"Behavior is a function of the person in their environment."

Lewin’s equation says “behavior is a function of the person in their environment.” (He was a psychologist and this was first published in 1936). The idea is simple; environment affects behavior. One example of where this principle is applied is in grocery stores. The products the store wants to promote most (i.e., the products they want you to buy) are presented at eye-level. Conversely, less popular or lower demand items are shelved very low or very high.

This principle should also be applied in data management, especially as it pertains to how data entry screens are set up for staff and customers. On the customer side, you should only be presenting data or asking for data that is of the utmost priority. For example, on an event registration form, you shouldn’t be asking for all kinds of demographic data that doesn’t apply to the registration itself. That’s just noise to the customer and may actually depress response. More on that here.

On the staff side, the same rule applies. The data that staff needs to see and/or update is the data that staff should see first when using the AMS or CRM. If it takes three or more clicks to get to a piece of data, the chances of that data being used and/or updated goes down dramatically. Humans go where the path leads them. Environment affects behavior. Here are more thoughts on that.

So do what you can to design your data entry screens, for both staff and customer, to drive the behavior you seek.


About Wes Trochlil

For over 30 years, Wes has worked in and with dozens of associations and membership organizations throughout the US, ranging in size from zero staff (all-volunteer) to over 700. In that time Wes has provided a range of consulting services, from general consulting on data management issues to full-scale, association-wide selection and implementation of association management systems.

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