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Adding is easy. Subtraction is hard.

On how technology has changed the craft of writing, author Neil Gaiman remarked;

“Typing is not work. Choosing is work.”

Since moving from typewriters to computers, he noted, the average word count has blown out from 3-6,000 per article to 9,000 because "it’s not hard to include two ways of saying something”.

I can’t shake this insight because it says so much about how we behave. At work. At home.

When writers drafted in longhand, it was painstaking to...

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Deciding isn't enough

 

This is a chunky read, but you should find it interesting if:

  • you are sick of people telling you to just "decide" - like that's all there is
  • you've been as perplexed as I have about why deciding something doesn't guarantee we'll do it

OK. Here we go.

This all started with tweet from For The Interested. It linked to a 2016 article by Josh Spector which talked about the role of intention in productivity. To master our schedules and inboxes, Josh suggests, we need to “decide what...

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More information isn't the answer

Uncategorized Sep 04, 2019

Nobody gets fired for buying an IBM, so the saying goes. No one gets fired running information campaigns or suggesting more training, either. But maybe they should.

 

In my workshops I ask participants to design a solution to overcome apathy. In other words, how will you engage your customers? Why should they bother to do what you ask?

 

This is a big chunk of the behavioural influence puzzle, because to get people to take action you need to make them sufficiently interested.

...

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The scourge of shitty emails

Do you write annoying emails? Do you receive them? Poorly written emails irritate both the recipient, who resents the interruption, and the sender, who gets frustrated by a lack of response.

So how to get them right? I’m about to take you through five real-life examples that illustrate traps to avoid and how to better engage your intended reader.

I’ve redacted the details of the sender because in no way is this intended to criticise them personally....

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The Knife Through Butter approach to behavioural influence

 

Let's be clear. To influence some else's behaviour means you are going to have to put some effort in. 

The smart approach is to be as effort-less as possible, and that means getting clear on your behavioural objective and anticipating the likely resistance you will encounter.

That's what I explain in this 5 minute video using, what else? Butter.

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The lily pad lesson: Four ways to overcome customer apathy

 

Without doubt, the problem I spend most time on with clients is how to overcome customer, staff and supplier apathy.

What to do when people just can't be bothered? How do you make them care? Do you need to?

So I've recorded what I call my "Lily Pad lesson" for you, in which I cover four ways to address apathy:
1.Motivate them -> but this is problematic
2.Reward their short-term bias
3. Use the "move away from" approach
4. Shape the environment -> the best in...

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Does shaming work?

A local council in South Australia is proposing to make residents use clear rubbish bins to “shame” people into recycling.  Does shame work as a behavioural strategy?

Clear bin initiatives

While peculiar, the idea of clear plastic bins is not entirely new. Mindarie Regional Council in Western Australia trialled their “Face Your Waste” campaign in 2018. According to the ad agency behind the WA campaign, the trial of 20 bins resulted in significant media...

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The three C's of designing a behavioural solution

 

Bri explains that in order to overcome resistance to behavioural influence, you need to focus on:

  • Capacity
  • Clarity and
  • Confidence
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The Simplification Paradox

 

It was 1876. William Orton, president of the Western Union Telegraph Company was approached about a new invention through which people could speak with each other - the talking telegraph.

Orton, well regarded as the leading electrical expert in the country remarked “There is nothing in this patent whatever, nor is there anything in the scheme itself, except as a toy.”

Having had his invention rejected in this manner, Alexander Graham Bell went ahead and established...

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Unfu*king prioritisation

Alongside the current decluttering and unfu*king ourselves craze sits the perennial issue of prioritisation. 

It’s something we grapple with on an individual level; “how should I spend my time?” and an organisational level;  “where should we spend our resources?”

The tangle is not at the extremes – it is obvious what we should definitely do or not do – but the murky middle.

So I’ve been working on a way to behaviourally...

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