How to get people to follow the rules...

At my job there is a laptop-free zone. It is the only room in the entire building that should be laptop free. As you might have guessed, it is not. I have a choice to make, as have all my colleagues. I either accept that people are using laptops in the reading room – as is the current situation – or I can insist on changing the situation. Let’s assume I am asked to find a solution so that the rules will be respected again. What measures would I suggest to change the visitors’ behavior? Two possible directions My colleagues and I could inform our visitors. This basically means we would have to check the behavior of visitors non-stop and correct them when needed. After some time more laptop-users will be seated outside the reading room, taking away social proof that it is allowed to use laptops inside the room. This is not really a solution since it would make us all feel like inspectors. Besides, nobody is informing the visitors now so why would my colleagues agree to do this in the future? We could change the setting to make people aware thatlaptops are to be used elsewhere. If it would be really clear that laptop-users are welcome everywhere in the building except the reading room, they would probably choose to sit in areas where laptops are allowed. This seems like a better direction to follow. How can we get people to live by the library rules? When developing a plan to change the behavior of people, there are certain things we need to keep in mind in order to come up with a good solution. The human brain is not very good in picking up the word...

I won’t do it – resistance...

There are always reasons to change, and there are reasons not to change. Often they co-occur. Hence we can be overloaded with evidence of the positive effect of a change and still not want to change or feel like changing. Reactance, skepticism and inertia help us explain why that is. These three together can explain our choice for staying the same through very different principle: it might be that the wrong person is asking us to change; or we are still skeptic if the change is actually for the better; or we might not have the energy to change even though we are convinced of the benefits. If you want to change, but can’t get yourself to it, it might be wise to look at possible resistance. If you want to convince someone else, try to avoid the resistance described below. The brain Research has shown that we have a behavioral activation system (BAS) and a behavioral inhibition system (BIS). Both systems know a different activity in the brain. This is linked to two orientations, a promotive and preventive orientation. The promotive orientation has its focus on rewards and benefits. It makes us look for opportunities to maximize the positive effect of change. The preventive orientation is more sensitive to potential dangers. It has a focus on avoiding danger. Depending on the orientation and the outcome of our actions we experience different emotions. Not getting what we want will lead to melancholia and sadness, dealing with costs will make us angry. Avoid angry brains By taking away resistance, we take away the potential harm that can be done by change. Through this kind of convincing people can only be disappointed in the potential of the benefits, but they will...