Tweaking the environment

One of the more powerful things you can do as a leader is to pick an environment that encourages people to behave in a certain way. This is part of the sort of intention that is required to shape culture. For example, a meeting room with lots of opportunity to write will likely have more brainstorming. A meeting room with a lot of light will likely encourage more divergent thought. Ideally, you’d pick meeting places that are consistent with the culture you want to build.

I was reminded of how powerful tweaks to your environment can be just a few days ago. The monitor I use to type these posts, for example, was supported by 3 books as its height isn’t adjustable. Even so, it was slightly shorter than the right ergonomic height.

So, every once in a while, I would slouch as I was working away on the laptop. A few days back, my wife took a photo of me eating breakfast while slouching and I found myself immediately attempting to correct my posture. But, as the immediate reaction is just one of instinct, I thought about the problem for a bit.

It was soon apparent that the fix was a simple – just add a fourth book.


And, voilà, I slouch so much lesser now. The height of the screen makes me sit up straight – the environment shapes my behavior.

It is always interesting to look at our behavior (and, in some cases, those of others) and ask ourselves – what could we change about the environment to encourage different/better behavior?

6 thoughts on “Tweaking the environment”

  1. Many times we underestimate the power of environment. Another thought provoking post Sir!

  2. Hi Rohan,

    I think you are right about the environment shaping our behavior.
    But, apparently German professional organizations think that the correct sitting position, respectively the right position of the screen is different:

    [Bild: BG BAU, Bausteine A 190, Auflage 07/2012]

    I changed from the recommendation you posted to the other one and find it much convenient (without slouching ;-) )

    kind regards,

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