Jeanie Whinghter and Afra Ahmad: Balance vs. HarmonyBehavioral Grooves Podcast add
In this episode, we had the pleasure of speaking with two guests: Jeanie Whinghter, PhD and Afra Ahmad, PhD. Jeanie is the Chair of Industrial and Organizational Psychology and General Psychology at Capella University. Her research focuses on the manifestations of stressors and strains in alternative work arrangements and was in Memphis when we spoke. Afra was in Dubai at Zayed University but will begin a new role in the summer of 2019 as Director of the Masters in Professional Studies in Applied Industrial and Organizational Psychology at George Mason University. Her research emphasizes diversity and inclusion and she has been authored chapters in books, published in Harvard Business Review, as well as in peer-reviewed journals.
Both are researchers, teachers, wives, mothers and truly fascinating people. We were grateful to be able to speak to them in advance the SIOP – the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology – conference in April 2019. At the conference, they’ll unveil an interactive workshop to illuminate the challenges of trying to “have it all.” Inspired by a satirical article in The New Yorker magazine (citation below), the idea of having it all has plagued women, especially, who strive to be successful at parenting and a career at the same time. Jeanie and Afra are advocating an approach that focuses on harmony rather than balance.
Our conversation first centered around their research and revealed insights for those struggling to have it all. More timely, we discussed their SIOP session.
After the formal discussion, with the tape still rolling, we talked in greater depth about their unique, interactive structure for their SIOP session and how surprising it is that more conferences don’t feature non-traditional, participant engagement sessions.
To learn more about the SIOP session itself, listen to our grooving session which immediately follows the discussion with Jeanie and Afra. If you’d like to skip straight there, check out the discussion starting around 51:40. There we also tackled the concepts of work-life harmony and the importance of allies.
Our grooving session continued with the challenges nursing mothers face when no nursing rooms exist. And we talked about the use of harmony is songwriting.
Jeanie Whinghter, PhD: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeanie-whinghter-b303a9148/
Afra Ahmad, PhD: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dr-afra-saeed-ahmad-35229070/
SIOP – Society for Industry & Organizational Psychology: https://www.siop.org/
Inspiration for the workshop from this article in The New Yorker: https://www.newyorker.com/humor/daily-shouts/i-am-the-one-woman-who-has-it-all
Jeff Bezos on Work/Life Balance: https://www.businessinsider.com/jeff-bezo-advice-to-amazon-employees-dont-aim-for-work-life-balance-its-a-circle-2018-4
Jeff Bezos on Harmony vs. Balance: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/09/what-jeff-bezos-does-instead-of-work-life-balance.html
Leading the Life You Want, by Stuart Friedman, PhD (Wharton Professor) 2014: https://hbr.org/product/leading-the-life-you-want-skills-for-integrating-work-and-life/11343E-KND-ENG
Research on how we always think we do the most work at home by Yavorsky, Dush and Sullivan, especially after a baby comes into the house: “The Production of Inequality: The Gender Division of Labor Across the Transition to Parenthood.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26430282
Bentley University’s Center for Women in Business (Waltham, Massachusetts) 2017 report: “Men as Allies: Engaging Men to Advance Women in the Workplace.” https://www.ceoaction.com/media/1434/bentley-cwb-men-as-allies-research-report-spring-2017.pdf A growing trend.
Baby Shark: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqZsoesa55w
Alicia Keys, Girl on Fire: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J91ti_MpdHA
Tim Houlihan, Beneath the Surface of the Well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oNUbRG1yWwM&t=0s&index=41&list=PLagHYhetqqmEEie866Zodn7W4IBlfNwli
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Michael Kaplan: Seeking NaysayersBehavioral Grooves Podcast add
Michael Kaplan is a private equity and angel investor who was part owner and president of the wildly successful carpet cleaning franchise called Zerorez. (Note that it’s spelled the same backward as it is forward. A classic palindrome!) He is now associated with Red Hook Investments and is actively finding new ways to help small service companies grow.
Michael grew up in Minneapolis, moved to Maine (undergrad) then to Atlanta (for barbeque and bourbon) then to Boston (pondering a Jimmy John’s franchise) then to Minneapolis (law school) and stayed to help turnaround a troubled carpet cleaning business in 2009.
We talked about his life and business journey and discovered that the underlying themes he lived by are replicable. (We cover them in depth during our grooving session following the discussion with Michael.) We talked about how people make decisions and what data goes into those decisions; how framing impacts us from the name of our company to why we work; and we all long to have a sense of purpose and build a community – even at work!
When Michael brought up the importance of having naysayers in the decision-making process, we felt right at home because of Annie Duke’s Thinking in Bets. This led us to view Michael’s successes through two important lenses: First, how he actively seeks out counterintuitive thinking. He dives deep and often reframes issues to reveal better answers. When there was trouble hiring the right people, he shared how Zerorez adapted the jobs to the marketplace rather than assuming the market would simply come around to his business needs.
Second, we saw his tremendous attention to reworking ideas as he noted, “Whatever system you're implementing, it's going to be wrong. You have to tweak it, you have to get out in the real world and figure out where my assumption's correct.”
Of course, we talked about music and his affection for having a local radio station curate playlists. The radio brings him both familiar and new tunes on a regular basis and he likes the mix of hearing Sinatra after the Lumineers.
We hope you enjoy the conversation with Michael and take a moment to give Behavioral Grooves a quick review on your favorite podcatcher.Links
Red Hook Investments: http://redhookinvestments.com/
4-drive model (Lawrence & Nohria): https://www.leadersbeacon.com/four-drive-model-new-theory-on-employee-motivation/
French cooking music: https://www.pandora.com/genre/french-cooking-music
Steve Miller Band “Swing Town”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jGYx0hMjM0
The Current radio station: https://www.thecurrent.org/
June Carter Cash: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/June_Carter_Cash
Annie Duke, Thinking in Bets: https://www.annieduke.com/books/
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Grooving on ReciprocityBehavioral Grooves Podcast add
This is the second episode in a series on the 6 Principles of Persuasion as identified by Robert Cialdini, PhD, in his 1984 book, Influence. (The first episode in the series was on consistency – with the link below.) In this grooving session, Kurt and Tim discuss reciprocity, the first principle of influence, its roots and how it shows up in our world today.
Reciprocity is when we feel obliged to give back to people who have given to us. The operative word is given, to differentiate the experience from a contractual exchange like a loan or a quid pro quo. Reciprocity shows up not only in what we do but also how we do it. A great example is a study conducted by Cialdini, et. al, to measure how leaving a mint with a restaurant bill makes a difference in the size of the tip left for the server. The results are remarkable – but you’ll have to listen to find out what’s even more fascinating in this study.
We talk about reciprocity as a social construct and a social obligation to keep our social credit strong. We talk about its roots in anthropological terms and how the humans need communities to survive and reciprocity helps maintain the community.
