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There are many ways to convince somebody that changing a behaviour might be a good idea. In most cases the simple rational argument is not enough; nor are appeals to emotions or shock tactics. Usually a combination of several factors lines up and we move from ‘pre-contemplation’ to action fairly rapidly. What seems to work for me is the Big Number Convincing Statistic: the simple key figure that will simplify a complex choice. For example, when I was a smoker many moons ago I often tried to distinguish between ‘inconvenience’ i.e. diminished sense of smell and taste, shorter breath, etc. from the real risk of smoking. And then one day I picked up the key stat: 50%. There is roughly one chance in two of dying at a younger age from a smoking related ailment. Was I prepared to bet on 50%? – Not really… Here is another one: 80% squared is the benefit of wearing a helmet as a cyclist. 80% of cyclists deaths are due to head injuries + in populations where you have a valid measurement, wearing a helmet reduces head injuries in accidents by 80%. Again a BNCS… So what is the connection with leadership and resilience? Many clients come to us with an issue around long-term resilience. Our programmes cover physical, psychological and social resilience but, until now, I hadn’t found a good BNCS comparable to the examples above.  Cue Dr. Evans, a Professor at McGill University. His analysis of the impact of moderate exercise is particularly insightful because he has managed to extract the message from the noise of conflicting research, usually sponsored by drugs manufacturers. He shows a series of BNCSs and come up with a number of his own: 23.5 hours. Watch the video below to find out why…

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