Whilst walking the dog recently I came across a new sign in the cemetery – now it may not sound like the best place to walk the pooch but there is a rather lovely “outer” walkway which is very popular for dog walkers and families, a must for town centres! The sign is an official council notice, but rather than signs of times past which might state; “Dogs must be kept on leads at all times” and “£xxx fine for dog fouling” etc this sign says so much more. On reading it initially I thought, wow that can’t be official but I also completely agree with it. From factual to explaining why we should comply actually struck a chord with me – perhaps a new way of reasoning with those who consistently break the rules.
I am one of few responsible dog owners that always cleans up after my dog and always has him under control. I do “tut” a lot at owners who let their dogs run a mock over graves and do swear under my breath when I step into faeces (who doesn’t right!).
I can see this approach to tapping into people’s consciences to deter bad behaviour could really work. Similar to project communications – we are often told not to do this or must do that but how often is there an explanation for the reasons behind the “rules” in place?
I have worked with a fair few colleagues and stakeholders who didn’t want to rock the boat by pushing back on decision makers and asking why!?
As much as we encourage questions and expect them – it doesn’t usually happen that way, so why not take a different approach to working and talk about reasons / affects as much as you would benefits!