Recently, I was using an online service to book a couple of minor jobs around the house. It seemed like an easy process, until the person who accepted the job didn’t show up. To get it sorted and the money refunded it then became a complicated process to find out how I could contact the service, and a series of emails because being an online booking service there’s no call centre.
Of course having no call centre is part of the business model, and it can work really well until things go wrong. It’s at that point the online service no longer feels easy, but frustrating as the best way to contact them isn’t easy to find.
The good news is I eventually got my money back. The bad news for the company is I won’t be using their service again.
People are busy, and so they want things to be as easy as possible. You can apply the same principle to work and your career.
If you want people to change – make it easy for them to change. If you want people to get to know you, do business with you, work with you, support you as you make a career leap — make it easy for them.
Making it easy follows a theory from behavioural economics called the nudge theory. It’s based on the work of Richard Thaler, an American economist from the University of Chicago and the 2017 winner of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences.
Richard Thaler defined a nudge as “…some small feature of the environment that attracts our attention and alters our behaviour”.
If you want to read more on this, I’d suggest you read the book he co-authored with Cass Sunstein – Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness.
The UK Government have even set up a team affectionately known as the ‘nudge unit’. Officially titled the Behavioural Insights team, they are the world’s first government institution dedicated to using behavioural science to help make public policy decisions and redesign public services.
Their work encourages people to change their behaviour, by nudging them to do something different. They see four key attributes as necessary for this behaviour change, and you can usefully apply the same four attributes to many aspects of your working day (and everyday life).
The four attributes are:
- Make it easy
- Make it attractive
- Make it social
- Make it timely
Let’s just start with make it easy.
If you think about it in the context of making a career leap, you need to be easy to find and connect with.
If you have no social media presence, it is hard for people to find you. If you are slow in responding to emails and phone calls, people will stop trying to connect with you and won’t bother engaging with you. If the message of who you are, what you do and the value you offer isn’t clear, people won’t know how to work with you or support you as you seek to make your career leap.
Similarly, if you think about it in the context of making change happen in your organisation, you need to make the change process as easy as possible. When it’s too hard and complicated, people get overwhelmed and progress is limited or stalled.
Think small, incremental steps that create new patterns of behavior and establish new habits.
As the Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu, said: “Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step”.
Getting you ready for tomorrow, today.
Michelle Gibbings is a change leadership and career expert and founder of Change Meridian. Michelle works with global leaders and teams to help them get fit for the future of work. She is the Author of ‘Step Up: How to Build Your Influence at Work’ and ‘Career Leap: How to Reinvent and Liberate your Career’. For more information: www.michellegibbings.com or contact [email protected].