you think and if you have been able to change patterns in your life.