We hope you enjoy this grooving session on one of our favorite topics: reciprocity.Links
Episode on Consistency: https://behavioralgrooves.podbean.com/e/grooving-political-stalemates-insights-on-consistency/
Cialdini’s HBR article on harnessing the power of persuasion: https://hbr.org/2001/10/harnessing-the-science-of-persuasion
Cialdini’s principles: https://www.influenceatwork.com/principles-of-persuasion/
Social Construct and Retaliation: https://pubs.aeaweb.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1257/jep.14.3.159
Obligation principle: http://changingminds.org/principles/obligation.htm
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Liz Fosslien: The Smile FileBehavioral Grooves Podcast add
Liz Fosslien is the co-author and illustrator of No Hard Feelings: The secret power of embracing emotions at work. The book is a wickedly funny guide to un-repressing your emotions at work, finding constructive channels even for jealousy and anxiety, demystifying coworker communication styles, and ultimately allowing readers to be the same person in work and in life. She recently joined Humu to develop nudges and behavior change models that make life at work better.
Our conversation with Liz, like all of our conversations, meandered from her book to her workout music (EDM), to her background in math and economics, to 14 Ways An Economist Says I Love You, to the burnout that led to the book, to the research and findings that the book explores, to the OREO method of feedback and much more.
The primary concept we took away was that our emotions can play a positive role at work for a variety of reasons, and the second is about how to deal with the limits or restrictions that we sometimes place on ourselves in the workplace. We talked about how these approaches impact our productivity and our emotional health.
In our grooving session, Kurt and Tim discussed psychological safety, how emotions are contagious, to loss aversion and its relationship to our naturally negative brains, to William Kahn’s ground-breaking work on psychological safety, to Vittorio Gallese’s work on mirror neurons and Kurt and Tim’s first-ever song based on a behavioral science principle: Loss Aversion.
We hope you enjoy our conversation with Liz and please refer us to a friend if you like this episode.Links
Liz Fosslien: http://fosslien.com/
Liz & Mollie’s book: No Hard Feelings: The secret power of embracing emotions at work. https://www.lizandmollie.com/book/
Liz’s article on how economists say I Love You: 14 ways an economist says I love you http://fosslien.com/heart/
National Affairs: https://www.nationalaffairs.com/
Project Aristotle: https://rework.withgoogle.com/print/guides/5721312655835136/
Vittorio Gallese, PhD: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vittorio_Gallese
William Kahn, PhD: “Psychological Conditions of Personal Engagement & Disengagement at Work”
Thaler & Sunstein, Nudge: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nudge_(book)
Loss Aversion (Kurt & Tim’s video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyeRNVSWJAI&t=4s
Tears for Fears – “Shout” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ye7FKc1JQe4
Bob Dylan: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Dylan
Cat Stevens (now Yusuf Islam): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat_Stevens
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Luke Battye: The Peak-End Effect and Fast FoodBehavioral Grooves Podcast add
Luke Battye is a product/service consultant with a background in Experimental Psychology and innovation. Luke founded a behavioral design consultancy, called Sprint Valley in the UK, that helps businesses use behavioral science and human-centered design to create better products and services for customers and employees.In Our Conversation with Luke
We chatted on a cold afternoon in both Birmingham and Minneapolis and we hunkered down to some great conversation about the very positive applications of behavioral science.
Our discussion started with Luke’s consultancy, then we talked through his recent article projecting the future of fast food restaurants called “Why We’re Loving It: The McDonalds Restaurants of the Future” featured on BehavioralEconomics.com. The article is insightful because of its thoughtful observations and clever ideas about how a behavioral lens provides a fresh look at retail restaurants. And, frankly, we found the conversation to be scintillating.
That moved us naturally into addressing the peak and end experiences for customers at fast food restaurants and the Peak-End Effect. Luke noted that there are more people checking in at McDonald's than on Facebook every month.
We covered the delightfully-named Bouba Kikki test, the impact of embodied cognition and the work of Charles Spence (and others), the placebo effect and even blind taste tests of fine wines.
In our music discussion, Luke brought up EDM groove-sters Nils Frahm and Chris Clark as well as Grizzly Bear and our common affection for analog synthesizers made by Moog.In Our Grooving Session
Following the discussion with Luke, Kurt and Tim grooved on a variety of topics starting a solid discussion on The Peak-End effect. This led into Danny Kahneman’s discussion of the remembering self vs the experiencing self, and of course, we turned to priming. In our discussion about priming, we addressed which prime might be more impactful in driving behavior: self-primes (conscious and self-created) or hidden primes (totally subconscious)? Listen to see where we landed on this!
We discussed the impact of the MOOG synthesizer on music history and how The Monkees are reportedly the first band to record a Moog synthesizer on a major label record.Links
Paper on the future of fast food retailing: Why we're loving it
Peak-End Effect: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak%E2%80%93end_rule
Bouba Kikki: Bouba Kiki Effect
Paper on embodied cognition: Charles Spence - Cross-Modal Research
Kahneman: experiencing self vs. remembering self. https://www.psychologicalscience.org/observer/memory-vs-experience-happiness-is-relative
Blind Taste Tests of Wine: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/jun/23/wine-tasting-junk-science-analysis
Placebo Effect – it works: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/brain-sense/201201/the-placebo-effect-how-it-worksMusic
Nils Frahm: https://youtu.be/xih8aiacRSk?t=1298. Mix of EDM and acoustic piano
Chris Clark: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7S9N16b8QNA . Heavy EDM
Grizzly Bear: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPI7oU-fuGw While You Wait For Others (2009)
Original Moog synthesizer: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moog_synthesizer
Yamaha DX7: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yamaha_DX7
Kurt Nelson, PhD Kurt@lanterngroup.com
Tim Houlihan Tim@behavioralchemy.com
Saurabh Bhargava: A More Serene Path to Financial WellbeingBehavioral Grooves Podcast add
Saurabh Bhargava, PhD is a professor and researcher at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and he joined us in the Behavioral Grooves studio during a visit to Minnesota over the holidays. Saurabh has also taught at the Booth School at the University of Chicago and worked in corporate consulting for McKinsey & Company.
His work history, and the fact that he hails from the very sensible state of Minnesota, adds credibility and practicability to his work. In recent years, much of his research has focused on examining policies and programs that shape financial and health wellness. His curiosities have ranged from how we make health insurance choices from complicated menus to the effects of emotion on political beliefs and voting.
Saurabh’ research is best summed up using his own words. His research, he says, “uses natural field experiments to better understand the systematic ways in which people's behavior departs from what economists would think of as a rational benchmark. Then, using some of these insights to help improve how we think about the design of policies and programs that are intended to help them.”
In this conversation, Saurabh talked about findings he’s made, with his colleague Lynn Conell-Price, in how people prepare (or don’t prepare) for retirement. Planning for retirement is complex: we don’t know how long we’re going to live, we don’t exactly know how much we’re going to spend, and we don’t know how the economy will treat our savings. All are difficult – if not impossible for ordinary Jane’s and Joe’s – to estimate. Their working paper wrestles with these issues and offers findings that will help people, who have not really engaged in their retirement, to get started.
