Playground rules.
Everything you need to know about change.

Written by: Tim McCleary, Chief Experience Officer


Let’s rewind to your childhood for a moment. Do you remember the playground rules? Things like patiently standing in line, taking turns and playing nicely?

I was reminded of these recently when I was waiting to be seated at a very popular breakfast eatery.

Let me reframe that a bit.

We weren’t just waiting for the next open table. The line, consisting of dozens of hungry morning people, spilled into the parking lot. With each arriving guest, the wait time ticked up. At final count, it stood at 90 minutes.

Mix long wait times with a hoard of hungry people and what do you get?

A community, actually.

And it was helped by the humorous sign that explained how their system worked, relating back to our early days of life on the playground. At their core, these “playground rules” were simply a list of positive habits.

Habits are a human being’s super power (read more in our previous post). They allow us to function effectively each day by harnessing the engine that is our subconscious.

Behavioral economics, psychology and neuroscience have shaped our understanding of human behavior and the habitual nature of our existence.

That understanding can be highly beneficial when we apply it to creating environments of positive change.

James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits, contains four steps we can use when we want to encourage a new, positive habit in our place of work:

  1. Make it obvious – Every habit is initiated by a cue. Making the cues of good habits obvious can support their formation.
  2. Make it attractive – We adopt habits that are praised and approved by our culture due to our strong desire to belong to the “tribe.”
  3. Make it easy – When we start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to complete.
  4. Make it satisfying – We are more likely to repeat a behavior when the result feels good as pleasure teaches our brain to remember and repeat.

But, you knew this already. You learned it when your kindergarten teacher made you wait your turn for the swings.

Thanks for being involved today.

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