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May '14

Secrets from the science of persuasion

I’ve read and seen quite a few things about the art/topic/science of persuasion over the years and the latest was this very interesting and appealing youtube video by Robert Cialdini and Steve Martin.  It bottles it down to 6 fundamental principles that help influence the way we think.  These are:

  1. Reciprocity – the obligation to give when you receive
  2. Scarcity – people want more of those things that are less
  3. Authority – people will follow what credible knowledgable experts say
  4. Consistency – looking for and asking for commitments that can be made
  5. Liking – people who are similar to us, pay us compliments and co-operate with us
  6. Consensus – people will look to the actions of others to determine their own

The final ‘tableau’ looks like this, it makes a good reminder that encapsulates their well-though out points.




For more content from Robert Cialdini and Steve Martin, check out their website at www.influenceatwork.com

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Apr '14

…overdue, out of sight and a little lost

Almost 4 years to the day since the last post. That’s just plain ridiculous. It’s verging on a long lost blogging. I’m not sure what the motive for such a long delay has been, maybe my focus has been far too much on work. Well that’s not necessarily the problem now. It’s more of a decision-making on how to better spend my time and which course to now take. This is not ‘back with a vengeance’ but more back cautiously trying to understand what makes sense again, how to find the creative flow and the motivation to regain that highly productive edge. There will be a little cleaning up and brain-storming, some idea-planning and maybe even some inspirational painting. There’s some good ideas on the table and plenty of decisions to contemplate. Unfortunately, procrastination at some extent has also crept into play and is muddying the waters. Some call this soul-searching, but I think it’s more trying to understand, where the f’ has my ‘mojo’ gone ;)

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May '10

Growing the ‘wrong’ way

It’s been a long time since I’ve had the opportunity to post, but I think it’s time I spoke out.

My ‘real-job’ keeps me more busy than I’d originally anticipated, hence no posts in almost 2 years.  So this got me thinking, to the ‘why?’….

The company have been growing in customer base and also the number of projects they have taken on, which of course should be something to celebrate.  However, this growth ‘should’ lead to an increase in resources that help to ‘build’ and ‘deploy’ the solutions.  Instead this has lead to an increase in project managers and such, introducing new levels of management rather than addressing the raw need for task-oriented individuals.

This has had the subsequent effect that projects get delayed due to limited availability of these key resources, often distributing resources based on the VAPI model (see below) that infuriates customers even more and affects a potentially good reputation of a company.  Even worse, it affects the profitability of the projects and demotivates staff.

So if you are working in a company experiencing something similar, try to understand the basic principles of a service driven industry.  Customers are happy and are willing to pay when the service or solution is delivered, not when it’s planned to be delivered.

VAPI Model to Project Implementation

 * please note this model is purely fictious

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Jul '08

The Information Balance

Since I recently took on new responsibilities I begun to realise how much the information balance is so critical in a business environment, it make the difference between good and bad decisions, which inevitably have knock-on effects and repercussions. The company I joined have tried to be innovative and are using some cool web2.0 technology, (wikis) to help the info-flow, however this is only half the solution (or problem as you may choose to consider it). Since, the company has not just one centralised wiki, but at least 4 different wikis to consult to gather the required information. Not only that they have numerous networked drives that contain solution descriptions, sales proposals, etc. A wealth of valuable information spread across multiple access points. The second part of this problem is functional silos. Whilst the information appears to be shared, it is still created and stored in modes that replicate zones of competence and relevance. This may seem appropriate to the individual, but it is not practical for the organisation. My role is one of Business Consultant, which means I have to draw on all sectors of the company for the relevant information, so if my role is reflective of the organisations need for the right information, most of the time is spent searching, validating and absorbing. I agree with most people that information should be a free commodity, yet to be efficient it must be arranged in some way that the right information can be found quickly.

Jun '08

Responsibility, Executive Pay & Lack of Integrity

Back in January the Economist ran an article on Corporate Social Responsibility that indicated it was more a matter of enlightened self-interest, this last week they brought up the recurring theme of the executive pay package. As big corporations begin to lose their heads and proverbially drop their CEOs, (AIG loses CEO today) there raises the real question of integrity in the leaders that run big businesses and governments.
We have profited for quite a few years now on the back of a strong economic boom, and the fat cats have indeed got fatter, at the price of ‘doing the right thing‘. Now with recession looming more than ever, it is not these fat cats that will suffer, because they were cunning enough to arrange for their Golden Parachute in advance, it is the rest of the so called general public, who will have to worry about job security or negative equity, raising debts and the higher cost of living. The moralistic intent and the best interest of society are not concepts that today’s leaders entertain, they have lived in a walled garden protected from the society they so deem to take advantage of, yet they are the ones who are charged with the decision-making.
I recognize that these are sweeping statements of perturbed sentiment, yet I struggle to feel easy knowing that whilst there are so many people that are not recognized for their contributions, that practice integrity as a way of life. It seems in many ways that we have forgotten what is important. As we enter this essentially difficult transitional phase of our evolution, not only accounting for recession but from an industrial and capitalistic era to one of knowledge and information, integrity will be an essential characteristic that will define how well we evolve, let us hope that we remember just how we should ‘do the right thing!’.

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