I’m Martin Delaney, and I’m Partner, and VP, Planning with Extreme Group (Halifax & Toronto). All up, I’ve worked over 20 years on both the client and agency-side.
So what’s this blog about. It’s about behaviour change.
Because helping people stop doing something, resist something or do more or less of something is inspiring and challenging. Behaviour change is hard.
It’s an exciting time because we’re starting to bust the myth of humans as rational beings. Sir Francis Bacon told us that “knowledge is power”. But when it comes to behaviour change, information alone is rarely enough. A range of inspired thinkers have started to demonstrate that our decisions are the result of powerful influences, including our environment and the people around us. Recent thinking on the power of the herd, nudging and behavioural economics is helping to drive a much needed renaissance in behaviour change efforts. It goes much deeper than older models focused on awareness and attitudes of the individual.
But changing deeply ingrained habits is hard. The path to change is littered with ineffective efforts by companies and organizations to shift behaviour – often the result of research, both poorly applied and poorly interpreted. And because we’re often talking about life-changing and life-savings issues in our communities, it’s a terrible waste. For a start, because our behaviour often happens at the sub-conscious level, research needs to go deeper than simply asking people why they do things. To make sense of it all, we often rationalize our behaviour, so the reasons why we say we do things simply don’t fully explain why we do things. Most of us eat too much, exercise too little, or drink more then we should, despite knowing the benefits to making a change.
So we know there’s a better way. We can do better.