Their work tests three candidate explanations offered by Behavioral Economists as to why employees do not save sufficiently for retirement through their 401(k) plans:Financial literacy. Because decisions about saving are made very rarely, it’s common to lack the skills required to make the most effective decisions. But like the GI Joe fallacy, knowing is not even close to being half the battle. Complexity. Kahneman and Tversky demonstrated that the more complex the problem, the less likely people are to solve it well and decisions that require managing complex online forms could deter us from making the decision at all.Self-Control (Procrastination). This is a biggie. Our present bias can be so strong that we’re willing to forego the pain of a few dollars less each paycheck (today) in exchange for a more comfortable future (tomorrow).
We discussed his findings and a surprising micro-behavioral intervention aimed at those who were not enrolled. Incentives cannot be offered to get people to enroll, but they can be aimed at PRE-enrolling behavior: logging in. Saurabh’s discussion of the results are terrific!
We hope you enjoy our discussion with Saurabh and would be very grateful for a positive rating on your favorite podcatcher. It goes a long way with us and our efforts to expand our audience.Links
Saurabh Bhargava, PhD: Department of Social & Decision Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University.
Email = firstname.lastname@example.org
Kurt Nelson, PhD: email@example.com
Tim Houlihan: firstname.lastname@example.org
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John Sweeney: Everything Is a StoryBehavioral Grooves Podcast add
John Sweeney is the author of Innovation at the Speed of Laughter: 8 Secrets to World Class Idea Generation, corporate keynote speaker, improvisational impresario, the actor known for his character Jiggly Boy, a brainstorming and innovation maniac, and the owner of the Brave New Workshop, an improvisational theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota for more than 20 years.
More importantly, John is an accidental behavioral scientist. His worldview is based on observations he has made about human interactions in group settings and those interactions are, as you guessed, behaviorally based. John and his colleagues lead workshops on innovation that leverage principles from behavioral science and they do it with lots of laughter.
In our conversation with John, we talked about things he’s passionate about. We talked about how his character, Jiggly Boy, that was created to raise awareness for Minnesota’s professional basketball team, became a conduit to raise money for the Smile Network, an international humanitarian organization that provides life-altering reconstructive surgeries. The 11 million YouTube hits have contributed, via a link on the Jiggly Boy page, to raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for Smile Network. Very cool, indeed.
John also shared stories about how an in-person knife throwing demonstration was used in pitching his book at a book buyer’s convention (talk about vividness!) and how he brings new and novel ideas to corporate clients.
Aside from being gut-splitting funny, we discovered John shared important behavioral science principles to groove on after our conversation. One was the power of “Yes, and…” and how, with practice, it can become a way of life. Another was the importance of psychology safety and how it’s sorely missed in the corporate world today.
The last topic we grooved on was the concept of how you practice improv when it is unpracticable and how we can use narrative to engage and persuade.
This episode was recorded LIVE during our Behavioral Grooves meetup at John’s theatre, the Brave New Workshop. We wanted to bring John’s outsized personality to life, so a live audience seemed most fitting and we are grateful that he offered up his theatre as the venue. Thank you to John, Renee Scott, Matthew Vichlach and Craig Anderson for their support.
We laughed and laughed. A LOT. And we suspect you will, too. We hope you enjoy our conversation with John Sweeney.Links
John Sweeney: https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnsweeneybrave/
Brave New Workshop: https://www.bravenewworkshop.com/ Motto: “Promiscuous hostility, positive neutrality.”
Jiggly boy: http://www.jigglyboy.com/
Smile Network: http://www.smilenetwork.org/
Innovation at the Speed of Laughter: 8 Secrets to World Class Idea Generation, (2007) Aerialist Press. https://www.amazon.com/Innovation-Speed-Laughter-Generation-Paperback/dp/0976218437/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1549486513&sr=8-1&keywords=innovation+at+the+speed+of+laughter
Brainstorming: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brainstorming According to Wikipedia, “…brainstorming is a situation where a group of people meet to generate new ideas and solutions around a specific domain of interest by removing inhibitions.” A dozen top websites echo this requirement to remove inhibitions, but none really address it. Sweeney does.
Yes, and…: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yes,_and...
On role-playing and brainstorming: “Take it to the next stage: the roles of role-playing in the design process” by Kristian T. Simsarian, IDEO (2003) published in CHI '03 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pages 1012-1013. https://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=766123 Role-playing is complementary to traditional design techniques providing additional team dynamics and insights that bring the process and designs to another level.
Project Aristotle: https://rework.withgoogle.com/print/guides/5721312655835136/
Bell, David A., “Regret in Decision Making Under Uncertainty,” Operations Research Society of America, 1982. http://www.people.hbs.edu/dbell/regret%20in%20decison%20making%20.pdf
Davis, Miles: Kinda Blue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fC1qSxpmKo Or, if you can, check out the 1997 reissue of the record featuring an alternative version of “Flamenco Sketches” to compare to the one released on the original 1959 recording. This comparison provides great insight into the tremendous improvisational power of Davis and his talented band.
Dr. Dimento: https://www.drdemento.com/
Dr. Science: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KUEg8rwzUA
Kurt and Tim help companies positively apply behavioral insights into their organizations - let's have a conversation about how we can help your company. You can reach us at Kurt@lanterngroup.com or Tim@behavioralchemy.com. We’d love to help your organization improve your bottom line with a behavioral lens.
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Rodd Wagner: This Episode Could Save Your LifeBehavioral Grooves Podcast add
The safety insights from our guest could save your life!
Rodd Wagner is The New York Times bestselling author of the book "Widgets: The 12 New Rules for Managing Your Employees as If They're Real People." A contributor to Forbes, he is one of the foremost authorities on employee engagement and collaboration. Wagner's books, speeches, and thought leadership focus on how human nature affects business strategy. He and his aerospace engineer son, Rodd Parks Wagner, are currently completing work on a book on the psychology of safety.
We talked with Rodd about a wide variety of topics from writing books to the impact sleep has on behavior, the impact of checklists, and Zen Buddhism. But what really excited us was our discussion of hedonic adaptation and how it applies to safety…and to so much more.
We also discussed the moral code of self-driving cars and who will program (and what decisions they’ll make when programming) the robots to act. We talked about the famous Trolley Car Study (1967) and how self-driving cars will need to be taught to make tough moral decisions.
Our discussion with Rodd was followed by our grooving session, which focused on both hedonic adaptation and the morality of machines.
By listening to Behavioral Grooves, you are part of a community of people interested in behavioral science – a community that we are trying to build. We would be grateful if you can help expand that community by recommending this episode, or another Behavioral Grooves episode, to a friend. https://behavioralgrooves.podbean.com/
Also, Kurt and Tim help companies apply positive and ethical behavioral insights to their organizations. If you’re interested in starting a conversation, you can reach us at Kurt@lanterngroup.com or Tim@behavioralchemy.com. We’d love to help your organization improve your bottom line with a behavioral lens.
You can reach Rodd Wagner at email@example.com.
Rodd’s Forbes columns can be found here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/roddwagner/.
