Success Breeds Success: simple engagement adds up to effective engagement

Let’s say you wanted to persuade a few billion people to be more thoughtful about energy consumption. How would you make that happen?

You might improve systems and operational efficiencies across continents, as CEO Joe Kaeser of the global giant Siemens just announced, in The New York Times: “How does a company cut its carbon footprint in half in just five years? We’re targeting facilities, vehicles, and fuel.”

He’s wise to begin with a variety of steps: “Through these steps, we hope to demonstrate to other companies that cutting your carbon footprint is not only possible, but profitable. With today’s software and technology, it’s easier than ever before to increase efficiency.”

On WeSpire’s interactive platform, users take steps to support ambitious corporate programs, and it’s no surprise that the simplest actions are often the best starters. Social scientists confirm that relatively easy initial accomplishments produce a sense of satisfaction and mastery. Participants develop awareness, begin to enjoy contributing, and are motivated to share their success with others.

Easy action leads to increased action

The top actions trending across the WeSpire platform right now fit this criteria. Have a look: they’re all impactful things you (and just about anyone you know) can do—if not today, then soon—and without spending a penny. When that happens, you’ll likely influence others to do the same.

  1. Save your leftovers from one meal
  2. Turn off the lights
  3. Take a break and walk outside
  4. Review your energy bill
  5. Turn off the faucet while brushing teeth
  6. Recycle something at work today
  7. Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  8. Find a healthy recipe, and share it
  9. Close the shades to save energy one day
  10. Wait to run dishwasher until it’s full
  11. Wash a load of laundry in cold water
  12. Take 5 minutes to stretch
  13. Exercise before or after work today
  14. Eat a healthy breakfast
  15. Unplug your cellphone charger once fully charged
©, 2015

Social encouragement along with accessibility can improve outcomes.

Sociologist Arnout van de Rijt explains the power of “small, random initial advantages that can spiral into huge ones” via recent experiments. His team visited four well-known websites (Kickstarter and Wikipedia among them), where they “distributed small bursts of success.”

These small initial bursts proved to have an outsized effect: they started a chain reaction. For Dr. van de Rijt, original small acts are prerequisite for creating the immense momentum needed to successfully address immense challenges.

“In the scientific theories I work with, we see that most people have a threshold of zero, meaning they are immediately willing to do little things. If other people are on board, they’re willing to do even more. Then, things get interesting! The slight, early activity can ignite a chain reaction and create an entire positive revolution.

“When you engage the first movers, they pull in others who may need a stronger push. Interest continues to build. People think, ‘I can do it now.’ Their participation leads to even more involvement, and to more, until a momentum kicks in. Eventually, even the most conservative people are in motion.”

This maps a smart strategy for solving almost impossible challenges, like reducing CO2 emissions to zero.

As Siemens’ CEO Joe Kaeser puts it, “We have the technologies, we have the business incentive, and we have the responsibility. Now all we need is the commitment.”

Active WeSpire users make a difference: not only do they consume energy more thoughtfully, they waste less, get healthy, save money, pitch in, enjoy work more, and straight-up take charge of their lives. That’s a four-way win: for people, for the planet, for the organization itself, and for others who are inspired by the activity.

Thanks to the breakthrough from social scientists and the inspiring business leaders who are intent on “prudent, profitable” actions—all of whom realize the importance of human commitment for success.