Make change social – everyone else does it

People are powerfully impacted by social cues

Social is the third dimension in the EAST model. Humans are social animals. We have accomplished almost everything, because of our ability to work together on complex projects, no single human no matter how smart could have done. We count on each other for physical, safety and social needs, so it should come as no surprise, that in a situation of unclarity, then we prefer to follow each other, rather than go alone.

This closeness can take many shapes. If somebody does something for you, you feel obligated to return the favor – even if you don’t like them or their gift. If somebody is nice to you, you automatically like them and is willing to do a lot to keep the relation in good shape. If somebody seemingly is in an authoritative position, then you want to stay on their good side. Lots of little tricks and here are three of my favorites:

Followers: If you are starting to implement a new change and only 10% have complied so far, it is tempting to write about the 90% who have not done anything. Don’t. What happens is that some of your 10% will deflect back to the dark side. Instead talk about how great it is that the 10% are already well in the new future. The numbers matter little – whatever you talk about attracts people.

Small commitments: A few years back a neighborhood on the outskirts of London was struggling with people driving too fast, and the authorities wanted to put up some huge ugly warning signs in the gardens of each house. On one street 20% agreed to put up the sign – on the street right next to them 80% agreed or a factor 4! The difference? Well on the second street they started by first asking each resident to put up a small post card. The next week they came back saying the post card did not seem to work and if they could put up this bigger sign… So don’t ask people to go all in at first, but let them dip their toes. Once that is done our deep need to stay credible and reliable will keep them on the road.

Role models: If you are anything like me, you might have raise an eyebrow the first time you heard about this technique. But it turns out it has strong founding in our mental make up. If you ask a group of people to do something new and they are in doubt (and people are always in doubt about something new), they will look around them for what their role models do. If you have already recruited these roles models and they seem excited, then the rest of the group will soon fall in lock step.

FOLLOW – THE – HERD

You are almost there – this was the third of four dimensions in the EAST model. I know, I know, you cannot wait, so go ahead and contact me for immediate support at brian@behaviouralstrategygroup.com or +45-23103206.

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