22 Oct Must it always take a crisis to change attitudes?
We have a sort of bi-annual tradition in my household called ‘Budget Sunday’. It’s not supposed to be bi-annular, as we had planned to do it weekly but, well, with three young kids and very busy lives things just tend to slip a bit…
To be honest, most of the time our finances don’t bother us because we’re both convinced that we’ve got a pretty good handle on them. The odd coffee here, a bit of a treat for the kids there and, well, you know how it goes.
So it’s easy to convince yourself you’re on top of things when the situation just feels ‘instinctively’ right, especially when your bank balance doesn’t appear to diminish all that dramatically.
However, the cultural maturity of the Ormond household organisation is a little bit better nowadays. Sudden financial crises have led us to realise that our blissful daily ignorance may not always represent the true reality of the situation. Hence the Ormond Chief Financial Officer (me) instigating a weekly budget meeting which has lapsed to the aforementioned Budget Sunday.
As it happens, one of the reasons why our budget review sessions became less frequent was worry about the bitter recriminations that often follow them. You see, these new mobile banking apps give you an enlightening glimpse into the personal spending habits of each member of the household (not pointing any fingers). These behaviours reveal our individual attitudes, values and beliefs about spending (contrasted vividly with reality).
After a long, tiring week, when these apps show you just how much you’ve spent, this means (if you aren’t very careful) that there’s an increased chance of conflict and a degree of blame being apportioned (again, not pointing any fingers).
Now I’m not saying that debate ever gets overly heated at the boardroom/kitchen table, but it could, if we weren’t mature adults with a sensible degree of understanding and tolerance of each other’s weaknesses.
Whatever the immediate aftermath of Budget Sunday, one thing it always does is lead to is a rapid shift in personal behaviour, and dramatic differences in attitudes towards spending. In fact, the more we’ve run Budget Sunday, the more we’ve recognised our own weaknesses.
Thanks to Budget Sunday, it no longer takes a crisis to influence changes in behaviour. In fact, even though things appear to run well most if the time, the information we review at Budget Sunday continues to act as the best possible catalyst for change. The most positive change is that we act proactively now, rather than only when things go wrong.
So what’s my point? Well, with very strong leadership, changing attitudes in your organisation might appear to be very easy during a crisis, but it’s not always a change in the direction you need. Nor is it always lasting change.
However when there isn’t an impending crisis, it’s much much harder to generate momentum for the changes you really desire. Especially when people think everything is running OK in the day-to-day (however much you suspect it isn’t).
Yet with the right information (data and insight into current attitudes), presented in the right way (with specific stories of what’s really going on) along with time for reflection, you can inspire your own momentum for change. That’s the thinking behind the next generation of socially-driven tools for analysing safety and engagement, like our Engage software.