Automatic Response

Note: Last time I was at Greenheck the sign was gone. I'm glad I took the picture when I did. No one would have believed me. The original posted referenced my Treo – hot technology for 2006. You'll be glad to know that now I have an iPhone.

Old Habits Die Hard

Originally Posted Sunday, July 09, 2006

Change is often hard…especially when the change is about
something you've been doing for a long time. If you don't have anything nice
to say, don't say anything at all
. Clean your plate. Flush the
. Sense a pattern?

We all have behaviors planted firmly in our hearts and minds, reinforced over
and over by years of doing. We do these things without one moments thought –
they are habits. Whole systems are built around them. Public restrooms for
example. For years, architects and builders counted on the fact that you would
hear your mother's voice before you exited the stall, reminding you to flush! Worked
well, mostly.

Then along came change. Automatically flushed toilets. A novelty at first.
(Honestly, they scared the you-know-what out of people the first time they
encountered one. My favorite is when they flush before you're done.) But of
course, they weren't everywhere so we continued responsible flushing. But as
Malcolm Gladwell taught us, there is a tipping point.

Finally there were more automatic flush toilets in public places than the
old-fashioned do-it-yourself variety and our habits started to change. Mom's
voice was silenced. We expected the flushing to occ
ur without our active


Hence the sign I discovered on the stall door in
the public restrooms in the Greenheck Field House in Weston, WI. After trying
to figure out why it was there, it dawned on me. The Greenheck Field House,
although fairly new, was built before automatic toilets became the norm and is
now frequented by people who no longer believe they have an obligation to
flush. Problem! Some clever person must have decided that this sign would fill
the place vacated by a mother's voice saying, "Don't forget to flush,
dear." At least the day I was there the sign seemed to be working.

What I'm working on now is the equivalent for changing that clean your plate

On another note, this blog would not have been possible without another big
change – phones you carry with you and have cameras built in. If you write a
blog that is tied to pictures, more important than American Express, you never
want to leave home without your Treo!

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