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  • Writer's pictureRob Buckingham

The positive unintended consequence of nudging.

Previously I talked about my pains of taking a lot of assessments with little connectivity to my future leadership (click to read). This experience dovetails nicely with why experiential learning is essential for a leadership journey (click to read). I also shared why measurement as the Achilles heel of soft skills. Today I want to talk about the power of nudges...when done right.

To date, we’ve delivered thousands of nudges to managers, with each prompt helping them develop their soft skills, But before we get too far, let’s go back to basics.

A nudge, with help from Wikipedia, is a term that alters people's behavior predictably without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentives. The intervention must be easy and cheap to avoid counting as a mere nudge. Nudges are not mandates.

The qChange concept was to deliver a soft skill event-based nudge using existing collaboration platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Slack, or Google Chat. We wanted to deliver this development reminder in the flow of work. And as the definition states, nudges are not mandates, but to be impactful, they need to be relevant, so we tethered the nudge to a meeting where you could perform an action that demonstrates that skill.

We all have meetings, so there was a lot of opportunity to nudge but also a lot of opportunity to get it wrong. Fortunately, our AI delivers nudges that users tell us are relevant over 95% of the time, well above industry standards. But through all this nudging, we found something unexpected. With qChange, you don’t have to receive a nudge to get nudged. What????

qChange learning: We nudge managers with relevant nudges up to 10 times weekly. The average is approximately 4 times a week or about once per day. As we’ve talked to qChange users, a surprising psychological change happens to them. Users state that the nudges help them create a habit of thinking about their soft skill development objectives as they go into a meeting, even when they didn’t receive a nudge.

We found a hidden benefit that extends well beyond the nudge itself. Nudging without nudging is just another indication of qChange helping managers focus on developing their self-awareness and leadership skills.

Next up: We’ll close out the qChange Innovation Stories with a summary of learnings.

qChange Innovation Stories shares the learnings of building a next-generation experiential learning company in a sea of entrenched capabilities and status quo thinking.

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