Behaviours and airtime

An excerpt from the book Homo Imitans by Leandro Herrero:

What gets reinforced (rewarded, recognized, gratified), increases in frequency. What is not, fades. This is your PhD in psychology in a sentence. At a social level, the most simple reinforcement mechanism of behaviours is airtime. And that means having the behaviours present and visible, and spending time talking about them or doing something about them.

The best example of the importance of airtime that I have seen in one of our Viral Change™ programmes was in a sales force transformation within a large pharmaceutical company.

Before Viral Change™, sales reviews between the district manager and sales managers were done quickly, one-on-one, sometimes on the phone (virtual teams), sometimes over a quick coffee in a service station on the highway and always with spreadsheets and numbers. Only occasionally, and then often only at the end of the session, the district manager would enter into more qualitative insights. They simply had ‘no time’ to do
that on a routine basis. Their formal district meetings were a mirror of this. First thing on the agenda was always something that looked like a spreadsheet, felt like a spreadsheet and actually was a spreadsheet with ‘the data’, i.e. the sales numbers. One after another the salesmen would parade around explaining the ups and downs of the bars and pie charts.

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