Science of Behaviour for the World of HR and IC by Tom Griffin

by BOC - Global Events Group / Monday, 30 November 2015 / Published in Article, BOC, HR Summit, Internal Communications, Interview

Behavioural Strategist Tom Griffin brings the science of behaviour insight to BOC in a regular series of posts on this exciting innovation for the world of HR & IC

The Art and Science of Business Communication

Great communication is not what’s said; it’s what is heard and believed. More than that, it’s defined by what people actually do as a result. At its best great communication helps us make better choices about what we believe and how we behave.

In March the BOC IC Conference will gather together some of the leading thinkers in corporate communication, with some of it’s leading practitioners. The key themes revolve around trust, change, engagement and the insights we get from the measuring of success. By bringing the empirical science of human behaviour into the mix, all who attend will get a rare chance to glimpse a future based on observed fact and quantified insight. It will be an experience that takes us all on a journey which promises to travel far beyond the realms of traditional employee engagement.

So, in order to know what promises Behavioural Insight holds for the future of IC, lets look back a little and see where the direction of travel is leading.

Over the last decade or so the science of human behaviour has been enabling enlightened organisations to focus the development of their people and their organisation with great clarity and purpose. This has proven to be so effective that in 2010 the UK government bought Behavioral Insights into the heart of how it makes and communicates policy with No.10’s Behavioral Insights Team (the Nudge Unit as it became known). These insights are now entering the world of business communication and are set to transform not just how it is done, but more importantly the effect that it has. So what do Behavioural Insights look like in action and how can we use them to make a difference?

‘Stories From the Lab of Life’

This series of blogs, called ‘Stories From the Lab of Life’, will become a compendium of truths and insights into how we human beings actually work, building into a resource library of behavioural triggers that can be used to focus business communication firmly on the behavioural outcomes it is intended to produce. Every week this blog will share fascinating case studies of empirical behavioural experiments that have measured and proven the effect that certain behavioral triggers have on people’s beliefs and behaviours. It will be the art and the science of great communication coming together in bite sized behavioural insights.

This first ‘Story From the Lab of Life’ shows just how impactful behavioral insights and triggers can be. Simply by presenting information in a different way you not only change people’s opinion of something and therefor their subsequent choices and behaviours, you can also fundamentally change the way they perceive the world around them and their beliefs about how it works… with out recourse to hypnosis! It’s a story that reveals how the behavioral insights of Pattern Recognition and Cognitive Bias mean that the choices we think we are making at any given moment are in fact made subconscious before we are even consciously aware of their having been made. The way we make choices is in fact based on decisions, choices and patterns that we actually assimilated perhaps years before.

The story is called ‘Squaring the diamond’ and as a bit of a bonus, it starts with another brief and entertaining behavioural insight involving Fredrick the Great of Prussia and the humble potato!

Behaviour Insights have already begun to influence the way organisations develop people and structure their businesses, it informs government policies and how they are communicated, and it is now entering the world of Internal communication. The future has never look so exciting, creative and abundant with new opportunities and possibilities… enjoy!


About the Author: Tom Griffin – Behavioural Strategist and Storyteller

In an eclectic career Tom has been a classical actor, an opera singer, and an entrepreneur developing, running and then selling his own brand experience marketing agency. He is as much at home on the stages of London’s West End and he is in the boardrooms or conference rooms of some of the worlds most respected brands and businesses.

Tom has been entertaining, educating and coaching for over three decades. He is passionate about people and helping them unlock their true potential. He is a leading thinker in the field of applied behavioural strategy, personal development and organisational change. He is also a sought-after coach and trainer, having worked with brands such as British Airways, O2, Microsoft, Google, Green Flag and Peugeot as well as individuals in politics, the arts, entertainment, finance and the media.

He is equally at ease whether working with CEOs or with frontline staff, and whether coaching one on one, training groups or presenting at conferences and seminars. Tom’s mix of creative development and hands-on delivery has seen him inspire and motivate staff and customers, reinvigorate brands, launch products, change cultures, refine communications and create leaders throughout whole organisations.

Over 17 years as creative director of his own agency Sledge, he was responsible for winning 10’s of millions of pounds worth of business and building an agency of significant worth and reputation. After selling Sledge in 2007 Tom spent five years studying behavioural science in all its many forms and is a Master Practitioner in wide range of behavioural disciplines including NLP, Coaching, and Applied Neuroscience.

Read up on Life Lab Stories blogpost by Tom Griffin