Changing behaviours – ‘What’s in it for me?’

Our excellent Guide
Mumbai’s traffic

Mumbai is one of the most chaotic cities I have ever visited. I refer of course to the traffic chaos, if you have been there you will know what I mean!

Our excellent Guide for one of our days acknowledged this when we were aghast at the almost suicidal actions of all manner of transport, and pedestrians!

We commented on the hundreds and hundreds of small taxis that operate in the city, he said because they are cheap, people taxi share to get to and from work. We were then told that the bus companies had just reduced their fares by 50% so people were now starting to use them more because it saved them money.

This change in behaviour will reduce the amount of traffic because there will be less need for taxis, which will reduce the amount of pollution and help in some way to clean up the air in the city.

If you said to people you should take the bus and stop taking a taxi, because this will help to reduce pollution, (because it’s the right thing to do) they would not make the switch. People act out of self-interest and there has to be a reason which addresses this, a ‘what’s in it for me?’ reason, for people to change their behaviour, and a financial benefit in this case was what was needed.

It works in companies too

This thinking will also apply for when companies want to introduce a change of culture in their organisation, which could be to help improve productivity, process, office moves, or any number of reasons, which will impact on their staff and will lead them to make a step change in their behaviours.

So there needs to be a consideration of ‘what’s in it for them?’, and to articulate that before any action is taken, because if there is not a significant benefit, why would they go along with it willingly?

It can be done in the wider strategic context for the change, but at the heart of it, consider the individual’s perspective.

Do you have any feedback to this blog that you’d like to share?

Best wishes

David Kentish

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