Oh, Behave! The art of nudging your way to a better workplace

Imagine a truly agile workplace. What operating norms, habits, or behaviours permeate the workplace? What do people say and do that is different? We hear terms like collaboration and self-organization, but do your colleagues truly understand what that looks like in action? Do they know how to change their stance and behavior to make these skills a part of how they work?

What if we could enumerate the behaviours we want to see - the organizational habits? And then, what if we could use nudges to make these behaviours come alive in the workplace? And further, what if you could arm every employee with the tools to apply nudges themselves, as part of a new meta-skill that reinforces continuous improvement and evolution of your organizational norms?

In this workshop, we will walk you through the tools and techniques you can use to start shaping your organization of the future. Whether you are a seasoned executive, or a team member, the tools and techniques are universal and can be applied at all levels.


Outline/Structure of the Workshop

Introduction (5 mins)

Overview of the session and summary of learning outcomes.

Exercise #1: Behavioral Barriers (10 mins)

At table teams, discuss and identify a behavioral barrier to better organizational performance (e.g. my manager insists on approving everything which prevents my team and me from making decisions and creates bottlenecks because we have to wait for approval to commit to and deliver work). It could also be a personal behavior (e.g. I have a tendency to prevent my employees from making decisions for fear of them making mistakes which would reflect badly on me and my team. because I want to get involved in every step of the work.)

Description of nudge theory with real-world examples (15 mins)

Driven by many of the concepts made popular by Daniel Kahneman, psychologist, behavioral economist, and author of Thinking Fast and Slow, nudge theory asserts that human beings are predisposed to irrational behavior. A nudge makes it more likely that someone will make an unconscious choice that will favour a desired outcome. Organizations can use nudge theory to create environments that drive certain desired outcomes. Consider organ donation. Germany and Austria are very similar countries. Germany has an opt-in system and a 12% donor rate (the percent of people registered to donate), while Austria has an opt-out system and a 99% donor rate. The only difference is that in Austria, citizens must select a box to opt out of donorship - versus Germany, where the question is worded automatically to opt-out and requires action from the citizen to opt in.

Another example: A product owner feels the need to get approval for every product decision from her VP. Her VP questions every proposed change making the process of change distrustful and stressful. In this case, there are two sets of behaviours to address. Those of each participant in the process.

Other examples which will be explored relate to biases that we all have and bring with us including:

  1. Anchoring: The perspective of how questions are asked will yield different outcomes and responses depending on the order in which they are asked asked.
  2. Availability: Recency of events or circumstances impact one's decision making and behaviors versus logical thinking, data-driven rationale and probabilities
  3. Representativeness: The concepts of streaks shape perspectives even when rational probability of continued, consistent outcomes is not there.

Exercise #2: Design Your Nudge (10 mins x2 iterations - total 20 mins)

Review the nudge handout. Using the behavior in the first exercise, design a set of nudges that could be tested to re-shape your identified behavior. Then we will debrief and discuss the outcomes.

Description of coaching and improvement katas (15 mins)

While designing a nudge can be a good start, change agents and leaders need to establish a routine that makes nudges happen everyday. The Toyota Katas (which have been used successfully for decades) are an ideal wrapper and process mechanism by which organizations establish a cadence or rhythm for nudging, and ultimately, for continuous improvement. Katas, as Mike Rother calls it, helps organizations develop a meta-skill, which can be applied to any improvement or change activity. We will provide an overview of how katas work, and provide some examples of application in the realm of behavioural change.

Exercise #3: Apply Your Nudge Using Katas (10 mins)

At your tables, define the challenge goal (the ideal behaviors), clarify the current condition, (the dysfunctional behavior you want to change, the expected outcome, and the experimental nudges you will test to reach your goal. We will debrief the exercise and share findings with the broader group of attendees.

Q&A and Summary: (10 mins)

While we will take questions throughout the session, we want to reserve time to take questions and feedback. We will recap the workshop content and provide each individual in attendance to write down their own call to action.

Learning Outcome

Learning objectives:

  1. Gain a practical understanding of nudge theory, in particular, the three primary triggers for behavioral change. You'll learn about "choice architecture" -- the way in which marketers and other who influence your behavior. This will form the structure by which you design change experiments.

  2. You'll also learn how to structure experiments into repeatable nudges using coaching and improvement katas. The katas, once learned, provide you with a meta-skill that you can reuse in different contexts.

  3. Learn how to use coaching katas and improvement katas to test nudges and create a continuous learning cycle -- the difference between what we expect to happen, and what actually happens.

Target Audience

Change agents and leaders who want to improve organizational outcomes and performance.

Prerequisites for Attendees

Participants should have working knowledge of agile methods, techniques and frameworks. in addition, participants should come prepared with an understanding of typical transformation challenges related to people and mindset.

schedule Submitted 5 years ago

  • Sriram Natesan

    Sriram Natesan - How adopting an agile approach helped Finance & Risk group deliver a regulatory initiative

    Sriram Natesan
    Sriram Natesan
    Sr. Manager
    Deloitte Consulting
    schedule 5 years ago
    Sold Out!
    40 Mins
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  • Tanvir Ahmed

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    Experience Report

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  • Rachit Shankar

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    Experience Report

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  • Raj Mudhar

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  • Wesley

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    Experience Report

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    4. A belief in optimizing the whole (system thinking)

    5. Empowerment of people

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