Would being able to understand the underlying reasons why you and others “do the things you do” be helpful to you in your job? Is there value in having the knowledge to be able to predict and understand people’s responses to your requests or changes? How about being able to anticipate how people will most likely respond in a given situation or environment? Would the ability to make more rational and sound decisions help you in moving your business forward?
people, that answer is “yes.”
Most of us
work in an environment that involves some level of involvement and interaction with
other people. Whether it be coworkers, bosses, employees, vendors, or customers
– at some point in your workday, there is likely a human involved.
How you interact with those humans can change how they respond.
We need to
be able to work effectively with those humans. If we can understand and
empathize with their underlying drives, decipher how they are interpreting our
words and actions, and anticipate how they will respond to what we do, our
interactions with them will be significantly improved.
Earlier this year I completed my PADI dive certification in San Diego, CA. Becoming dive certified has been a goal of mine for many years, one that had been consistently pushed off by either alternate priorities or due to time, financial, or geographic limitations.
Back in September, I partnered with Tim Houlihan to start “a monthly gathering of curious minds” which we called Behavioral Grooves. We thought it would be interesting to get like-minded people together to talk about applying behavioral science to life and work.
We had no idea if others would be interested in this…
We announced the meetup and were hoping to get at least a few of the friends that we had contacted to show up. We ended up with 24 people for that first session where we talked about habits – how they are formed and what people can do to improve them.
We were thrilled!
From there, it took off. We have over 180 members signed up to our meetup group and it is growing fast. We have had three monthly sessions as of early January 2018 and our fourth is lined up for two weeks from today. We have over 20 people who have made it to two or more of the sessions.
I guess we struck a nerve.
For our second session, we invited Professor James Heyman to speak and thought, hey, since he’s here, why don’t we interview him and make a podcast out of it. Thus, our Behavioral Grooves podcast was born. Tim and I both loved that so much that we decided that we didn’t want to wait for the next Behavioral Grooves session to record our next one – so we started to invite people and interview them – both live and over the internet.
To date, we have seven interviews recorded and three more in the works. These podcasts mirror the Behavioral Grooves sessions in that they are conversational in nature where we geek out over behavioral science and how we can apply behavioral science insights into our daily work and lives.
They have been a blast!
In reflecting on this, it appears to me that these two outlets provide us with a way of both learning and sharing. We want to be advocates for good, ethical use of behavioral science. We believe that there is much to learn and we can improve our work and lives by understanding and by applying these principles in a thoughtful and deliberate manner.
We also realized that we love the community that this is creating. A community of curious minds who are interested in science and the application of that science. A community of people that we can bounce ideas off of. A community of people that can push us to think about things from new perspectives.
This is ultimately what we have been building and hope that it grows and provides a place and outlet for others, as well as ourselves.
If you are ever in Minneapolis on the third Thursday of the month – please come and join us at our meetup (find out more info here) and if you can’t make that, please listen in to our podcasts (click here to find the latest).
Humans are interesting, they are quirky, they are irrational.
We think we know what is best for us. Often, we even assume that we KNOW what is best for us. e funny thing is – our behaviors do not always align with what’s best.
Dan Ariely introduced us to the fascinating world of irrational thought in his flagship book Predictably Irrational (one of our all time favorites) and I recently observed an interesting example of it at Denver International Airport.
For this article, however, I am going to take you on a journey deep into the mountains of northern Pakistan. Right now, you are probably wondering: “what could the Hindu Kush possibly have to do with behavioral science!?
Well, as we have been telling you, it’s everywhere!
So, bear with me and let’s have some fun while we talk about behavioral insights in action; observed from a recent adventure in northern Pakistan.
We live in an ever-shifting world. The corporate environment is not immune to this evolution, nor should it be. As such; the processes and strategies that impact the human element of all organizations, it’s employees, must ebb and flow with this shifting tide.
Progress and improvement come from change and adaptation to change. There are speed bumps, there are steps backward: these are all part of the process.
Embedded throughout these organizational processes are employee communications. Employee communications must stay current and ahead of the curve.
At the IPMI Institute HR conference in Miami we sat down with 10 HR executives from various industries and exchanged insights. We discussed what was going on in their world and how behavioral science can help the HR community.
We noticed three overarching themes:
Organizations are finding cultural change hard
Organizations have not had significant success at engaging their employees
Organizations don’t have the bandwidth to prioritize employee communications—although they know doing so is important
The Beast Awakens We can think about change as a little monster in our head who overpowers our desires to stay with the status quo. Most of the time, our change monster is asleep. It is in hibernation when it isn’t needed but wakes up when we start to realize that we need some change.
The Beast Awakens
Monsters are scary so we try to keep our change monster at bay most of the time, not wanting to wake it up. Or often if it starts to stir we stop what we are doing so that it quiets itself and goes back to sleep. When our change beasts do wake up, we often try to build walls around them to try to keep the monster contained.
The Beast Fights Back But the monster doesn’t like being contained and will always try to break those walls down or go around them or even dig underneath them. If none of that works, the monster can hurl things over the wall trying to disrupt our lives.
We Lock up the Beast
When our change monsters do this, we often try to build bigger walls or add new walls outside the old walls. Containment is the key. Sometimes, we can keep the monster contained for a very long time without ever achieving any of our change.
The Beast Escapes
But the monster feeds on our need to change and grows bigger the greater that need gets. If the monster gets big enough, it breaks through our walls and drives us to change. We know that when the monster shows up when we need to do something.
The Beast Attacks
Our beast stands over us with a mean face and makes sure that are focusing on our change process. It romps up and down, banging its feet against our brain. It growls and roars when we turn away from our task. All of this is so that we focus on our change task.
We Befriend the Beast
And, after a while, we have made progress on our change, and the monster calms down a bit. We realize that the monster isn’t so scary anymore – we’ve grown accustomed to it. That big ugly face is now kind of sweet. The actions that the beast had to scare us to do before have become habit or routine, and we do them willingly.
The Beast Rests
The monster doesn’t need to show up to scare us as much anymore – and starts to shrink back down to being small. Finally, when our change has become the status quo, the monster goes back to sleep, and we go on peacefully with our lives trying not to wake up the sleeping beast.
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