HBR and its aura of coolness – SCN Encourager 10/29/2013
True Confession Time.
For three straight days at a conference in Maine last month I carried around a copy of the Harvard Business Review.
Using it somewhat like an ego-boosting “5 Hour Energy” drink (only one costing $16.95!), I coyly displayed my HBR so passer-bys and new acquaintances couldn’t miss seeing it.
I hoped it would pump up my old guy image.
And for the most part, I think I got away with my “scam to impress.”
Only the very few who actually asked me if I had read “anything interesting” seemed bewildered when I replied that “I haven’t really read anything yet.”
Yeah, those were awkward conversations.
But I did read my HBR on the flight back to Michigan.
To my surprise, the main article featuring Robert Cialdini and his research into persuasion and influence, was fascinating.
Fascinating because I could understand it. (Well, most of it…)
But also fascinating to me because many “interviewees” on marketing and communications radio shows and podcasts often recommend Cialdini to listeners.
Usually when I hear an author’s name come up over and over again, I’m not lucky enough to have a six-page article about him or her pop up in a magazine I had just purchased. Usually I have to buy the entire 300 page book!
I felt great about this because a working understanding of Cialdini’s principles are foundational to many effective leaders and communicators.
As you can see on the left, Robert Cialdini is a Ph.D.
He’s a psychology and marketing professor at Arizona State University and the president of his own firm “Influence at Work.”
Defining “influence” as a planned and effective appeal to deeply rooted human responses, Cialdini has formulated these six pillars as his touchpoints of persuasion.
#3 Social proof
#4 Commitment and consistency
Today’s Encourager will give you a taste of what he said about reciprocity.
It’s not what I would’ve guessed.
Cialdini suggests that when someone thanks you for doing something for them, never respond by saying, “Hey, no big deal.”
What you did may or may not be a “big deal” but the fact is you did something that someone appreciated… and there is no better time to hint at a future favor in return.
People desire to be in “partnership” and on common ground with friends and co-workers.
One major research study at a large company showed how the company’s “lend a hand and help your colleague” promotion hurt productivity.
Sure, the promotion inspired people to be on the lookout and assist their struggling peer— and this worked out just fine — but in came at the expense of people completing their own work.
It wasn’t until the company shifted away from promoting and counting “favors done” to “favors exchanged” that employee good will, good feelings, and productivity all increased.
According to Cialdini, being thoughtful and intentional about your cooperation is the best way to get more people to act in kind.
If Cialdini’s work sounds interesting to you, here is an 11 minute video that covers all six of his persuasion principles.
Click here to check it out. It’s pretty good.
Does providing this video now mean that I won’t try to explain Cialdini’s remaining five principles in future Encouragers?
Of course not! (You should know better by now.)
One of the other HBR articles was titled “Be Better at Managing Yourself.”
That’s the one I’m skipping over.
Cialdini’s principles are at least within my reach.
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