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Organizations are places where smart people do dumb things

The "social experiment" that we call work. It could easily be a topic that many business students could graduate on. One of the most fascinating aspects is the structural tendency to ignore insights that we know would make things better for almost everyone. A few examples:


  • We know that spending the whole day in meetings is unproductive.

  • We know that a busy open-plan office is often unproductive.

  • We know that email is unproductive in most cases.

  • And so on.


What makes us cling to these rituals? Even when we are confronted with insights on why we should stop, we collectively keep doing them. It's a bit like the joke about the "idiot" who sees a banana peel lying ahead and shouts: "Oh no, there I go again!"

It's high time we made smarter use of our people! To give that a chance of success, the following question is a good start: "What unproductive ritual can we reduce by about 10% this week?"


  • If you have 8 meetings in a day, can you do 1 less?

  • If you work in an open-plan office for 8 hours a day, can you work in silence, or at a silent place for at least 48 minutes?

  • If you send 100 emails in a day, can you try to reduce that by at least 10 by walking over or calling someone?


Small adjustments can cumulatively have a big effect!


Good luck with your own social experiment.


 

Want to learn more about what we have learned about increasing employee resilience? One of the most highly rated learning modules from our transformation programs is Taking Control of the Employee Experience.

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