On the way to work and home from work I see the same thing every day.
When it comes to the empty on-ramp stoplight, people do 1 of 3 things:
1. They slow down and wait for the green.
2. They plow through whatever light is showing.
3. They follow the direction of the car in front of them.
This is speculation, but I think the majority of people fall into the third category. They’ll slow down if the car in front of them slows down at the other light. They’ll blow through the light if they see the car before them do so. They take that act as a sign of permission.
We think getting people to do something requires laying down the rules, making them simple and easy to follow.
It takes more than that.
We’re much more affected by our peers and our leaders than just the rules. If you want change, lead by example.
We’re much more likely to follow what we assume the herd does than just the rules.
It’s why we download music in masses.
Why we riot out of character after sporting events.
Behavior breeds copycats.
If you want to set a habit or policy through your company or friends, give people something to copy.