© Mustang79 | Dreamstime.com – Elephant Walking On Autumnal Alley Photo
In the excellent book Switch, the process of making a positive change is made more meaningful through the metaphor of an Elephant, being guided by a Rider, along a Path. The (very strong) Elephant represents the importance of using emotion, the Rider represents options for rational thought to enable change, and the path represents the capacity of the environment around us to automatically affect our behaviour.
To make change easier to achieve, there are many fascinating techniques we can apply to maximise each of these three, but for today I will focus only on the Path.
On my courses and with coaching clients, one of my favourite ways to help people raise more money is to find ways they could shape their work environment or system to make the desired behaviour require less will-power because it becomes more automatic.
What I love about this one is that once you put these strategies in practice, huge progress is possible. This is because without the need for extra smart thinking (rider) and will-power (the elephant) the desired behaviour becomes the norm, not something special.
For example, Amazon dramatically increased sales when they reduced the number of clicks needed to make a purchase, because people were able to buy with less effort. And the car designer who invented the alarm which goes off if you leave the lights on has prevented millions of flat batteries, without drivers needing to expend valuable brain energy on remembering they’ve left their lights on.
How can you use this concept to raise a lot more money?
Ask yourself: ‘What could I do to create the environment and the culture that would cause this positive fundraising behaviour to become more automatic, the normal habit, in myself or my team?’
- Story Time. For example, if you knew that familiarity with more specific stories about your services would help your team influence their donors, set up a default item on every team meeting agenda called the Story Sharing Slot. The mere existence of the item on the agenda should prompt at least one extra story to be shared every single meeting. If you meet weekly, that could be nearly 50 performance-enhancing stories being shared a year.
- Personal Story Bank. If you personally struggle to remember stories that would interest and persuade your supporters, go and grab an old ring binder file now, label it My Story Bank and forever more use it as a place to keep the examples that will help you influence and inspire.
- Mix them up. If your organisation is of a size whereby teams operating in silos / not knowing each other can harm productivity, why not pilot a hot-desking policy? In recent years, several leading charities, including the NSPCC and Prostate Cancer UK have made huge improvements in cross team working through hot-desking.
- Subconscious inspiration. Or decide to make your individual or team environment more inspiring. For example, Fiona, one of my coaching clients is driven by a strong desire to make the world fairer for women. So in five minutes, she decided to mock up a
visual reminder of this purpose, which was to doctor an image of the G8 leaders (normally seven men in grey suits plus one woman) by adding some colourful frocks to half the men in the picture. She placed the new image near her computer so that even without deliberately looking at it, at a subconscious level her driving purpose is inspiring her.
In what other ways could you shape your environment or system to help make the right behaviours easier or more normal?
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