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The War on Interruptions

One of the most consistent findings in psychology is that people behave differently when their environment changes.  When we are at a place where people are quiet, say a church or a library, we’re quiet;  when we are at a sporting event where it’s loud, we’re loud.

Why then, when we try to make changes at work do we, almost always, focus on people changing rather than on changing the environment.  Often, changing the environment is the easiest way to effect meaningful behavioral change.

In today’s reading, an excerpt from Chip and Dan Heath’s book Switch <> we have three examples illustrating how changing the environment can materially decrease interruptions and improve performance – in a hospital, in an airplane cockpit, and in an IT group.

Take ten minutes to read this two page excerpt and then think about how you might tweak your environment in a way that encourages the right behaviors to emerge.  

Give it some thought and you’ll have a new tool for your toolkit.  .  .  .   jim