Widgets: The 12 New Rules for Managing Your Employees as if They’re Real People, by Rodd Wagner, McGraw-Hill (2015). https://www.inc.com/peter-economy/the-12-new-rules-for-managing-your-employees-like-real-people.html
Books We Discussed
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, by Phillip Dick (1996). Kurt referenced this book by Phillip Dick when Tim mistakenly thought he was speaking of Isaac Asimov’s classic I Robot. https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/40617/do-androids-dream-of-electric-sheep-by-philip-k-dick/9780345404473/
I Robot, by Isaac Asimov (1950). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I,_Robot
The Checklist Manifesto, by Atul Gawande, Picador (2011). http://atulgawande.com/book/the-checklist-manifesto/
Why We Sleep, by Matthew Walker, Simon & Schuster (2018). https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Why-We-Sleep/Matthew-Walker/9781501144325
Why Buddhism is True, by Robert Wright, Simon & Schuster (2018). https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Why-Buddhism-is-True/Robert-Wright/9781439195468
Papers & Studies We Discussed
Ariely, Dan. On Why Religion Makes You Behave Better, Slate. http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_wright_show/2012/07/05/why_religion_makes_you_behave_better.html
Brickman & Campbell, The Hedonic Treadmill (1971). http://faculty.som.yale.edu/ShaneFrederick/HedonicTreadmill.pdf?subject=Please+mail+a+hard+copy+of …and… https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/hedonic-treadmill/
Hyman, Ira E., Jr., et. al. “Did You See the Unicycling Clown? Inattentional Blindness while Walking and Talking on a Cell Phone.” Applied Cognitive Psychology, 24: 597–607 (2010)
Loewenstein, George. On bereavement and hedonic adaptation: https://www.cmu.edu/dietrich/sds/docs/loewenstein/HedonicAdaptation.pdf from Kahneman, Diener & Schwarz, Wellbeing: the foundations of hedonic psychology, Sage Foundation, 1999.
Lyubomirsky, Sonja. On the key elements of happiness: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonja_Lyubomirsky
Eye Tracking Experiment: https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20160006052.pdf
Trolley Car Study: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOpf6KcWYyw
MIT Moral Machine: https://www.media.mit.edu/projects/moral-machine/overview/
Music We Discussed
Angus & Julia Stone. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0feNWRd3FE
Pat Metheny, “One Quiet Night.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_eY4qcaiWs8
Nine Inch Nails
Lynyrd Skynyrd "Freebird"
Thomas Steenburgh: How to Sell New ProductsBehavioral Grooves Podcast add
Thomas Steenburgh, PhD is a senior professor of Business Administration and Senior Associate Dean at the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. Tom spent a good portion of his career in the corporate world and before he departed for academia, he held senior positions at Xerox Corporation, ending his work there as head of the US Direct Incentive Strategy with a budget of $140 million budget for 4,000 salespeople Tom has partnered with Mike Ahearne, PhD from the University of Houston (featured in a June 2018 episode of Behavioral Grooves) on extensive research related to the performance and management of sales reps.
Recently, the two of them developed ground-breaking research on how to help sales reps be more successful when they are asked to sell new products. Tom and Mike invested 5 years in gathering data from sales managers, salespeople, and even customers. The insights they gained were especially valuable for those working in sales leadership positions.
There were three primary discoveries we discussed with Tom. The first is that the best asset for a sales rep to have when it comes to selling new products is a learning mindset. A learning mindset, as described by Tom, is what comes from a sales rep’s innate curiosity about customers, their environment and their needs. As intuitive as that sounds, it’s a lot less common that we imagine.
Reps with learning mindsets spend more time discussing the market trends affecting the customers as well as the situations and the specific needs their customers have before they start into selling new products. This deep investigation into each customer’s situation contributes to increased success when they start selling. The downside is that it takes more time and reduces output while they’re doing that investigation. Sales managers who are anxious to keep the numbers up from month to month may struggle with this. Tom highlighted a few ways to work around this in the short term.
The second big discovery was the disconnect between sales reps and their customers in how they perceive the strengths of the reps. In other words, customers were asked to rate reps on a variety of scales and reps were asked to the same of themselves. When considering the rep’s strengths, customers tended to rate sales reps very differently than reps rated themselves. The only dimension the reps and customers agreed on was on the sales rep’s product knowledge. Customers were more likely to give reps lower scores on reps’ learning mindsets, adaptability and openness than the reps gave themselves. This revealed big blind spots.
The third big discovery was the role of the rep’s emotional wellbeing in the selling process. We recognize that selling new products can be hard on the reps, but it’s vital to the company’s long-term success. Tom’s research revealed that sales reps need to become change agents within the organization as well as masters to change their own selling methods. These changes, along with saving face with clients, can cause significant emotional challenges – a component that has been undervalued in the past.
It turns out that reps were surprised by the stark contrast between how easy it was to get customers to take meetings and how difficult it was to close deals after the initial interest. Unfortunately, most sales reps failed to do the deep investigation to understand who the best target for the new product would be, so many of their meetings were wastes of time.
We also talked about the importance of strategic account reps with their broader viewpoints and longer-term orientations and how they can be leaders in new product introductions. And we discussed Neil Rackham, the creator of SPIN selling and author of books on consultative selling.
Of course, we also discussed Tom’s eclectic tastes in music. Apparently, he has seemingly equal interest in the works of Philip Glass, great American contemporary composer of minimalist orchestral music and John Lurie and the Lounge Lizards, who are responsible for some of the greatest covers of Ornette Coleman’s classic sax tunes. But Tom also listens to the sweet and simple Americana melodies of Dave Rawlings and Gillian Welch. Not to be outdone with another left-turn, Tom paid special note to Kurt Weill, the early 20th century composer of The Threepenny Opera which featured the song “Mack The Knife” (lyrics by Berthold Brecht). It was popularized by Bobby Darin in 1958, then Ella Fitzgerald in her 1960 performance Live in Berlin, which we’ve referenced before as one of the greatest live recordings – ever. Our own notes included references to The Who’s Tommy and Pink Floyd’s The Wall.
In our grooving session, we expanded on Tom’s mention of learning mindset and we brought up Carol Dweck’s growth mindset. The intersection of these two concepts is very cool.
Finally, Kurt and Tim help companies with sales compensation, sales incentive structures and the selecting the most motivational rewards, don’t hesitate to start a conversation with us. You might be a sales leader with questions, and we can help answer them. We’d love to help your organization improve your bottom line with a behavioral lens.
Kurt Nelson, PhD: @whatmotivates
Tim Houlihan: @thoulihan
Web site: www.behavioralgrooves.com
Robert Cialdini, PhD: Littering, Egoism and Aretha FranklinBehavioral Grooves Podcast add
Robert Cialdini, PhD is counted among the greatest psychological researchers alive today and his published works have been cited thousands of times. His New York Times best-selling book, Influence, from 1984, is considered a classic for classroom and corporate use alike. He is an ardent author and a passionate professor, and his work has impacted millions. In short, Bob Cialdini has shaped the landscape of how sales and marketing workers do their jobs and how researchers frame their studies.
In this episode of Behavioral Grooves, Bob took a few minutes to discuss some of his most underappreciated research and some of the new things he’s working on. We began with a study that used littering as a way to predict, before the polls closed, the outcome of an election by watching how voters treated candidate fliers left on their cars. One of the very elegant aspects of this study was that it required no surveys – merely the observation of behaviors in the parking lots of the polling places. The question the researchers sought to answer was this: How do voters treat the fliers of candidates they favor and of those they oppose? More specifically, do voters keep fliers from candidates they like and litter with the fliers of candidates they dislike?
