Don’t Mess With Texas

Texas had a littering problem. 

People were chucking stuff out of their windows while driving and it was making a mess. 

In 5 years they achieved a 75% decline in littering. Here’s what they did. 

They painted a clear picture of what was going on and what needed to be done. 

They pointed at shared values to back up what needed to be done. 

And they shrunk the steps down for people to make progress towards getting it done. 

More literally, they called the average litterer “Bubba.” This was the archetype of who they needed to reach to fix the problem. 

They said Bubba may not think twice about rolling down his pickup truck window and tossing out a wrapper now, but Bubba has a more important identity we need to tap into. 

Bubba is a proud Texan. And Bubba just needs a reminder that good Texans don’t defile their precious state with litter. 

They didn’t need to change Bubba so much as tap into his values. 

The phrase they created for the campaign? 

Don’t mess with Texas. 

We can apply this anytime we are trying to drive progress. 

Get the story on paper. Know the motivating values, Make a clear path of the smallest steps to get from A and to B. 

Then, bring it home. Make it memorable and keep the big idea as front of mind as possible until you succeed. 

I was reminded of this story and this idea on the “How to change your workplace” episode of WorkLife with Adam Grant.

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