“Trick or Treat” & Social Proof – SCN Encourager 10/31/2013

No, I’m not eating candy. I’m performing research.

How could you think otherwise?

I’m hurt.

After all, this is Harvard Business Review week in the Encourager and I can’t help getting caught up in all of the social science postulations I’ve been reading about.

I kinda like it now.

I’m learning that I no longer have bad habits.

I’m transitioning between theoretical behaviors and merely reacting to environmental stimuli. (A Snickers bar on Halloween, carmel corn at the football game, etc.)

But it will be several months until I’m able to report back to you the results of my study.

I’m hoping to engage in further environmental stimuli data collections on Thanksgiving Day and over Christmas Break.

Dr. Robert Cialdini certainly wouldn’t want me to cut my research off prematurely.

But whenever and however I conclude my own cognitions, emotions, and operant conditionings, my work will pale in comparison to his.

Book at 7.38.08 PMAfter reading the HBR article about Cialdini and his 2001 book “Influence” I can see why organizational leaders and communicators recommend it so highly.

Please don’t let my brief glimpses and joking around turn you off to wanting to get your hands on this book.

Cialdini delivers a rare straight-forward practicality.

Remember these six principles from the last couple of days?

#1  Reciprocity
#2  Liking
#3  Social proof
#4  Commitment and consistency
#5  Authority
#6  Scarcity

Cialdini describes #3 Social Proof as people wanting to do things that they see other people doing—especially if those people are very similar to them.

College kids want to do what other college kids are doing. Seventh graders want to do what other seventh graders are doing.  You got it.

People who share your age, gender, and interests want to do what you are doing… so behave yourself. We’re school people.

Screen Shot 2013-10-30 at 6.44.05 PMHalloween parties and “trick or treating” are obvious examples of people right before our eyes doing what other people like them are doing.

The Christmas displays which went up last week in stores offer more social proof of our “herd-like thinking.” Holy cow, we’re predictable.

Cialdini has a simple suggestion for leaders and communicators who want to tap into the power of “social proof.”

He had other suggestions, but I chose his most simple.

(I’m saving the complicated and convoluted ones for Friday.)

Anyway, Cialdini said that one of the best ways to get your team to commit to a shared purpose is to get them to publicly commit (social proof) to the steps they all need to make to bring improvements and positive change to the organization.

Get people to write their plans down. Have regular conversations. Listen closely and affirm the progress people make.

Cialdini says you’re fueling the power of we.

Tonight, however, I’m continuing my own research and fueling the power of me.

I’m not sure what my wife Cindy will be doing.

She said she doesn’t want to see me out knocking on doors and trick-or-treating with the little kids.

So I think she’s going over to visit her mother.

Tom Page, SCN
carTH 103113




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