“My goal is to make you into new masters of persuasion,” said keynote speaker BJ Fogg in the opening line of his presentation at the 5th World Medical Tourism & Global Healthcare Congress. As founder and director of the Behavior Design Lab at Stanford University, he has proven his method of success, during his presentation he illustrated the way individuals can create habits in a new way in order to increase productivity.
The question was how do you design computer systems to change people’s way of thinking, beliefs and behaviors? Fogg enlightened the audience on what is the missing link in being able to design systems to change employee behaviors in order to increase productivity; the answer was to understand how behavior works.
“No matter what the industry is, it’s important to practice behavior change and analyze what works.”
Fogg shared a personal story to provide an example of controlling behavior.
“I live in front of the Russian River in North Carolina; nobody ever goes there to swim. I really had the desire to become more connected with nature so I decided to make a promise to myself; my promise was that I would swim naked in the river every night in July.
One night I got home later than normal and it was kind of cold out, so I didn’t really want to go swim that night, but I decided to go anyways. I figured since I was already half way through the month of July I may as well keep my promise since it was just for July.”
The moral of this story was that, if his goal had been to swim every night, then by the time he got to July 14th he would have stopped, but since it was only for the month of July he kept going. This is an example of, how do you set a goal and change your behavior every day.
Before the conference Fogg sent out a survey to attendees, during his presentation he shared the results by making the audience team up to guess what the responses were. The questions were based on what the audience wants in terms of employee behavior.
1st Survey: Each day I wish employees would? Smile and laugh more
2nd Survey: Each month I wish employees would? Try new ways to be physically active
3rd Survey: Just once I wish employees would? Do preventative screening
4th Survey: I wish employees would stop? Making excuses for unhealthy lifestyles
Following the survey results, he shared the “Fogg Behavior Grid” which outlines 15 ways behavior can change. By using the behavior wizard you should be able to see unique persuasion strategies for each behavior type. Below, he gave some examples from his behavior grid:
Green behavior– Do a new behavior. “You may have anxiety, how do I do this, how does this happen? Trying to get someone to go to a foreign country to have a medical procedure when they’ve never been out of the country or they’ve never had this procedure, they have know how issues. The key is to look at other people that have solved for these issues. If in your professional life and you have to ask people to do something that is new, look at ways that have worked before to give them step by step guidance, so they will be reassured.”
Blue behavior– Do a familiar behavior. “Flying on the same airlines, no anxiety no issue on how do I do this. If people have done this before you need to just trigger it and make it easy.”
Purple behavior– Increase duration or intensity of something you already do, span behavior. “For me, I chose eating more leafy greens, and swimming in the river would represent a span behavior. According to my studies most people choose the purple behavior. During the survey, half of the audience raised their hand to this also as I predicted based off of past studies. This behavior makes you feel like “I’m half way there I’m going to complete this, I feel successful.”
The other side of the grid includes the following colors; gray= decrease duration or intensity and black= stop doing a behavior.
In a workplace incentives are often offered as a way to change employee productivity. After through research and proven success, Fogg believes that employees do need some incentives which will motivate the employee at the time, but investing in behavior change may be the better option for long term employee productivity.