Many people typically only do things when there is an incentive to do it and when it is easy. This fact is something that managers, marketing experts and military leaders have known for some time. The trick is to apply this fact to every day life. This post applies some basic ideas about incentivizing activity and simplifying tasks to the process of data destruction in the real world.
A real world example
When I was in Basic Officer Training, a colleague was given the task by our Drill Sergeant of making sure that the Platoon learnt the symptoms of an attack by chemical weapons or nerve agents. The catch was, he was not given any time or resources to achieve this task. Conversely, he was told in clear terms that he would be held responsible if the Platoon failed a forthcoming test on the subject.
My colleague was a little older than the rest of the Platoon, and thus had already learned the fact that many only wish to complete simplified or incentive tasks. His brilliant solution was to write the rule clearly on a paper notes. He then stuck these notes on the door of the ablutions (the name for toilets in the Military) so that we could all read it at least once a day! Underneath the rule he had written: if we don’t all know these 5 points by Friday we are probably
not going on furlough (weekend leave) and the results will be published.
This solution was great for a number of reasons: it was easy to learn the rule and you did not have to change your behavior one bit to do so. It was effectively incentivized. His little untruth about our weekend was more than enough motivation for any young officer cadet desperate to escape. And lastly, he had made us all responsible for the results by saying the results would be published.
The method behind this little example can be very easily applied to a whole host of everyday problems. We at Whitaker Brothers are interested in ensuring that data and documents are correctly disposed of. With all of our high tech and simple to use equipment it is however of no benefit unless they are easy to access and their use is incentivized. We’re not suggesting you lie to you employees and tell them they can’t go home on Friday, like our friend in the story, but you should look for a sensible way to incentivize the use in your workplace. Similarly, you should ensure that protecting the company from paper data loss - shredding
- is seen as a team effort. Perhaps the easiest quick win is simply putting the office shredder somewhere people actually go. The coffee making facilities, for example, may be appropriate. Another great place is on the routes out of an office, where people leave at lunch time and at end of the day, hopefully with all their shredding to dispose of en route. You will find lots more useful information here
to assist you in protecting and appropriately disposing of your data.