The Simple Reason People Won’t do as You Ask


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People won’t follow commands.

They won’t follow directives; they hate being told to what to do.

This is a problem, particularly if you want that all elusive “cultural change”.

Some cultural changes are harder than others

Imagine the challenges facing Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the man who transformed the Ottoman Empire into the modern, secular Turkey in the early 20th Century.

Rightly or wrongly, one of his many tasks was to persuade women not to wear the burka or veil. He realised that if he simply banned it, he would only create uproar and dissent (as the French authorities have found).

His solution was far subtler than that. He passed a law that permitted women to dress however they wished, unless they were prostitutes, who were compelled to wear the burka.

A simple lesson

If you are trying to change behaviour, it is wise to appeal to people’s self interest.

What is in it for me?

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Girl in Burqa

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Image by exit1979

Republished with author's permission from original post.

James Lawther
James Lawther is a middle-aged middle manager. To reach this highly elevated position he has worked for many organisations, from supermarkets to tax collectors and has had multiple roles from running a night shift to doing operational research. He gets upset by operations that don't work and mildly apoplectic about poor customer service.


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