The importance of being owners
When we choose for ourselves we are far more committed to the outcome – almost by a factor of five to one!. Tapping into this unique element of human nature is critical to driving change in organisations today.
In a famous behavioural experiment, half the participants are randomly assigned a lottery ticket number while the others are asked to write down any number they would like on a blank ticket. Just before drawing the winning number, the researchers offer to buy back the tickets from their holders.
The result: no matter what geography or demographic environment the experiment has taken place in, researchers have always found that they have to pay at least five times more to those who came up with their own number (Ref. The McKinsey Quarterly 2009 Number 2)
This reveals something very unique about human nature. When we choose for ourselves we are far more committed to the outcome – almost by a factor of five to one!.
This offers a great opportunity for change leaders as well as one of the biggest challenges. Conventional change management and strategic communication approaches often focus on the need for a clear and compelling Story – get the message out there and people will understand and act as you wish them to. A clear and compelling Story IS fundamental to driving change, but as an isolated 'push' communication, it does not allow for people to discover and own anything and can steal the energy needed to really drive the change that comes through a true sense of ownership. The big opportunity therefore is to engage people in co-creating the answer. People are always more willing to adjust their actions and behaviours when there is a sense of belonging, identity and personal connection to what a business is trying to achieve.