As I have noted in my first part of this series, the reform of Lebanon is tough but it is not impossible. Like the citizens, many Lebanese politicians want to change but simply don't know how to do it. After several months of researching how nations change, I have discovered major psychological principles that encompass all political change strategies. I will lay out these rules in this article.

 

1. The resistance to change 

While Lebanon is in a need for a change, many citizens put up resistance. By following some simple best practice strategies and a well thought out plan, political leaders can reassure citizens that, while things may be changing, their political parties are just as committed to their overall success as ever before.

The Lebanese population is becoming more skeptical toward the political issues. This skepticism may lead to a resistance to change. Resistance expresses the impossibility of accepting and appropriating change by the government. The resistance to change behaviors can go as far as a complete rejection of: all the political parties, the attempts of the civil society to change and the system. 

Many Lebanese become guarded and wary when faced with a proposal and message to change. They wonder what the motive behind the message might be, what the true facts are. This face of resistance underlies both affective (I don’t love it!) and cognitive (I don’t believe it) reactions toinfluence. In my very humble opinion, the change will be an inevitable part of the programs of the next governments; however, some citizens will put up resistance to the process, which can have some negative effects on the economy and the society in general. The solution for dealing with this resistance to change is to get the citizens involved to participate in making the change. Also, Lebanese political leaders should listen carefully to the citizens, explore their fears, and take their comments seriously. Actually, the Lebanese are not confident the change will succeed and will not trust the people leading the change effort.

 

2. Small successes are big

In Lebanon, unfortunately, plans for big successes often result in big failures. Thus, the government and political leaders should focus instead on a series of small successes. Each little success builds a reservoir of self-esteem and trust; one big failure devastates everything. Thus, the entrants to the political arena and traditional political parties should strengthen their credibility through a structure of transparent communication. Also, they should not give big promises to the people; Lebanon has a very complicated political system, including the deep connection to the influence of other countries. It’s more than enough to convince people to vote for their policies to solve the many problems we suffer from –health care, unemployment, education, environment, energy, weak judiciary, etc. 

 

3. Change is not an event

Change a nation occurs as a process, not as an event. National changes do not happen instantaneously because there was an announcement, a kick-off meeting or even a go-live date. Even the citizens do not change simply because they received an email or attended a training program. When we experience change, we move from what we had known and done, through a period of transition to arrive at a desired new way of behaving. Treating change as a process is a central psychological component of successful change. 

By breaking change down into distinct phases, the government can better customize and tailor the approach to ensure citizens successfully adopt the change. The three states of change that provide a way to articulate how change actually occurs are: the current state, the transition state, and the future state.

 

4. Positive Psychology

The aim of positive psychology’s adoption by the Lebanese government is to catalyze a change in psychology from a preoccupation only with repairing the worst things in achange to building the best qualities in change. 

If the Lebanese political leaders keep a positive attitude, this will be infectious and will pick up on positive energy to the economy. Everyone in Lebanon will feel positive and investors will want to do business. This, in turn, will lead to maximizing the performance of the economy. While if they maintain a negative attitude, the opposite is likely to happen. Investors will not want to be in Lebanon and citizens will feel demotivated. It may result in the deterioration of national economy. 

 

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