The great escalator experiment

The great escalator experiment

Exploring why people resist and other issues…


16 September 2016

Exploring why people resist and other issues…

Do the processes of organisational and behaviour change sometimes perplex you? Do you think you have done everything right and still people are reluctant to do what you believe is clearly in their interest?

For this reason the great London escalator experiment at one of London’s busiest stations caught our eye recently.  An experiment in standing still was introduced on the left side of the escalator, traditionally used by people who want to get to where they are going faster by walking up the stairs. Commuters frequently curse those who get it wrong and clog up the stairs. But on the deepest/longest escalators this side of the escalator goes largely unused and ‘bunching’ occurs in the station. By using the escalator fully on both sides more people could move through the whole station during rush hour.

There was advance warning of the experiment and there were plenty of signs, staff using loud hailers and they even created a virtual person giving instructions. It was well-thought through, evidence-based and introduced for a good reason. But on introduction it provoked real opposition – why was there so much collective resistance?

So what was happening on the escalators? We would venture to say that the change introduced was one of culture and identity, the depth of which TFL hadn’t quite taken into account: ‘Standing on the left goes against everything we know as Londoners!’ tweeted someone. The change required a paradigm shift in individual and group behaviour, attitude and feelings – a tall order for a London commuter!

To explore these kinds of issues and develop your consultancy practice and identity, join our Practitioners Certificate in Change and Consultancy programme. We work on complex tasks and real life work dilemmas combining theory with experiential activities, working with the emergent as well as the planned.

We use ourselves as a temporary organisation and as a system and look at relationships between things, across boundaries – if you change one thing, you change everything.  We work with the task and structure and also with system psychodynamics – the unconscious processes – that we can all be caught by.  You learn about your role and that of others in organisations and change processes.

We will look forward to developing our own culture together to explore this and similar questions arising from your own practice and organisational dilemmas.

Applications are now being invited for the next programme beginning in January 2017. For a brochure with full details including outline, fees, venue and module dates or if you have any questions, please contact Rachel Kelly:

e: r.kelly@tavinstitute.org

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