Then, our conversation moved to a line of research that he’d investigated for over a decade: the motivations for pro-social behavior, such as giving to those in need. Bob reminds us that there are many motivators at play when one person helps out another, as when a passerby gives money to some asking for money on the street, but there is one motivator that stands out: egoism. Many of us believe that being charitable is an obligation or is driven by guilt, and while that is true to some degree, Bob’s collective research over more than a dozen years revealed that egoism, that selfish desire to feel good about ourselves, is at the heart of helping others.
Then we went a step farther. Bob noted that helping others is more likely to occur when the person in need appears to be in-group or in-tribe. In other words, we’re more likely to be charitable if it appears the person asking for help is “like me.” The primary way we decide if someone is like us is to look at how they’re dressed. What kind of clothes are they wearing? In his studies, Bob found that soccer (football) fans were more likely to assist someone on the street if they were wearing the jersey of their favorite team. It’s unnerving to think that the clothes you wear could determine whether someone helps you or not.
In our grooving session, Kurt and Tim discussed the impact of social identity and self-identity. We discussed articles by Michael Hogg and Roy Baumeister. We brought in books by Harvard Professor Teresa Amabile and Dan Levitan’s great treatise on the neurological effects of music. And on music, we chatted about how music makes us feel and we cited Semisonic’s “Closing Time” and Beethoven’s 5th Symphony as examples.
Lastly, Bob is interested in hearing from YOU! He’d like listeners to send reports on how the principles of influence are being used in the real world to be included in his next book. If you’d like to be considered for his next work, please send your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org
We hope you enjoy our discussion with Bob Cialdini. https://behavioralgrooves.podbean.com/Sponsor: The Creative Group, Inc.
This episode is brought to you by Creative Group Inc. Kurt and Tim have worked with CGI and have found that their process of co-creation of incentive program provides clients with more robust solutions. Because their incentive and employee engagement programs are co-created, they reflect the truest aspects of the client’s organization and culture. CGI shares our belief that incentives and rewards shouldn’t be used to create brand mercenaries – but instead, should be about creating brand missionaries. Check them out at https://www.creativegroupinc.com/.A Note of Gratitude
We are grateful to Bob for sharing his insights with us in this very fun conversation. However, it wouldn’t have happened without the concerted effort of Bobette Gordon. We thank her for her coordination and support to make put make our conversation with Bob a reality.References
Robert Cialdini, PhD and Influence at Work: https://www.influenceatwork.com/
The Principle of Continuation in Gestalt Psychology. The Continuity Principle: http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Gestalt_principles#Continuity_principle
Daniel Levitin: This is Your Brain on Music. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/This_Is_Your_Brain_on_Music
Baumeister, R. F., & Leary, M. R. (1995). “The need to belong: Desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation,” Psychological Bulletin, 117, 497–529.
Festinger, L. (1954). “A theory of social comparison processes,” Human Relations, 7, 117–140.
Hogg, M. A. (2001). “Social categorization, depersonalization, and group behavior. In M. A. Hogg & R. S. Tindale (Eds.), Blackwell handbook of social psychology: Group processes (pp. 56–85). Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Walton, G., Cohen, G., Cwir, D., and Spencer, S. (2012) “Mere Belonging: The Power of Social Connections,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,, Vol. 102, No. 3, 513–532.
Amabile, T., Kramer, S., Williams, S. (2011) The Progress Principle, Harvard Business Review Press.
Aretha Franklin: “Think” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsL9UL9qbv8
Semisonic: “Closing Time” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGytDsqkQY
Ludwig von Beethoven: “5th Symphony” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxF7hDsU-HY
Cassette tape: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassette_tape
Grooving: Political Stalemates - Insights on ConsistencyBehavioral Grooves Podcast add
This episode is first in a series called Exploring the Principles of Influence, named for Robert Cialdini, PhD’s principles in his 1984 book, Influence. During this and the next 5 mini-grooving sessions, we will discuss Dr. Cialdini’s principles in light of events that are making headlines.
In this episode, we tackle principle #4: Consistency. Dr. Cialdini describes consistency in this way: “Once people make a decision, take a stand or perform an action, they will face an interpersonal pressure to behave in a consistent manner with what they have said or done previously.”
Consistency impacts how we view ourselves and how we are viewed by our familial, social and work communities. Consistency is the foundation of trust, a central element to the success of humankind.
Kurt and Tim discuss how consistency plays a role in two political stalemates in the headlines: one in the United States with the government shutdown and the other in the UK with Brexit. We discuss how politicians are known for flip-flopping without impacting the support of their base enthusiasts. But, we ask, how many times can politicians forego consistency before the base supporters begin defecting? And how does context impact a politician’s need to be consistent?
Listen to this mini grooving session to get a quick snapshot of these two political stalemates through the lens of Robert Cialdini’s 4th principle of influence: Consistency.
Ori Brafman: On Starfish, Burning Man and Efficient MarketsBehavioral Grooves Podcast add
In this episode, we had a discussion with Ori Brafman about decentralization and how our brains respond to cash and cocaine. Ori is a multiple New York Times bestselling author and is the founder and president of Starfish Leadership as well as the co-founder of the Fully Charged Institute with Tom Rath. He is a Distinguished Teaching Fellow at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and his specialties range from organizational culture, employee engagement, business transformation, leadership, to emerging technologies.
More than many of our guests, our talk with Ori touched on a very wide range of topics. We rambled from from distributed trust, gaining power through ceding control in decentralized industries, making a new blockchain currency – called Groove Coins (which would be cool!) – to how being born in Israel and growing up in El Paso, Texas impacted his life, how communities and tribes impact us, how we do or do not imply intent, and to how we use technology, in many ways, is a huge behavioral science experiment.
We also discussed a new podcast that Ori has launched with his brother Rom called “Psychological Mysteries” and how they’re attempting to wrap up some loose ends in the world of psychology. Sort of a fraternal myth-busters approach to solving some common misconceptions of our minds.
Of course, we discussed music and how Ori’s love for serious music (classical and baroque) became evident at an early age, but he didn’t find enough traction to pursue it professionally. Ironically, he discovered some of his baroque heroes at Burning Man while EDM music (EDM = electronic dance music) played in the background. Burning Man, if you are not familiar, is an annual festival of sorts, that attracts nearly 80,000 people to a playa in the middle of the desert near Reno, Nevada in the western United States. Burning Man promotes principles such as radical inclusion, radical self-expression, radical self-reliance and gifting among their top 10. These make for a unique experience according to friends who have attended the week-long cultural experience.
Our time with Ori passed quickly and was filled with lots and lots of laughter. We found that his intellectual rigor lifted us up with new ideas and fresh perspectives and we are grateful to have had a chat with him.
In our grooving session, we started out discussing Richard Mowday’s book, Employee – Organization Linkages: The Psychology of Commitment, Absenteeism, and Turnover, published by Academic Press in 1982. We also discussed the Psychometrics of Decentralization, from an article in Psychology Today, from June 14, 2018 and some of Rachel Botsman’s interesting work on trust.
