Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Empowerment is the true embodiment of trust.

"More often than not I am asked, 'You have referenced the important contributions of your father as the founder and early leader of your company.  Is there any one thing that you can point to that your father instilled in you as your motivation?'
'Yes,' I reply, 'my father treated me to the most demanding discipline.  He trusted me!'"
                                                               - Robert Galvin, former CEO Motorola

Galvin wasn't talking about trust as much as he was about empowerment.  Empowerment is the true embodiment of trust.  Without it, trust is just a word.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Daniel Pink: Drive (me crazy).

In preparation for a presentation next week on motivation I picked up Daniel Pink’s book Drive.  I’d picked it up once before and couldn’t remember why I didn’t finish reading it.  Now I remember why.  It is the fundamental premise of the book, summed up by Pink himself:
"Cocktail Party Summary: When it comes to motivation, there’s a gap between what science knows and what business does. Our current business operating system–which is built around external, carrot-and-stick motivators–doesn’t work and often does harm. We need an upgrade. And the science shows the way."

Really?  Our current business operating system is built around external, carrot-and-stick motivators?  That is like saying a deck of cards consists of red cards.  Not entirely false, since red cards are in the deck,  but not sufficiently true to hold up to a quick scrutiny.  After all, half the cards are black.  It is true that some managers use a carrot-and-stick motivational mode.  But there have always been businesses that have been led by far more thoughtful and insightful leaders.

We don’t need science to show us the way, since the path has been well travelled by many business leaders long before the scientist studied the issue.  Robert Galvin at Motorola stands tall in this crowd.  He wrote:
“A wiser man put it thus: We measure the effectiveness of the true leader not in terms of the leadership he exercises but in terms of the leadership he evokes; not in terms of his power over others, but in terms of the power he releases in others; not in terms of the goals he sets and the directions he gives but in terms of the plans of action others work out for themselves with his help; not in terms of decisions made, events completed and the inevitable success and growth that follow from such released energy but in terms of growth in competence, sense of responsibility and in personal satisfaction among many participants.”

Thus, Pink answers a question that’s been answered many times before.  A more interesting question might be, “Why is it that, when the evidence supporting the effectiveness of great leadership is so evident, do we still find managers using techniques that deliver mediocre results?"  There must be something compelling in using coercion to control behavior in others.  That would make for a more interesting psychological study.

Daniel Pink and other business writers are jumping to a solution.  Showing that a particular behavior is a more successful behavior has always proven insufficient to cause adoption of that behavior.  Just ask any parent. This reminds me of the metaphor of the elephant and the rider.  The elephant is our emotional brain, our wants, needs, desires, and impulses.  The rider is our rational, thinking, planning brain.  Laying out what makes for a better management practice addresses the rider’s need.  But clearly the elephant has a different behavior in mind.  When the elephant wants to go one way and the rider another, guess which wins.

Lets redefine the problem:  What is so compelling about management styles, broadly represented as carrot-and-stick methods, that causes managers to use them, when we know these methods are less effective in achieving stated company goals.  How do we replace that behavior with a more effective one?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Foot Steps in the direction of the Holy Grail of Sales

The Holy Grail of selling would be to find the collection of psychological phenomenon that you can utilize to ensure you win the sale.  The objective is have a sales routine that affects the buyer's decision-making facility in a completely predictable way.  

This image of footprints in the sand is actually just one image.  It has not been altered in any way, except that one of the four panels is rotated 180 degrees.  You see either two or six indented footprints as well as the opposite (two or six) raised footprints.  If you click on the image, it will periodically rotate 180 degrees.  

Knowing that the image is just one image, and that it is really a photo of two footprints indented in the sand, try to see all eight footprints as indented in the sand.  Difficult if not impossible!  Your brain is creating an untrue image of the world.  You cannot control that.  Just imagine being able to do the same in sales -- predicting exactly how the buyer's brain will respond. 

We are part way there, by applying the two techniques (the bonus question and the peak/end question) in The Peak Interview in a sales environment you take two small footsteps in the direction of The Holy Grail of selling.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Fire the Hiring Manager

Companies that employ people who can work together but think differently tend to be better at defining problems accurately and creating new opportunities for growth. Diversity of mind is the keystone of a strong human capital structure. These different perspectives, different ways of thinking, enable a company to see customer problems from a broad field of view. Opportunities are found in customer problems. Companies that are good at this tend to take market share from their more myopic competitors. They also are the companies that create completely new markets.

“Hiring managers hire the people they like the most.” Here, the research is definitive1. Hiring managers hire the people they like the most. Why? Primarily because hiring managers have no training and no expertise in the art of how to pick the best candidate. That forces hiring managers to use whatever tools they have at hand to come to a choice. People like other people who are most like themselves. FREE WHITE PAPER: http://blog.peakinterview.com/files/7/2/0/1/6/270087-261027/HiringWhitePaperr2.pdf