Trigger Those Conversations Waiting to Happen

There is an article in the October issue of Fast Company called Time to Get Trigger Happy, Creating an environment for your idea which will make it more successful. It’s written by brothers Dan and Chip Heath, authors of the best selling book Made To Stick.

Triggers are the modern day equivalent of what we used to simply call reminders; for many of us, tying a string around our finger or snapping a rubber band around our wrists are time-tested triggers.

The article that the brothers Heath have penned for Fast Company asks, “What if people planned their ideas, from the start, to take advantage of triggers in the environment?” promoting it as a smart marketing strategy. They explain how the ingenious “Got Milk?” campaign coached us to crave milk when eating an Oreo or spooning out peanut butter. Most of their other examples illustrate how beverage marketers have created idea triggers better than anyone, and in ending, they challenge us to try planting some triggers of our own.

What’s the Talking Story connection?

The Heath brothers got me thinking: How would you use triggers to initiate different conversations in your workplace?

Time and time again, if I ask an employee who wants me to commiserate with them, “have you tried talking to your boss about this?” the answer that comes back to me will be, “there never seems to be a good time.” There are two implications here:

a) The employee doesn’t recognize the signs of when it IS a good time; if there are indeed these conversation triggers which exist, they don’t know about them.

b) The boss doesn’t do a good job in making these conversation triggers common knowledge, or his/her actions are so inconsistent the triggers are less than reliable.

One of my suggestions for you is the Daily 5 Minutes ®. The trigger is the simple question, “Can we take 5 right now?” which when the D5M is known, and universally practiced in the organizational culture, is just like saying, “Ready, set, go! If this is a good time for you, it’s a great time for me. I want to give you the gift of my attention.”

But that’s just the beginning; it’s about piloting all kinds of triggers, and then campaigning them until they are part of the workplace ”“ because they work, and work well.

However it’s also about singularity and consistency: One trigger can’t stand for a bunch of different things, for if it does, the trigger signals only one thing — confusion. Like the ‘weekly staff meeting’ with an agenda that is always so hit and miss that people start arriving with their entire inbox tucked under their arm ‘just in case.’

Makes you think about triggering in a whole new light, doesn’t it.

Read the Fast Company article online here: Time to Get Trigger Happy

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