Each leader wants performance. Each parent desires excellence. Every leader repetitively clamors in front of his/her team to achieve and exceed targets. Each parent advises and instructs his/her children on anything and everything, every-day.
The methods used to encourage and motivate, to explain and elaborate, to scare and threaten are all loud, concrete and direct, in the workplace and at home.
These loud messages create an impact for a limited duration.
These concrete instructions cause repulsion & defiance.
These direct orders enforce compliance & hinder creativity.
If we replace this loud motivation, concrete communication and direct enforcement with the positive, periodic power of NUDGE, we can enrich ourselves as Leaders and Parents.
What is Nudge?
A nudge is a gentle push. It is a quiet touch to slowly stimulate the receiver. It is subtle encouragement.
Nudge is continuous like a soothing background score unlike a catchy three minute number.
A nudge is sophisticated and strategic, absolutely an anathema (?) to nagging.
Leaders/Parents need to have three qualities to apply the power of Nudge on their teams/children.
PATIENCE: Nudging doesn’t offer ‘quick fix’ or ‘makeshift’ solutions. It offers change at the grass root level for which patience is a prerequisite. Nudge modifies behavior gradually.
One of your subordinates is essentially late in the mornings. A simple sentence by the boss “I will have coffee with you at 9 everyday till we finish this new project” will nudge him to come on time. However, the boss would need a great deal of patience to have a morning coffee with the late comer.
When a parent wants the child to read a specific book, he/she should casually mention the book. Next day, he/she could mention one really interesting but short piece from the book (without conveying to the child that he/she should read the book).
Next day, underline a few lines and leave it on his table as if you were reading it. E-Mail a summary of the book after a few days to a few friends and include your child too.
BALANCE: Nudging is facilitating and enabling people towards making good choices. To promote healthy eating habits, parents can excitedly fill the refrigerator with fresh fruits and vegetables. Not only this, they can say things like, “I will have strawberries for desert” and do it too.
It requires equanimity on the part of leaders when they make their technologies & software’s available openly for all.
GITHUB is one such coding platform available for everyone to post their programs and others can freely add techniques to improve them. Microsoft created a technology called .NET, a proprietary closed source platform for developing software for banks and insurance companies. In 2014, Microsoft made it open source on GITHUB and more people started working on it in next six months for free than those who had worked on it inside the company.
It requires courage to make things freely available but this nudge is globally beneficial.
DISCIPLINE: Any leader or parent, who aspires to ‘nudge’ team members/consumers/children needs to be disciplined.
An overweight parent cannot nudge a child by gifting him exercise gear.
A short tempered leader cannot improve team cohesion by organizing a ‘Humor hour’ every Friday.
Nudging is not about words, it is a “call to action” which is open, free & facilitating.
It can be used continuously and creatively at every level from home to community to business to governments.
Nudge at ‘Home” – My parents have always been early risers. I was forced to wake up early as a child and then, it was career and family that made a morning alarm mandatory.
After turning solopreneur, I started taking it a little too easy and slept to glory on weekends.
I visited my parents recently. My dad woke me up at eight. “We are having our second cup of tea. Here is your first”. He handed me my cup.
It was terribly cold but he had already watered his plants (200 in number) and he was getting ready to go to work. (He still practices as a Doctor at 73).
What a nudge it was.
I can’t even think of sleeping till late now.
Nudge at ‘Community Level’ – Prof. Anil Gupta’s Shodhyatras in rural areas of India, bring about amazing innovations to the fore.
His Honey Bee Network mobilizes social and ethical capital through conferences, competitions and continuous support to lakhs of creative minds.
His festival of Innovation, has succeed in nudging more than 5000 school children to solve problems creatively, leading to major innovations like a new modified walker to be used on stairs, an inclined drinking water pipe. What an amazing ‘social nudge’ it is.
Nudge at “Corporate Level’ – Many companies associate a charity initiative with the purchase of a specific product (Rs. 1 would go to XYZ Foundation on your purchase).
Electricity companies share area- specific energy efficiency data with their consumers. When they are told that people in their area consumed 15% less electricity as compared to residents of other suburbs, they are nudged to use energy efficiently, further reducing the energy consumption in coming months.
A “destiny health plan” has been promoted by insurance companies in some states of USA which helps them win ‘Vitality Bucks” on hitting the gym or working out in a health club. It nudges consumers to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
Nudge at “Government Level’ – UK Government formed a ‘Nudge Unit’ in 2010. US Government used it too. There are many schemes which could nudge people for opting wrong ways.
“NUDGE FOR GOOD” is what we need.
1. “Grassroots Innovation: Minds on The Margin Are Not Marginal Minds” by Anil Kumar Gupta
2. “Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations” by Thomas L. Friedman
3. “Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness” by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein
I am an Author, Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker, Parenting expert based in Mumbai. Having written Bestsellers like Don’t Raise Your Children, Raise Yourself (Amazon Bestseller), Why Women Are What They Are, Come On! Get Set Go
I am running Life Lemonade which offers unique Training Programs on Life Transformation, High Performance Leadership, Women Issues and Parenting.
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