Thanks to Mark Fleming for recommending The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg to me earlier today, and reminding me of Charles’ TED Talk on the topic.
I often talk about the key to social collaboration adoption being changing people’s behaviours, so it is important to remember that most behaviour is driven by habit. Changing those habits is often the biggest challenge in social adoption.
As the video shows, when employees are carrying out habitual processes, doing what they always do, the are effectively asleep as far as actively helping the company achieve its goals is concerned.
In his book (though not the video), Charles talks about how Paul O’Neill, when he was appointed to be the new CEO at Alcoa, focussed on changing employees around health & safety and in turn was able to drive the other changes to processes necessary to transform the company.
So, when you are building a social adoption plan, don’t just think about the behaviour changes you need employees to make, but think about how you are going to help them to change the habits that drive their current behaviour.
3 thoughts on “Driving Social Adoption by Understanding the Power of Habit”
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Thanks to Sophie for sharing her thoughts in a blog post here http://www.avesophos.de/blog/2014/03/18/designing-change/
I couldn’t agree more. the first thing I tell every organisation thinking of adopting new ways of working, like social, is to understand both what’s in it for the organisation and what’s in it for the individual. That can can be at a very basic level (less frustration, support from a team), at a practical level (less stress, getting home on time), at an aspirational level (recognition, influence) and even higher levels (empowerment to innovate, moving to a better role). Articulating why these new ways of working deliver individual benefits is just as important as articulating how it improves processes and delivers better business outcomes (the reason the organisation invests).
But then, as you say, people need support to make the change – both from the organisation (education, management support) and from individuals (coaching, reverse mentoring). The good news is that if you start doing these things, in a social, embracing way, things can rapidly start to snowball as the shared success of some infects others.
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