That Wasn’t So Bad After All — From Ambivalence to Acceptance of a New iPhone


Before Christmas, I was thinking again about upgrading my iPhone 8 Plus to the newer iPhone 11 Pro, as I wrote about here:

A few days before Christmas, I decided to take the plunge. In the spirit of “Kaizen,” I initiated a very small test of change with my wife's work iPhone 11 Pro. The camera was much better, which strengthened my motivation for change, considering how much I use the camera for work and personal use.

I was still concerned about FaceID and other changes that might not be comfortable… or I feared it wouldn't be better, on the whole, compared to the iPhone 8 Plus.

I had reasons to change. I had reasons not to change. I was “ambivalent,” as the language of “Motivational Interviewing” would say. It's OK… it's natural for people to be ambivalent about change. It should be expected in our personal lives or in our workplaces.

Considering the way Apple does upgrades, I was motivated enough to at least try the iPhone 11 Pro. If I really disliked it and decided the 8 Plus was better, I could keep the 8 Plus and return the 11 Pro. Or, if I decided to keep the 11 Pro, I could then mail in the 8 Plus as part of the upgrade offer.

As is said in the Motivational Interviewing approach (and elsewhere), change is a process, not an instantaneous event.

I got the 11 Pro set up and got everything transferred over from the 8 Plus. Now, it was time to start using it, FaceID included.

I was actually pleasantly surprised at how well FaceID worked. It was faster and less annoying that I thought it might be.

There was a possible hiccup… I thought the phone wasn't recognizing me without my glasses on (which happens if I have the bad habit of checking the phone while in bed). I took a “secondary” image so the phone knew what I look like without glasses. I think that countermeasure wasn't actually necessary when I figured out that, with my glasses off, I was holding the phone too close to my face for FaceID to work. When I held it a bit further away, it worked.

To quote the late Steve Jobs, I was holding it wrong.

Had I not been committed enough to the 11 Pro, I might have given up and returned it. But, I worked through that moment of difficulty and continued on.

One challenge was my old habit of hitting the “home” button that's been on every iPhone from the beginning up until the iPhone X. I kept reaching for the button that no longer existed. Then, I remembered to “swipe up” to accomplish the same thing (unlocking or getting back to the home screen).

Unlearning old habits often interferes with the process of adopting new habits. I realized this would take time. After a few days, I had pretty much gotten comfortable with the new phone and the new motions. Relearning this wasn't as difficult as learning to ride a “backwards bike” would probably be.

The “notch” at the top of the 11 Pro — one aspect of the change that wasn't excited about — has really been a non-issue. Sometimes, we're afraid of change and then, during a small test of change, we realize that it wasn't as bad as feared.

So, I decided to keep the iPhone 11 Pro.

I had the autonomy to honestly evaluate my self-initiated small test of change. I think that was one of the things that helped me feel comfortable trying this change.

Are there lessons and applications for the workplace and helping others accept change?

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


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