I have recently been enjoying listening to the new Revisionist History podcast by Malcolm Gladwell. This episode is all about why smart people do dumb things. For instance why do basketball players shoot free throws overarm despite overwhelming evidence that throwing underarm is more effective?
The answer is really very simple. People behave based on how those around them behave – we all are subject to peer pressure, and some a lot more so than others. Given that all basketball players shoot free throws overarm, this creates a big disincentive for anybody to use any other method, even if it is more successful. They don’t want to look dumb in front of their peers. This effect is known as threshold models of collective behaviour and described in this seminal paper by Mark Gravenotter.
So this got us thinking about how do you use this peer pressure for good? Specifically to consciously lower your collaboration threshold to make it easier to work with others. So here are a few ways we’ve learned to lower your threshold for collaboration.
Hopefully by consciously following the 8 steps above, collective behaviour start to spread like a benign virus within your organisation or network. As ever we’d welcome your creative and collaborative comments, questions or builds.