Why We Use Nametags At OAMC

by Jim Henderson on December 15, 2015

Ever used the drive through at McDonalds? (It’s ok I wont tell!)

McDonald's Donation BoxDid you notice the strategically-placed-at-eye-level Ronald McDonald donation box right under the window? It’s large and obvious.

It’s also less awkward than having the cashier ask if you’d like to donate while super sizing your fries. It’s also more consistent. No emotions involved.

Marketing guru Michael Gerber says that there are two types of systems, hard systems – windows, doors, drive thru lanes and soft systems – people, attitudes and kindness.

In his book The E Myth Revisited Gerber makes the radical suggestion that whenever a human can be replaced by a process, machine or system – we should do it. Why, because it turns out human beings suck at being consistent and hiding their emotions. However when it comes to focusing on what they uniquely do best, say a touch, a kind word, or a genuine desire to help, they totally dominate machines.

Which is why OAMC religiously uses nametags. Nametags are a “hard system”. They effectively serve as a kind of relational “Welcome Mat” or “Social Doorbell”. It takes the pressure off and allows the soft system to function with more naturalness than is typical in new social settings.

My friend, Scott Ginsberg accidentally discovered and created a business with a nametag – he calls it the art of approachability. Get this, Scott has worn a nametag everyday for the past 5,521 days. He even had a nametag tattooed on his chest.

Here’s why we use nametags at OAMC

  1. Nametags Increase connectivity: I always know your name.
  2. Lower anxiety: I avoid feeling stupid for not remembering your name and approach you.
  3. Minimize power: first names equalize us and minimize social status cues.

I don’t like nametags.

Except for Scott, I don’t know anyone who does, but until someone invents a less awkward way of helping us connect with each other we’ll continue to use nametags. Consider it part of becoming a disciple if that helps. 🙂

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