Before you listen, we would like your help. Stars and written reviews help move us up in Apple’s (and other pod services) algorithms for ratings and rankings. On Apple, all you have to do is click on “Shows” find Behavioral Grooves, scroll down to the bottom (past all our episodes) to rate us AND write a review. We would greatly appreciate it.
Please enjoy our discussion with Ori Brafman.
Ori’s Books include:Radical Inclusion: What the Post–9/11 World Should Have Taught Us About LeadershipThe Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless OrganizationsSway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational BehaviorClick: The Forces Behind How We Fully Engage with People, Work, and Everything We DoThe Chaos Imperative: How Chance and Disruption Increase Innovation, Effectiveness, and Success
Ori & Rom’s Podcast “Psychological Mysteries” can be found at https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/psychological-mysteries/id1434160105?mt=2
To subscribe to Behavioral Grooves, you can do so at any major podcatcher or at Podbean: https://behavioralgrooves.podbean.com/
Barry Ritholtz: How to Reduce Evolutionary PanicBehavioral Grooves Podcast add
In this special edition, we sat down with Barry Ritholtz, a Wall Street investment maven, host of the podcast Masters In Business, a regular contributor to Bloomberg TV, CNBC and The Street, as well as an author whose pieces appear in The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post as well as his blog, The Big Picture.
To say that our conversation with Barry was unconventional is an understatement. We talked for well over an hour about the application of behavioral science in his investment firm, predicting market downturns, Steely Dan, behavioral science researchers, great investors throughout history and personal anecdotes… all of which were as entertaining as they were insightful.
This episode strays from our regular format by including our grooving commentaries as we go through the interview. In other words, we talk about the concepts that our guest brings up as interludes to the live discussion with him.
Barry lets us know – right off the bat – that he is not your average Wall Street investment-firm guy. He is insightful and data-driven. He noted one of his earliest influences was Jack Schwager, author of Market Sense and Nonsense. Schwager’s data-driven position was instantly appealing to Barry. Then Tom Gilovich, PhD brought research into Barry’s purview and fueled a deeper dive into behavioral science. Tom is known for his work on biases and heuristics as well as the enlightening research he contributed to on the hot-hand fallacy, which has recently been challenged.
In Barry’s career, he became aware of small differences in his coworker’s approaches making big differences to their results. It was the Dunning-Kruger Effect, a common cognitive bias in which people of low ability mistakenly assess their cognitive skill as greater than it is. We’ve all had the experience of hearing a friend make grand predictions about something we’re pretty sure they know nearly nothing about.
Barry was also impressed by the research-based Fama-French model and how it addresses three critical basics of investing using data. The model uses three factors to describe stock returns: 1. Market risk. 2. Small company stocks tend to provide better returns than larger company stocks. 2. High book-to-market companies perform better than low book-to-market companies.
Barry also noted how he has been influenced by Ray Dalio, author and investor, and how much Barry’s science-based college education helped him appreciate and focus his investment approach by using data.
Our musical discussion began with Steely Dan and headed into Steely Dan’s co-founder’s first solo effort, The Nightfly. Donald Fagen recorded and produced The Nightfly in 1982 with audiophile-perfect recording techniques. We also discussed Barry’s quest to discover the Greatest American Band and the constraints he put on the title. Without constraints, we lack focus, he says, so eligibility required that each band be (a) American born and (b) a band, not an individual with a back-up band.
If you like listening to this episode and the way we edited our conversation with Barry, send us a note! We’d love to hear what you think.
Link to Behavioral Grooves: https://behavioralgrooves.podbean.com/
Grooving on Too Much StuffBehavioral Grooves Podcast add
After the gift-giving holidays – Hanukkah and Christmas – homes and apartments are bursting at the seams with more stuff. Knick-knacks, novelties, gewgaws, tchotchkes, odds and ends of all sorts are crowding out space where the familiar stuff currently resides.
For most of us, parting with some old familiar goodies requires a change in behavior. And if you want to make that change, there’s hope! This episode offers some behavioral science to help you with the process.
One of the biggest things you need to overcome is Status Quo Bias. This is the big hairy elephant in the room. We love to hang on to old stuff, in part because our default is to keep stuff, not get rid of it – that’s the status quo. Ridding yourself of old stuff to make way for the new requires overcoming this intensely powerful default.
Priming. Begin your journey to unload stuff by opening up 3 or 4 bags or boxes and laying them in plain sight. You’re more likely to fill them if they’re open and ready to use than if you must fetch a new one each time you fill the previous one. Make the choice to give something away as easy as possible.
Joint Comparison. If you only look at one item at a time, you’ll find a good reason to keep it. Force yourself to compare two or three like items and to rid yourself of one of them. That way, you’re creating an environment where you might say: “This old cookie-sheet is in worse shape than this other cookie sheet and, since I haven’t used it in a year, I’ll give it away.”
Social Accountability. The best solution for cleaning out a kitchen, bathroom or garage to make way for newer things is to enlist the help of a trusted friend or relative. Ideally, they could become recipients for some of your gently-used items; however, the important thing is that having a comrade-in-arms will reduce the probability of assigning ‘save’ to items best identified as ‘give away.’
When/Then Statement. Use a commitment statement to orient your actions, such as, “When I get home from work on Friday night, then I’m going to set out my packing boxes.” And, “When I wake up on Saturday morning, then I’m going to start cleaning out my closet.”
Getting rid of stuff can be difficult, but when space begins to run short, you’re going to be forced to make some decisions. You want plenty of room for all the new stuff that you just received as gifts, don’t you? Then get started!
If you haven’t subscribed, you can check out all our episodes on iTunes, Podbean, Castbox, Stitcher and lots of other podcatchers. https://behavioralgrooves.podbean.com/
Grooving: Top 10 Podcasts of 2018Behavioral Grooves Podcast add
During 2018, Behavioral Grooves published 44 episodes and expanded our viewers into more than 90 countries. To celebrate our successful first year, Kurt and Tim called out our ten most downloaded episodes from 2018. We hope you check them out.
#10. Behavioral Grooves #1: James Heyman, PhD. In this episode, we discussed research that James conducted with Dan Ariely, PhD while they were both at Berkeley.
#9. David Yokum – Science is Hard. David’s journey from the White House Insights Team to The Lab @ DC, to Brown University (to establish a center for applying behavioral sciences to governmental policies) is remarkable.
#8. Grooving on Cash vs. Non-Cash. For many years, we have been fascinated with why rewards that provide the greatest extrinsic motivation are NOT cash!
#7. Grooving on Applying Behavioral Sciences at Your Office. In this episode, we offer tips on how to put your behavioral science desires into action at the office.
#6. Nudge-A-Thon with Dr. Christina Gravert. Christina discussed the difference between a nudge and a sludge in this fun conversation. Also, she established Impactually, a behavioral sciences firm with Nurit Nobel, to offer consulting and online classes.
#5. Caroline Webb: Having a Good Day. Our conversation with Caroline rambled from her terrific book to speaking at Davos to singing at Carnegie Hall and even Burning Man! What a life!
#4. Don’t Be Creepy – Data Transparency with Charlotte Blank. Charlotte is the Chief Behavioral Officer at Maritz, Inc., and we had a great discussion about how to use data appropriately.
