Just passing along some love to you, the leaders, executives and managers I admire the most. Thank you for making the choice to receive this article series, “Lynda’s Launch List” each week. You and I have been creating this content together, because it is based on your feedback in classes and coaching sessions, since the Launch List was first published in December 13, 2007. It cracked me up to see the first one I ever posted and distributed on that date. http://lyndamcnuttfoster.com/today/ We’ve had quite the journey together to build a subscriber base that reaches more than 2,000 executives and their teams each week.
I am grateful for the support so many of you have shown, over the last year, as my husband, Allen Foster and I, launched Cortex Leadership Consulting, which was the merger of a consulting firm I founded more than 20 years ago, McNutt & Associates, Inc.
Our team at Cortex has already coached and trained more than 120 participants in our leadership classes, Leading a Winning Team, and given keynote note speeches about my newest ebooks and audiobook to more than 750 in the last 6 months alone. Our diverse team of professionals work hard to listen to you, hear your feedback and biggest challenges and respond with content and programs that appear to be transforming you and the teams you lead. I am hooked on working hard to serve you. I love what I do and wouldn’t be able to without you! So, onto what you read this article for each week.
So, will you be hooked on what I discovered for you this week?
I have not been able to put down Hooked: How to Build Habit Forming Products, by Nir Eyal. It started when I watched a short video on YouTube one morning when I was on the elliptical. Then I bought the 30-minute audio summary. Next came the Kindle version and the hard copy is on the way. Why am I devouring every piece of material available on this book? Simple. It provides a clear path to how people get hooked on things and then build habits around them. The work Eyal has done focuses on products and services. A previous article from “Lynda’s Launch List” focused on the book The Power of Habit. Why I am so interested in the formation of habits is that I want to discover easier and simpler paths for leaders to be hooked on the types of behaviors that lead to their, and their team member’s successes. Eyal talks about wanting to produce products and services that use what know about getting hooked for the betterment of people rather than simply manipulating them.
Consider some of the book’s key take-a-ways:
Behaviors = Motivation + Ability + Trigger
A behavior is created when there is sufficient motivation, an ability to complete the desired action and a trigger to spark the fuse.
It’s much harder to motivate someone to do something than it is to simply make it easier for them to do it. In Chip and Dan Heath’s book, Switch, they researched and wrote about how important it is to make the “path” easier during any change you want to see. Eyal found the same thing to be true. Simply the steps one needs to follow to get to their reward and they are much more likely to get there. It works the opposite way as well. If you want to break a habit, make it WAY more difficult to get to the reward and you will be less likely to chase after it. For example, it’s much easier to collaborate on a project if you have set days and times to meet and everyone is in attendance. The harder it is to communicate with one another the more likely it won’t happen.
In other words, if you want to not eat ice cream, don’t buy it in the first place. If you want to exercise more, make your desk sit on top of your treadmill. Stop trying to motivate yourself and others and simply make it easy for them to do what you want them to do and connect it with one of the 3 types of rewards people seek.
The 3 types of rewards that people seek are:
Rewards of the tribe…people want to feel connected to others.
Rewards of the hunt…people want information or tangible goods and they like to make a small effort to get them. They like to complete tasks.
Rewards of the self…this one is about our desire for learning and mastering new skills.
Social media sites have been genius at getting many of us and I dare say most of a young generation of folks, hooked on their products. The sites appear free of cost, yet that is only true when users are not valuing the time they are investing in those platforms. The emotional reward comes when we go to the site and “hunt” to see what is available to us as far as information. Once we are invested in the sites by having connected and invited our friends to join we become less likely to disconnect from them, even if a better site comes along.
What if we used the principles and practices described in Hooked to get ourselves and our team members hooked on the types of actions that we know lead to lasting results?
What do you want your team to be hooked on?
Sticking to agendas in meetings?
Having higher quality conversations?
Lower levels of drama between team members?
- Start by determining, as a team, one habit you want to create.
- Next, discuss the types of rewards (tribe, hunt, self) team members would achieve if they were to create that habit.
- Determine what reward team members are getting now from their current behaviors. (Trust me, there’s always a reward or they wouldn’t be doing it.)
- Brainstorm what type of external trigger you can create to help cue people to take action on the behavior. If you want meetings to stay on time and on agenda, agree to send agenda’s ahead of time, get agreement to follow it during the session and have a time keeper of the meeting to ensure they stay on track of what has been agreed upon.
- Determine how people will be invested, over time, in the new behavior. Maybe team members receive points each time a meeting starts and ends on time and those points add up to rewards.
Footnote: I hope that each of you have someone in your life, on this Valentine’s Day, that you are hooked on the way I am my amazing, brilliant, and supportive husband, Allen Foster. I am deeply, madly in love with him and appreciate him for what he has done to make the last 17 years joyful.