Why Weight-Watchers Works – and what we can learn about organisational change

20th September 2019  |  by Greg

Weight-Watchers doesn’t work because of the recipes and calorie-counting. It works because of the accountability. The recipes and calorie-counting elements are necessary but without the weekly weigh-in, things won’t change. How do we know this? Well, all the information for those looking to lose weight is already out there on the internet or on one of dozens of apps. People don’t pay their subscription to count calories, they pay for the public, weekly accountability.

I’m writing this email while a ‘Focus partner’ gets on with their work in Vienna. Focusmate is a virtual, video-based coworking platform that matches determined procrastinators with other determined procrastinators. I’ve lived with me for my whole life and I know I’m good at getting urgent work done, I’m even better at getting important, urgent work done but awful at getting important non-urgent work done. I’m on the road a lot but I sometimes work at home. Trying to finish my book is important but non-urgent. That’s where 50 minute sessions with an online partner come in. We both commit to a specific task to complete in the session. No answering emails, Whatsapp, YouTube ‘research’ or any other focus-ruiners.
There is science behind this approach. “Focusmate integrates 5 behavioural triggers to achieve a flow state:

  • Pre-commitment
  • Implementation intentions
  • Social pressure
  • Accountability
  • Specificity in task definition”

This is exactly how I help schools to embed long-lasting changes to school-wide expectations of behaviour.

When it comes to school organisational change, we tend to be good at the equivalent of recipes and calorie-counting advice, but much less effective with supportive weigh-ins.

In next week’s newsletter, we’ll look at how Future Behaviour’s Policy/Practice document helps schools achieve their aims effectively and supportively.

Want more information straight away? Just reply to this email.

Until next time,


PS I wrote this article in less than 20 minutes because of my levels of focus. Give Focusmate a try.

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