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In my previous blogpost, I wrote about KEA (the Kiwi Expat Assoc) and their mission to turn brain drain into “brain circulation”. It’s a group of 200,000 expatriates from New Zealand and I’m proud to be among them. But while I like the success stories and the sense of connections to home, I always thought such a group could do even more. Here are some examples.

Tapping into the 6 sources of influence
The book “Influencer” by Kerry Patterson, et al.  explains how, by focusing on 6 sources of influence it is possible to change specific vital behaviours in a way that scales.  This approach has been used in a number of very different applications, from eradicating Guinea worm to changing behaviour in prisons. And in the case of KEA, I believe it can be used to transform 200,000 expats into a powerful network of ambassadors that can help each other and the country as a whole.


Applying this to KEA
Each one of KEA’s members has the ability to “bring work home”, connecting their personal networks and skills to people and organisations in New Zealand. Whether that is promoting NZ people and products, assisting with the growth of NZ start-ups or partnering with NZ firms.  We want every member to connect their networks and skills to ties back in New Zealand.  By looking at these 6 sources of influence, we can start to create a strategy for linking members to contributions and increasing the brain circulation of New Zealand.

1. Source: Personal Motivation
Ask: Do I want to?
Action: Make the undesirable desirable.  How: Consciously connect to value

This is where we look at someone’s personal motivation for contributing.  Why would somebody want to connect their networks or skills back to New Zealand? What intrinsic motivators can be called upon to motivate people to do this?

The obvious motivation in this example, would be to tap into each members want to keeping their connection with New Zealand strong.  Linking this action with a person’s sense of self – of who they are and who they want to be.  A kiwi, a New Zealander.

2. Source: Personal Ability
Ask: Am I able?
Action: Surpass your limits.  How: Demand Deliberate Practice

Are Kiwi Expats able to link their networks and skills back to New Zealand? Have we made it easy in this network to connect these dots?  Often we assume that we just need to motivate members to connect, however we also need to ensure that members know how.  This involves breaking the behaviour down into smaller chunks and ensuring every member has the ability to contribute.

With an organisation like KEA this could mean breaking down the businesses/people to promote in easy to target chunks.  e.g. KEA could provide targets by industry.  Do you know people in small businesses?  Here are the top ten New Zealand products for small businesses. Then make it easy to share this knowledge within my network.  By providing members with a simple structured way to connect their network or expertise, you enable every member to contribute.

3. Source: Social Motivation
Ask:  Do others motivate?
Action: Harness Peer Pressure  How: Pave the way. Enlist the power of those who motivate. Seek the support of those who motivate

Are other members just like me doing this?  Who are those in my network that would encourage me to participate?  Highlight these people and recognise them.  Sharing stories of successful New Zealanders giving back to the network is a great start to modelling this behaviour, but we also want to show that every member has something to give back. Share stories of a range of expats and use peer comparisons. e.g 3 out of 10 expats like you do X.   People are more likely to change their behaviours if people in their peer group are doing the same, not necessarily their leaders and if people feel praised and encouraged by those around them they are more likely to contribute.

4. Source: Social Ability
Ask: Do others enable?
Action: Find strength in numbers. How: Pave the way. Enlist the power of those who motivate.  Seek the support of those who motivate

Where can members go to get support from their peers to contribute? We know that peer groups can help reinforce and guide people.  e.g. Lean-In circles or weight loss groups.

With KEA there are already networking events in each country, and these could be altered to more purposeful and focused on support for contribution. These gatherings can be a place where members are able to help each other and vital provide support mechanisms.

5. Source: Structural Motivation
Ask: Does the environment/Do “things” motivate?
Action: Design Rewards and Demand Accountability.  How: Link rewards third and in moderation.  Link rewards to vital behaviours. Use rewards that reward.

Using rewards is something that should be done in moderation. The focus instead should be on the intrinsic motivations.  If rewards are to be used, it is important that they are linked to the behaviours rather than the results.  This may seem strange, but the results will take care of themselves.

A shout-out from an influential New Zealander for a number of contributions from a member, or a free flight home for someone wanting to start a business or creating a successful connection are some example of rewards that could be used for KEA.

6. Source: Structural Ability
Ask: Does the environment/”things” enable?
Action: Change the environment. How: Use the power of space. Use the power of data and cues.  Use the power of tools.

Finally, does the environment help or hinder members? What is the physical environment like?  What reminders or visual cues are there?    Changes to the environment could be physical changes, online changes, policy or structural changes.

With KEA, this could involve changes to the online presence or community spaces, or changes to the structure of the organisation, or the networking events.  Look at the biggest barriers to expat contributions or to brain circulation and start from there.

Taking a successful organisation like KEA, that already has 200,000 members wanting to be a part of “home” and giving them purposeful things to do as a part of that community, creates a very powerful network of relationships and ambassadors.

But what applies to KEA applies to other communities too.  Whether that be your own community, organisation or alumni. Connecting your members together is a good first step, now what?

To read more about the Influencer model the following two blogs provide more indepth information.