Nudge it along!!

Embedding new practices in a team or organisation

By Declan Noone, Partner at Serrano 99


Last year I hacked my own resolution failures and finally registered a success. Previously, I would have buried my resolution within a few weeks of starting. I was easily in the same category as the reported 80% of Americans who fail in their resolutions by the second week of February. However, at this stage last year I was still puttering along. It was not easy, because when I was tired or felt lack lustre I had to avoid reverting to old practices, but I finally got there.

In 2016 I decided to use my understanding of the habit loop and find a tool that would help me create a habit of a daily mindful meditation. Sounded great in theory, but I knew from decades of experience that my practices were unlikely to lead to a successful conclusion. So I did my research and I found a tool that worked for me. It was an App called Headspace, not only did it provided me with a library of meditative practices appropriate targeted at my level, but it also had some incredible behavioural nudges built into the package. I found ‘Headspace’ to be a game changer for me, as it allowed me to share my practices with my friends (socialise it), and add a competitive edge as we could monitor reach others progress day by day (gamification). It was fantastic! it fed into what I needed and it nudged me along to the point where I no longer rely on them to maintain a regular practice.

So in a personal context nudges can be very beneficial in helping you create a positive habit but they are also beneficial in a professional context at the individual, team and organisational level. Over the last two issues of Positive and Mindful Leader we have published articles on the impact of habit hacking and behavioural nudges at both the individual and societal level when used to encourage positive habit development. How can they beneficial within teams and organisations?

A frequent challenge faced by both teams and organisations, regardless of sector, change management initiatives is one field fresh for planting behavioural nudges. This is especially true when you read the findings from the 2013 Change and Communication ROI Survey which found the long term success rate of change management initiatives to be only 25%.  Reflect on that figure, consider the resources assigned to achieving success for individual change initiatives within your own organisation, and ask yourself how many have been successful. There is an ocean of literature out there devoted to change management and identifying pitfalls and solutions, I have no intention of diving deep into those waters here, but what we at Serrano 99,  have observed during our conversations with potential clients, is that many are trying to hack the same problem for a second or third time. Investment has already happened but certain change initiatives have not taken hold.

Change management initiative solely focused on structural changes are less likely to succeed if they fail to invest in mind-set and behavioural change. Your employees, are your greatest asset, and if you don’t invest in examining and understanding how new practices/processes/initiatives will impact their mind-set and behaviours you are unlikely to appreciate how change will be embraced throughout your organisation. Nudging is one way where designing small psychological pushes to people (employees, customers) to guide them towards desired behaviors and enable a positive change.

In Serrano 99, we strive for a more holistic solution to our clients’ challenges. We enable our clients to consider cultural, mindset and behavioural changes when developing change management initiatives. We drive organic solutions, with a collective buy in, focused on people as much as process, encouraging greater long term successes.

Posted on February 3, 2017 in Behavioural Science, Insights, Mindware

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