Behavioral change starts with effective communication

    Society is increasingly looking at why companies and citizens are going to make different choices. Insight into this is crucial for the frontrunners, or leaders who focus on sustainable production and sustainable business. Without an answer, the search remains for the way in which people can be reached to actually change their behavior.

    Much has been said and written about, for example, nudging: changing behavior with “nudges”, ie letting someone go in the desired direction. None of this is going fast, as is evident from the way people go on holiday (by plane) or the fact that meat consumption is still increasing in various parts of the world. The Life Languages ​​model offers interesting starting points for the way in which human behavior comes about and what possibilities leaders have to influence that behavior. In today’s times and in the context of sustainability, this model is more effective than ever. A sketch.

    It starts with empathizing
    How are people really reached? To answer this question, it is important to understand some of the basics of communication. The Life Languages ​​communication system makes it clear how people can be reached. The model provides a vision of communication and offers good starting points for the way in which people deal with information from outside.

    When other people need to be reached and the message conveyed, two questions are most relevant, namely: what do you expect from me? And: how do you want that? This means that empathizing with what the other wants precedes how someone can be provided for it. Life Languages ​​International has mapped out how this works best.

    Determine needs
    From the Life Languages ​​™ vision, people filter the information that comes to them. Those filters then determine their words and actions. The Life Languages ​​™ model distinguishes seven filters in the form of unconsciously asked questions that must be answered. Behind these questions lie unspoken needs that people want to be met. These filter questions and needs determine the way in which people communicate and respond to their environment. These filters and needs are structured in three groups, namely rational, emotive and action languages ​​and seven life languages, the so-called Life Languages ​.

    Not answering a filter question and not meeting the associated need creates stress. And of course people prefer to avoid that stress. Ignoring those filter questions, or needs, is almost a guarantee that people will not be reached.

    Involvement in the personal situation
    For example, when a manager does not provide someone with the filter question of whether someone is really committed, a manager cannot expect people to actually care about him or her, including his or her concerns and goals as a leader. So a leader gets what he or she gives. If he or she gives too little, he or she cannot expect people to do exactly what they say. People will then draw their own conclusions and then say nothing about it.

    If a sustainable entrepreneur comes up with an ecologically responsible solution, which is not affordable for many people, or for which they have to put in too much effort, then he or she shows no commitment to the personal situation.

    Weighing up against the plan
    It is no different for companies, although there are often other dominant filters at work. The most dominant filtering question from enterprise leaders is: what is the plan? And: does what someone says fit into my plan? The entrepreneur therefore primarily makes considerations related to the interests of his or her own company.

    An example is producing recycled plastic. The sale of this is currently difficult due to the low price of the oil. Another factor is the confidence that potential buyers should have in the recycled product. Because they naturally want to keep the quality of their own product up to standard.

    In short, a sustainable solution that does not fit in the company’s plan will not find its way to that company. This will of course change when a government sees the usefulness and necessity of a sustainable solution. For example, the government can take incentive measures.