A major focus for us in executing end-to-end culture design projects is studying how beliefs are formed and how they spread through populations, like your company. As an aside, this includes looking at how internet memes are born. Bonus link, our buddy, Dan Zarella did some interesting work in the area a while back.
One of the social contagions that we have marveled at over the years is the gluten intolerance movement, a mostly imagined disorder (please send hate mail here) that has been a boon to package designers and marketers the world over.
According to a number of studies, about 1% of the US population has some form of gluten intolerance, and for everyone who is certain they have the problem but are in the other 99%, they are likely suffering from an even worse disorder.
Anyway, we recently came across this new study from some smart people in Norway, which states that the problem probably isn’t really gluten at all, but fructan. WTF, I hear you ask?.. It’s a thing apparently. [Package designers: Take note.]
The point is that beliefs drive behaviors and beliefs are usually not based in fact, they are well… beliefs.
Think about the beliefs that you take to work every day, the ideas that everyone holds dear, and see how many of them hold up to scrutiny. It might be about the quality of your, or a competitors product, how your firm views your customers or the success of a new project.
Don’t be surprised if you reveal some beliefs that are impacting your success.