How to Get People to Change (for the Greener): Part 3


In February 2010, SSC President, Jennifer Woofter, commented on points made by Chip Heath and Dan Heath (of Made to Stick fame) in an article featured in Inc., .How to Get People to Change  In the article, the authors discussed their new book on change management and Jennifer thought that it was a fascinating look at what it takes for people to shift their thinking and their actions.

Our analytical capacity is wonderful, but we face too many choices. If you give customers in a grocery store an assortment of 24 jams to sample, they're actually less likely to buy any of the jams than if there are only six jams. Very often we paralyze our analytical side by offering it too much to analyze. The same thing happens if you give your employees too many things to think about -- like having a "mindset of customer service." As an employee, there are 45 things I could do that might improve customer service, and I don't have time to do all of those things, so I end up doing none of them.

This is SO important for companies with a green program.  You can’t just encourage employees to “go green” or “reduce your carbon footprint.” Get specific!  Part of creating a smart sustainability strategy is creating a set of guiding principles that allows you (and everyone else in your organization) to set priorities.  Give people a few key options to choose from—rather than leave them in limbo with a hundred thousand potential actions.  Not only will it encourage employees to change their behavior, but it also enables you to get the biggest return from a green initiative.

This summer, we're giving sharing the best articles from the SSC website, going back eight years. The article above was originally posted on March 4, 2010. We'll be back in September with all new content. In the meantime, if you're interested in learning more about SSC, or working with an SSC consultant, please contact us!