#3. Grooving on Books: Our Top 10 Recommended books on Behavioral Science. We were pleasantly surprised to hear from so many listeners around the world who shared their own top 10 lists with us.
#2. Michael Hallsworth: From MINDSCAPE to EAST. Michael’s discoveries of behavioral interventions that worked went hand in hand with many studies that demonstrated what didn’t work. This episode highlights both.
#1: Leaving the Matrix: Annie Duke and insights on how you can improve your thinking! Author and poker player extraordinaire, Annie was a delightful guest offering great insights and great laughs. Note: Check out her mentor Lila Gleitman’s contribution to the English Dictionary!
Thank you all for a wonderful 2018!
If you’ve not subscribed, you can do so with your favorite podcatcher including iTunes, Stitcher, Castbox, Spotify, YouTube and others!
Podbean host: https://behavioralgrooves.podbean.com/
Sam Tatam: Smelling the BrandBehavioral Grooves Podcast add
We were introduced to Sam in San Francisco where he wowed us with his presentation about how applying behavioral science was like writing a song. Sam is an Aussie living in London and his references to songwriting and Jimi Hendrix were at the very least unconventional and instantly made him someone we wanted to meet.
Sam’s journey into behavioral science began when he chose to study clinical psychology over graphic design and was formalized when one of his managers recommended Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Tipping Point. Sam found it inspirational. Ironically, his work at Ogilvy has reunited his passions for both psychology and graphic design
From a very early age, Sam indicated he believed in asking people the right questions over telling people what to do. He gave us examples of how asking the right questions allow people to respond authentically which got Sam thinking about how asking consumers the right questions could impact the data they gathered. He’s a regular Socrates for the 21st century!
Sam also shared a terrific story about leveraging social proof to increase hand washing among food-processing employees. Sam told us about plant employees who were not thoroughly washing their hands even with lots of reminders. But the GI Joe Fallacy was in full play as knowing was not moving the needle on clean hands. Ogilvy’s very clever solution was to put an inexpensive organic ink stamp on every employee’s hands before they started their shift, immediately before they were supposed to wash their hands. Once they were on the factory floor, it was instantly clear who DID and who DIDN’T wash their hands correctly. Social proof was an important element to increase the rate of proper hand washing, but providing a salient feedback loop for each worker was critical.
Like the hand-washing case where awareness was simply not enough, Sam shared some tips on implicit hiring bias that caught our attention: 1. Focusing on process over outcome can lead to higher-quality new-hires. And, 2. Exploiting the diversification heuristic – by slowing down and hiring for more than one position at a time – can bring significantly better new employees your company.
We were not surprised that Sam’s eclectic tastes in music bounce between Ronin Keating (from the Irish pop group Boyzone) for his recording of Alison Kraus’ hit for the Notting Hill movie: “When you say nothing at all” to Aussie bands including Powderfinger, and the great AC/DC. But he also called attention to UK-based singer-songwriter, David Gray.
We hope you enjoy this episode. If you’re not already a subscriber, check out all the episodes at https://behavioralgrooves.podbean.com/.
And if you enjoy this conversation with Sam, please share your thoughts in the form of a positive rating with your favorite podcatcher.
Will Leach: Marketing to MindstatesBehavioral Grooves Podcast add
Will Leach is a marketer, econometrician and author whose recent book, Marketing to Mindstates, captured our attention before it was even published. His clever, behaviorally-focused marketing messages were provocative and we were excited to have him as a guest.
Will’s book focuses on 4 key mind states: Activating a goal, priming the need, framing the choice and triggering the behavior. The book was written as a practical guide for marketers looking to integrate behavioral sciences into their work.
To lay the foundation for the book, Will relied on his experience at the PepsiCo SMART lab. There, they tested prices, planograms, promotional messages and packaging on real-life consumers in a simulated shopping experience. There his curiosity was peaked about why people do what they do. He discovered gold in books like Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely, and in Tory Higgins and Heidi Grant Halverson’s book on regulatory fit, Focus. (Both are recommended reading!)
In his years following PepsiCo, Will has taken on some very cool clients and introduced us to Phil Kusak, the founder of Wicked Crisps. Will and Phil worked on the development, branding and marketing of a healthy snack food targeted at Millennial Mom’s leveraging the regulatory fit model. Will was struck by Phil’s caring approach to the people in his organization by modifying machines at Wicked Crisps to accommodate the special physical needs of his employees. We were pleased to be introduced to Phil’s work, as well, and hope you support his wonderful work.
Before we signed off, Will shared three tips with us: 1. Set goals. It’s important that our first step be to actually set and own the goal. 2. Manage regulatory fit. Will reminded us of the importance of making decisions frictionless. 3., Use behavioral triggers. Together, these tips help tell the mind what to do and when to do it.
Our musical discussion had a very eclectic mix to it. We talked about how Will grew up with the sounds of Motown – Aretha Franklin and Bill Withers and he even uses the song Lovely Day as a prime for getting up in the morning. But once he moved to Texas, he realized that the prettiest girls listened to George Strait, Pat Green, and Robert Earl Keen. It always starts with a girl!
In our grooving session, we discussed the importance of the ethical application of these tools. The application of regulatory fit and the use of behavioral triggers can be very powerful, and we recommend careful consideration before implementing them.
Grooving on: New Year's ResolutionsBehavioral Grooves Podcast add
Every year, millions of people make resolutions at the start of the new year and researchers indicate that 91% of those resolutions are sunk by the end of the second week in January.
In this grooving episode, we highlight 10 tips on how you can keep your New Year’s resolutions and how you can manifest an even more amazing version of the already-wonderful YOU. To do so, we’re providing 10 tips and hacks that can help you maintain your resolutions and achieve your goals. We are also taking this medicine to make our own new year’s resolutions more successful! Let’s do it together so we can all stay on the resolution bandwagon!
The Ten Tips Are:
Make it emotional. Don’t create a resolution that is completely rational and lacks emotion. Make sure that you engage an emotional trigger and find the larger meaning. People often talk about SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) and for good reason: because they work and the key piece in SMART is that they are relevant.
Adopt your future self as your present identity – “I’m not losing weight, I’m being the healthy, active person that I want to be” – bring your ideal future self to today. Start talking about yourself and referring to your lifestyle today as if you were already living your I’ve-succeeded-with-my-resolution self.
Start small. The first level of starting small is to keep the number of resolutions small – no more than three! You’re destined for failure if you have a dozen resolutions to try to adhere to. The second level is to break down larger goals into manageable chunks – what are the behaviors that you need to do each week/day/hour that will make you achieve your goal.
Tie triggers into current habits to make the modifications you need to adopt the new behavior. A good way to do this is to use when ______, then _______ statements. “When I go to brush my teeth, then I will pick up the dental floss.” Research indicates we are three times more likely to do the desired behavior if we tie it to a trigger from our current behavior.
Remove friction. Once you’ve uncovered what might derail you, use if _____, then ______ statements to help figure out what to do when derailments happen. “If I feel like not going to the gym, then I will rely on my commitment to get three visits in this week.” Add friction to things you don’t want to do (move the Oreo cookies to the basement) and reduce friction for things you want to do (put your workout shoes at your bedside before you sleep).
