Bad incentives create bad behaviour

3 weeks ago 0 0 75

We use incentives all the time to shape behaviour.  From our kids at home, to employees, to people we have just met, it is almost human nature to offer incentives to encourage specific behaviours.  However, like most things we do without really thinking them through, there is a dark side to incentives that often gets people stuck. Consider what an incentive might be – it might be the supply of some positive reward such as financial, social or relational.  It might also be the removal of punishment.  Often if people know that some punishment comes unless they demonstrate the behaviour, this acts as an incentive for this behaviour to be displayed. We often simply deploy incentives without thinking – in fact, the culture of the group that we are in often dictates what will be incentivised and how.  For example, if the culture can be defined as all the behaviours

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Understanding the ‘Trumpnado’ – the social psychology of Donald Trump

3 years ago 1 0 1029

After it started as seemingly a bit of a joke, Donald Trump has catapulted into front-runner status for the Republican nomination for President in the United States. His extreme actions and language are completely at odds with the traditional political playbook. However, it seems to be working. Whilst it may seem completely illogical, there are compelling social psychology reasons why his approach is working – and there is a dangerous historical precedent. Where did the supporters come from? Donald Trump has drawn a large and passionate supporter base. Whilst Ted Cruz and Mark Rubio have fashioned messages to speak to a conservative mindset, Trump has spoken across classic voter categories. His supporter base was probably not even aware that they were Trump supporters, but his campaign has activated them. First to get on board were more extreme elements, but over time his activation has reached deeper and deeper into the

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Do you trust your intuition or use logical decision making?

3 years ago 0 2 1080

When you make a decision, how confident are you that you make it logically? Most people will say that they make most of their decisions using logic, weighing up the facts and figures and coming up with a reasoned, logical outcome. However, in reality, our brain is designed to short-circuit logical decision making and make emotional, non-rational decisions. We often call this ‘intuition’ or instinct. These instinctive decisions are critical to survival when there is little time. However, the benefit gained through the speed of response is traded off for accuracy. An experiment in thinking: Try these two tasks: Task one: What comes next? Apple, Orange, Banana …… Task two: without calculator or paper and pencil, find 23 x 17. • Which task was easier? • Which task was faster? • Which task has a ‘known’ answer, and which one did you create? • Can you explain why you gave

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12 steps to tactful communication

3 years ago 0 4503

“What we have here is a failure to communicate” –Cool Hand Luke. (Paul Newman) How often is performance derailed by a failure to communicate? We lead and work through others, collaborate and seek to influence beliefs and behaviours. These all take quality communication to achieve. However, communication is perhaps the greatest single opportunity for increased efficiency and effectiveness in any business, organisation or system. It simply does not work well enough, often enough – because although we are taught to talk, we are rarely truly taught to communicate. Communication, at its heart, is about ‘transmitting’ a message of some kind to one or more recipients, in such a way that the message they understand is equivalent to the message that was transmitted. This transmission requires pre-processing by the communicator (translation) and post-processing by the receiver (reception and decoding). The transmission is conducted through a medium using known symbols (language, hand

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5 steps to achieving your goals in 2016

3 years ago 0 0 1193

So, it is that time of year to plan for 2016 – perhaps to set some goals for the year ahead to be the foundation of your success. There are many reasons people set goals. We are encouraged to set goals to work out what we want to achieve, what we want to prioritise, and to build action plans that we can follow. We also create goals because we have to or are expected to. We may be asked by the board to set some specific targets and goals for the business, or we may even have a coach that pushes us to set ‘big hairy audacious goals’. Goals are important. They provide targets, benchmarks and measurable steps to achieve something of value. They allow review and learning, coordination and ongoing development. Regardless why your goals are set, there is every likelihood that they are simply set to fail. Just

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The fisherman’s tale

3 years ago 0 0 727

There was once a fisherman in a small Mexican coastal town.  A simple man, he would live his life by getting up late, going fishing at about 10, selling his small catch in the market.  He would catch up with his mates to play cards in the cantina in the afternoon, go home for dinner then take his wife out dancing. One day a banker from New York was passing through on his holiday.  He had seen the fisherman live his live for a few days and pulled him aside. “Listen”, he said, “we can do some amazing things”. “We can start by getting you out fishing at 5 am, leveraging your assets to get another 6 boats. We could set up a processing plant at the end of town, pack the fish in ice and sell them for a great price in the US!” The fisherman swirled his tequila

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Disruptive innovation- Have you got it wrong?

3 years ago 0 0 1390

The idea of disruptive change is very ‘hot’ in business and innovation circles at the moment. There are conferences dedicated to it, books written about it, people who have ‘disruption’ on their business cards or Linkedin profiles. However, my guess is that 90% of people in innovation and business are missing the real point about disruption. In this article I take a look at the idea of disruption, and what businesses can really do to understand it and apply it to their business situation. The source of ‘disruptive innovation’ In 1997, Clayton Christensen published a book called ‘The Innovator’s Dilemma’, in which he coined the term ‘disruptive innovation’ to describe what he saw in some case studies in the computer industry. The term has gained prominence since then, but I believe that it has now ‘jumped the shark’ – and it is time to really understand ‘disruption’ for what it

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Pitch perfect – get your audience to yes

3 years ago 0 0 1303

The role of the ‘pitch’ has been magnified through such TV shows as ‘Shark Tank’ or ‘Lion’s Den’. These shows put a pitch in the spotlight, with an assessment and investment depending upon the quality of the presentation as well as the product idea. They can often make the process seem as a ‘one shot for glory’. However, if we view a pitch as this, then it can lead to unnecessary stress and worry, and can negatively impact how we pitch. If, on the other hand, we considered a pitch as simply an opportunity to open a discussion and negotiation, to present our position and influence buy in, then we can use the pitch in powerful ways to create successful uptake of our ideas and secure the support that we seek. Everyone has to pitch – maybe not for a major investment, but politicians pitch their policies for your vote,

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Forecasting excellence – without the crystal ball

3 years ago 0 0 745

I have been working with more than 30 business leaders from around Europe, the Middle East and Africa at a meeting in Barcelona. Our aim was to tackle some of the ‘big issues’ in strategy, marketing and sales, so that they could take back practical and powerful tools to their organisations. When we asked them what they wanted (or more specifically: “What could you take away from this meeting that would have a significant impact on your business”), one answer shone through strongly – most of them wanted to help their key personnel within their organisations to forecast better. I therefore created a hands-on workshop session for the attendees which focused on this topic. It reminded me that, amongst all of the important business skills that leaders and managers are taught, forecasting is often one which often gets less time, effort and attention than other topics. Following a practical case

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A compelling message – or just ‘So What?’

4 years ago 0 0 1893

As part of the process of selling a big idea – whether it is a product or service to a customer, or a message to internal stakeholders- we need a value proposition to help make it understandable by those we share it with. However, too many value propositions presented fall flat, with the customer either thinking – or saying out loud “So What?”. Too many value propositions offer no value, fall flat or are simply uninspiring. A great value proposition is meaningful, contains rich value for the customer and provides them with a compelling reason to change. If we are selling something, we are wanting the customer to change from not purchasing to purchasing. If we are sharing a big idea, we are asking our audience to change their minds and adopt the idea as their own. Either way, the value proposition has to overcome the status quo of what

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