You knew this was coming. What is the Hawthorne effect you mentioned earlier?

A. It describes the temporary change in behaviour and/or performance in response to a change in environmental conditions; the response usually being a change for the good. Basically, pay attention to something and you'll notice an improvement. The term was coined by Henry A. Landsberger when analysing experiments from 1924–1930 at the Hawthorne Works outside Chicago.

Here's an idea for you…

Gather three colleagues from work; four of you in total. Each of you should prepare a five-minute reading from a business book, followed by asking a question based on that reading. The rest of you then attempt to answer the question, facilitated by the reader. After a total of fifteen minutes per person, move on to the next. So you might read a paragraph on pricing strategy and then ask 'How does that help us make more money?' This can be great fun and you will run out of time, but keep it that way: short, sharp, fast. And look forward to another session.

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