Enlist Social Support. It’s best to have three kinds of people that can help you on your journey: the cheerleader, the coach, and the referee. Build a small group of people to hold you accountable and reward them for focusing on accuracy, not just warm feelings.
Measure your progress. It could be as simple placing check marks on a diary or to use an app to automate the process. Measure at a rate that is appropriate for the behavior change you’re undertaking: use daily or weekly measures for shorter-term resolutions and weekly or monthly for longer-term resolutions.
Reward your progress. If you’re set milestones along the way, make sure you reward yourself as you achieve these milestones. Don’t hold all your rewards until the very end. These rewards can coincide with the way you’ve broken down your resolution into smaller parts. And they need to be the right kinds of rewards.
Give yourself a break. We are human, not machines and the world is complex. Not everything will go as planned. It’s ok to not be 100%, but “don’t miss twice,” as James Clear says. One of our biggest biases is to underestimate how much time any given task will take. Don’t punish yourself for missing a date – just do the work.
Make it fun. Be intentional about laughing and enjoying the process of the change you’re in. When things don’t go as planned, laugh it off and learn from it. Share your hardships and successes with your social networks. Laughing releases endorphins in the brain that cause you to feel less pain and anxiety, which actually makes you more resilient and happier.
The resolution solution: Longitudinal examination of New Year's change attempts, by JC Norcross at the University of Scranton. Or Forbes article titled “Just 8% of People Achieve Their New Year's Resolutions. Here's How They Do It.”
“Atomic Habits,” by James Clear.
“How to Have a Good Day,” by Caroline Webb.
“Large Stakes and Big Mistakes,” by Loewenstein, Gneezy, Mazar & Ariely.
“Tiny Habits,” by B.J. Fogg.
“Thinking in Bets,” by Annie Duke.
Michael Hallsworth: From MINDSPACE to EASTBehavioral Grooves Podcast add
In this episode, we spoke with Dr. Michael Hallsworth PhD, the Managing Director of the North American Behavioral Insights Team. We met up with him at his office in Brooklyn which gave the audio a bit of an echo-chamber vibe.
Michael was an early member of the UK’s Behavioral Insights Team. Along with Paul Dolan, Dominic King, Ivo Vlaev, and David Halpern, Michael created MINDSPACE in 2009 and later, the EAST model. Both are mnemonic tools for remembering key elements of behavioral science.
To ensure that everyone is comfortable with the MINDSPACE and EAST models, we recommend this link to an overview from the Behavioural Insights Team: https://www.behaviouralinsights.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/BIT-Publication-EAST_FA_WEB.pdf. The paper is brief, informative, easy to read and offers one of the best explanations on how to apply behavioral insights we’ve read. However, in quick recap form, the mnemonic MINDSCAPE stands for:
Messenger. We are heavily influenced by who communicates information
Incentives. Our responses to incentives are shaped by predictable mental shortcuts such as strongly avoiding losses
Norms. We are strongly influenced by what others do
Defaults. We “go with the flow” of pre-set options
Salience. Our attention is drawn to what is novel and seems relevant to us
Priming. Our actions are often influenced by sub-conscious cues
Affect. Our emotional associations can powerfully shape our behaviors
Commitments. We seek to be consistent with our public promises and reciprocate acts
Ego. We act in ways that make us feel better about ourselves
EAST is an updated and simplified version of MINDSPACE. EAST is a powerful tool because it is so easy to remember and it stands for:
Easy. Harness the power of defaults; reduce the ‘hassle factor’ of taking up a service; simplify messages
Attractive. Attract attention; design rewards and sanctions for maximum effect
Social. Show that most people perform the desired behavior; leverage the power of networks; encourage people to make a commitment to others
Timely. Prompt people when they are likely to be most receptive; consider the immediate costs and benefits; help people plan their response to events
Michael is a relentless researcher. He never fatigues of testing new ideas or recycling old ones and he’s open about situations where replications of his earlier studies worked well and not so well. His candidness about his successes and failures, when it comes to replicating results, is a breath of fresh air in the scientific community. To highlight this fact, we discussed how changes to the format of the letter used by the British tax authority to collect taxes from delinquents generated great results. However, when he applied the same approach to collect dues in Albuquerque, New Mexico with a different audience, the formality effect failed miserably.
Michael shared his observations on framing, political systems, confirmation bias and motivated reasoning. All are prominent in the world today, increasing our need to pay attention to them and to be aware of their effects on our decisions and behaviors.
He also shared two tips on how to prepare to conduct a study. He teed these two up in a fashion that was highly intentional, so we recommend following his direction if you are interested in conducting a study of your own.Pay attention to details as the human condition (and our world) is complexAsk for written predictions from the experts prior to collecting data – hindsight bias is a powerful effect
We also discussed how Michael came to play piano “quite late” as a child because, unlike many kids who are thrown into piano lessons, he volunteered to study the instrument. Quite simply, he loved music and still does. He still plays a bit today at holiday gatherings and when he’s in close proximity to a piano. Also, he introduced us to a band neither of us had heard of - Okkervil River. A very chill Americana band out of Austin, Texas.
That led us to discuss Texas bands and Texas music festivals in our Grooving Session. We remind listeners of 3 great Texas-born songwriters, Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaugh, and Buddy Holly and discussed how the festival known as South by Southwest (SXSW) has become a highly commercialized event in Austin. Is it still fun, entertaining and rewarding for music fans? Certainly, but it’s become a corporate marketing event and is a bit overwhelming for those hoping to the next musical superstar in a small saloon.
We hope you enjoy our discussion with Michael Hallsworth, PhD.
Check out our website, www.behavioralgrooves.com if you’re interested in more episodes. And stop by the Podbean hosting site if you’d like to see the episode notes with all the live links in it. The complete and original version is located at https://behavioralgrooves.podbean.com/.
Re-Grooving on Annie DukeBehavioral Grooves Podcast add
This is a special Re-Grooving session for your speedy listening enjoyment. In this re-grooving episode, we are re-sharing the Grooving Session (only the Grooving Session) that followed Kurt’s and my conversation with Annie Duke, author and poker champion extraordinaire. That means that in this episode, you won’t hear the conversation with Annie. To hear that, you need to check out our podcast called “Leaving the Matrix.” There you can enjoy all of Annie’s insights and enthusiasm first hand.
This episode is just the Grooving Session after we spoke with Annie. It’s about 30 minutes long and includes comments Kurt and I made about Annie, as well as our observations on tribes, loss aversion, goal setting, accountability coaches, nudge-fest, Lila Gleitman’s contribution the English dictionary, listening to (or not listening) to music while we’re doing other tasks and Alex Chilton’s impact on musical literature.
Also, Kurt and I wanted to let you know that we have instituted the thinking-in-probabilities approach in our conversations with each other and with our respective clients. We encourage you to give it a try.
And speaking of probabilities, we believe that you are at least 87% likely to jump onto your favorite podcatcher and give Behavioral Grooves a positive review! Thanks in advance for your support.
Check out www.behavioralgrooves.com for more information on meetups and podcasts.