161 – Plans often go astray

Posted by  Anecdote International —September 20, 2022
Filed in Anecdotes, Podcast

As the saying goes, the best-laid plans of mice and men can still go wrong. Listen to hear what a group of economists proposed to eradicate an issue impacting a series of childcare centres.

Father with children

This week, Mark shares a story from Freakonomics based on research undertaken across a series of childcare centres in Haifa, Israel. You can find the original Freakonomics article here

It’s a nice, compact story that you’ll be able to tell quickly. If you share it at work, we’d love to hear what business point you made with it! Feel free to utilise the comments section below!  

Anecdote Principal Rod Grundel is currently in Europe running some accreditation programs. If you’d like to catch up with him in the coming days, email us at people@anecdote.com

For your story bank

Tags: emotion, guilt, incentives, logic, persausion, problem solving

This story starts at 01:45

In Haifa, Israel, a series of childcare centres were facing a common problem. They had a set pick-up time, but there were regular occurrences of parents being late to pick up their children, causing staff to have to stay back.

They needed to do something about it. A couple of economists thought it was an interesting challenge and put their minds to it.

In the first part of their study, the economists gathered data. They found that, on average, there were eight late pick-ups each day at each centre.

In the second part, the economists decided to enact a fine. The centres announced that a parent arriving more than ten minutes past the appointed pick-up hour would receive a fine of $3.00 per child and per incident.

The centres also announced a date from which they would enact the system. On that date, the number of late pick-ups more than doubled. It went up to 20.

The economists’ plan backfired because what they thought would be a disincentive traded a moral obligation to pick up a child with a fee for service.

About  Anecdote International

Anecdote International is a global training and consulting company, specialising in utilising storytelling to bring humanity back to the workforce. Anecdote is now unique in having a global network of over 60 partners in 28 countries, with their learning programs translated into 11 languages, and customers who incorporate these programs into their leadership and sales enablement activities.

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