The power of NUDGE: A disruptive tool for Leaders & Parents

nudge

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.

References

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

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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.

Connect with me on Linkedin, Twitter @drswatilodha Facebook

Also read my best articles here!

Dipa Karmakar and Nadia Comaneci: Parenting & Leadership Lessons

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When I was a child, it was fun to watch Olympic Games on T.V. (1984 – 1996 perhaps). Nadia Comaneci was one of the most loved gymnast whose name and achievements were mentioned during every gymnastic competition despite the fact that she was a champion in 1976 & 1980 Olympics.

She scored an unprecedented 10 in gymnastics at 1976 Olympics game at an age of 14. With a sudden rise of Dipa Karmakar in India, we have become charmed with words like Produnova and gymnastics. Gymnastics has found a special mention in our dinner table conversations and it will perhaps hold some importance for us till Olympics 2016 get over.

  • Nadia achieved success with a lot of effort but ease because her country Romania had a culture for this game and she was fourteen when she nailed the perfect score. There was no pressure on her to perform in 1976 and a girl that age in that time didn’t acknowledge the pressure even if it existed. She agreed in a recent interview that performing at 1980 Olympics was far more challenging than 1976 as she understood far more then.

Closer home, the situation is different. Gymnastics in its western avatar doesn’t come easy to us like cricket or chess. Dipa has already fought against many odds to achieve this feat with extreme focus and discipline.

We cannot forget that she is twenty two with a newly found fame at a critical professional juncture.

Let us leave her alone as parents, leaders and as a nation. Let us support her by letting her be. Let us not ply on and burden her with our wishes guised in expectations.

As parents, we are guilty of wishing the best for our children while giving them the message of “being the best among the lot.”

As leaders, we are guilty of appreciating and acknowledging the final ten on ten or a successful Produnova act while conveniently discarding the long journey of focussed effort which could have gone awry. Our success obsessed leadership styles with very limited editions of success definitions, cause a lot of stress and unwanted expectations. This futile stress clutters our minds and life.

  • A twenty two year old engineering student from Mumbai had suddenly disappeared from her home just before her exams. Though she had supportive parents, a good academic record and a placement, she still felt a disenchantment and disappointment with her achievements. Fortunately, Mumbai Police and the family found her in Kochi and brought her back safe.

The normal chatter among friends about dream jobs and dream lifestyles made her feel inadequate and left behind.

Let’s get to the root of this pressure which secretly builds up during all our conversations with children, students, friends and colleagues. We emphasize on “great package equals great life”. We appreciate all those who top classes and competitions when our experience tell us that toppers do not essentially top in life (as if even that is necessary). Let me put it more blatantly – How many of us were toppers in schools/college/theatre/sports or any other interest.

We, as parents and leaders need to be more objective and disambiguate our childhood and success memories. To motivate our children and teams, we mention our hard work, our achievements as if we are a by-product of success (magnified by our biased memory remnants).

Let us share the truth – filled with mistakes, laced with disappointments, sprinkled with accomplishments – with our children and our followers.

Dipa Karmakar, there is a tougher task ahead for your parents and mentor-coach. I am proud of you for your sheer grit and discipline focus. The only difference your successful Produnova makes to me is that I suddenly know you. Honestly does that matter to you? I know, it doesn’t and it should not.

Moon Parenting is all about Balance

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We love extremes.Extreme thoughts and extreme behavior are sensational.That is why, Tiger Parenting is widely discussed and Serenity Parenting also proclaims its increasing relevance.
Tiger Parenting is all about persistent effort on the part of parent to derive excellence (read Perfection) out of the child while Serenity Parenting is all about serenity on the part of the parent as they can’t influence their children in the long run.Parents who believe in Serenity Parenting accept that the lives of their children are shaped by their genes and not by involvement of their parents.

I believe that we need more balance in our lives than to get enamored by these extremes.

Moon Parenting is all about balance.The Moon stays up in the sky because it is in a stable orbit around the earth.The Moon is pulled towards the Earth by Earth’s gravity, but because it is so far away and is moving so fast around the Earth, it will never fall down.If the Moon were moving any slower,gravity would pull it down since the Moon is traveling at the right speed and right distance, it survives beautifully.
Moon Parenting strikes a balance between the internal temperament of the child and the external parenting style,giving equal importance to both.
Moon means Patience,Discipline and Balance.
Patient parents, disciplined parents and balanced parents are Moon Parents…

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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.

Connect with me on Linkedin, Twitter @drswatilodha Facebook

Also read my best articles here!