A long long time ago, on a distant planet, there were people who went to real offices. They had human co-workers, and quaint break-out areas. Some of them were so lucky, that they got to hear printer noises and chatter while they were working!! I was one of those people…
The banana principle
I loved the smell of coffee ☕ in the cafeteria and compulsively stood in a queue to get my Soya cappuccino. Heck, I even relished the fresh selection of fruits kept around the floor every blissful morning. One such morning, the unthinkable happened. I was a bit late, and all the bananas 🍌 were gone. Where were the bananas? Did the Minions actually call? No. Turns out this wasn’t an isolated incident. Bananas were always the first to go, and tangerines were the last!
Eventually, I learnt about the banana principle. The banana principle states that since bananas are easy to peel, they are the first ones to go from the basket. Similarly, tangerines take more effort so are usually the last ones to go…
Friction & change
This is an important lesson in fostering, and sustaining change. Anything with friction is hard to foster and even harder to sustain. For instance, if you want people to ask more questions when you conduct meetings, remove as much friction as possible. Some people are afraid to speak. Provide an option to ask questions via text / web. Others may feel under pressure to frame questions on the fly. Provide plenty of time ahead of a meeting to submit questions. For those feeling afraid of consequences, provide anonymity. The banana principle works!
What about tangerines? Well, sometimes you need to deter behaviours. Screen time for instance, is a major concern for parents. In our house, we use the tangerine principle with our 4 year old. We keep our iPad out of sight but accessible in a drawer. Moreover, we purposely keep it discharged. As a result, if Anik wants to use the iPad, first he has to open the drawer (first friction) and then he has to charge it (second friction). Result? he hardly ever uses it. Other toys are frictionless and take precedence.
To conclude, create or remove friction to make it easier to foster and sustain change!
What do you prefer, bananas or tangerines?