The Voice for Insightful Leadership with Shelley Row, P.E.

Your Search for connection

“Just the facts: they speak for themselves.” That’s the approach many take when they want to persuade someone to their point of view.

But do they speak for themselves? Not so much.

From my technical background, I have observed a fact-based approach to persuasion many times but rarely successfully. It’s no wonder. The brain isn’t designed to respond to facts alone. Analytical people are responsive to reasoned arguments more often than others are; however, even they need to be motivated to pay attention. A logical argument takes a lot of energy and is less likely to work for most people

Thankfully, there are other persuasive techniques that are more promising. (Kevin Dutton’s work provides excellent insights into persuasion). After all, when persuading someone, the goal is to get to “yes,” you see (YES, UC).

1. You-focused. “What interests you about this issue?” And, “We want to address your questions first.” The word “you” is powerful. It is immediately relevant and it is always about our favorite subject. However, all too often, we are so preoccupied with our view that we think too little about theirs.

Before starting the persuasive argument, consider how the issue looks from their perspective. Why is it of interest to them? Given their background, what viewpoint are they likely to have and why? (This presumes that you did the research to know their background and preferences.) How can you put their interests in the forefront of the discussion? When you figure that out, start the discussion with that point of view. The first point can be the most influential.

2. Empathetic. People are more easily persuaded if they have a sense of relatedness, which leads to empathy. A lack of empathy can have the opposite effect. A 2002 study of doctors found that those with a less empathetic tone of voice were sued more often. Empathy counts a lot. Before beginning a persuasive discussion, take stock of the ways you connect with this person – schools, sports teams, background, and hobbies. Use examples or analogies based on these connections that reinforce your persuasive points. This is a step toward establishing empathy.

We like people better if we feel an empathetic connection. Mirror neurons help if we allow ourselves to notice the expressions, postures and feel of the other person. We start to feel what they feel. But we don’t pick up these subtle clues if we are thinking about a practical argument and push aside feelings. Relax so that you pick up on feeling clues.

3. Simple. A leader once told me, “If I can’t explain it, I can’t sell it.” Exactly. A pile of detailed, convoluted data rarely sells the idea. Neither will a barrage of multiple points. Make it easy for them to grasp and remember. What is the one thing you want them to remember, do, or agree to? Is it simple, clear and unambiguous? The reasoning part of the brain (prefrontal cortex) is energy intensive. It is easily derailed by fatigue, distraction or emotion. If you catch the person when they are tired or stressed, their ability to focus on detailed arguments is reduced. Keep it simple; include factual and emotional appeals; state the main point first and throughout. Repetition sticks. Repetition sticks.

4. Unexpected. We tend to be captivated by and remember the unexpected. Brain research shows that the emotion center in the brain (amygdala) is more sensitive to unexpected stimuli whether positive or negative. In a study, diners were divided into three groups. At the end of the meal, one group received a single candy; the second group received two candies; the third group received one candy but the server stopped as though having a change of heart, returned and gave an additional candy. The increased tip amounts (compared to the control group) for each group were 3.3%, 14.1% and a whopping 23% for the last group. The unexpected nice treatment caused a positive emotional reaction.

A friend of mine tried to persuade a company to hire her. She happened to be traveling to Maine after her interview. She mailed them a live lobster with a thank you note, and shortly afterward she got the job. Is there an unexpected twist you can add to your argument – something visual, tactile, or humorous? The unexpected turn will be more persuasive.

5. Confident. Confident and credible people are more persuasive. Walk in straight and tall; look them in the eye; have a firm handshake, and speak with confidence. A truly confident person doesn’t need to be a bully because they exude an air of self-assurance. A confident person is also open to hearing others’ concerns. If you sense concern, acknowledge it. Negative feelings come from a threat response in the brain. The threat response is reduced when the feeling is acknowledged. “I’m picking up that this topic is uncomfortable/not resonating/disagreeable for you. Tell me more about that.” There is no defensiveness but rather a confident interest in understanding fully.

Facts alone rarely lead to persuasion. Improve your persuasive approach by focusing on “you” statements, creating an empathetic connection, keeping the message simple, using an unexpected twist and exuding a quiet, confidence. YES, UC will make a difference. You’ll see.

 

BiasEveryone has biases. The only thing worse than having a bias is not realizing that you do. It is in the knowing that there is opportunity to manage unintended bias.

Humans are designed to crave relatedness. Millions of years ago your tribe was key to survival. Quickly recognizing those in or out of your tribe had life and death consequences. The wiring to recognize in-groups and out-groups is still in the brain. Neuroscience provides insights into bias, how it impacts behavior; and what can be done to manage it.

When you are with your in-group, your brain responds favorably.

• Others in the group remind you of yourself (the vmPFC – in your brain – activates);
• If a positive event happens to an in-group member, your brain’s reward region activates;
• If a painful event happens to an in-group member, your brain’s pain region is activated.

In a study with happy couples, one person watched as their partner received a mild shock. The brain of the watching partner activated to a similar degree as the shocked partner.

In short, your brain is wired to empathize with in-group members.

The opposite happens for out-group members. If a painful or positive event happens to an out-group member, your brain is not activated. The brain is not wired to empathize with the out-group. This in-group/out-group activation happens seamlessly and with minimal effort.

The implications at work are far-reaching as in-groups and out-groups form easily. Consider:

• Companies with offices in separate locations where employees rarely relate in person;
• Companies in a merger particularly if they were former competitors (definitely an out-group); or
• Technical staff attempting to persuade politicians through logic alone with no relationship.

Of course, there are the in and out groups that form around ethnicity, gender, age and status (employee/manager).

For example, consider technical fields where women are a minority (an out-group). From the research, we see that men naturally and unconsciously relate more easily to other men. General similarities in background, expectations and interests reinforce the in-group wiring. If a member of the male in-group receives an award or gets a promotion, it activates reward circuits in other in-group members. Not so if an out-group member (a woman in this example) receives an award or promotion.

Researchers for Harvard Business School’s Gender Initiative note that, more men than women tend to be managers in technical fields, and more men than women tend to be promoted into management. They found when a female employee clocks out before the work-culturally acceptable time, her colleagues are more likely to think: “She’s probably off to pick up her kids.” If a male employee checks out early, they may think: “He’s off to meet clients.*” Due to brain wiring, men are less likely to empathize with the women. Further, men (and women) naturally incline to hire/promote/want to work with in-group members.

What can be done? Are we doomed to be a slave to the brain’s inclinations? No. Here are four ways to counteract unintended bias.

1. Common interests. Find similar interests such as a home state, common university, kids of the same age, or a sports team. If you make the effort, you will find a foundation for a connection.

2. Shared goals and projects. The brain responds well to a common goal and the rewards that come with achieving it. I worked on transportation projects in Atlanta for the 1996 Olympics. That common goal forged a highly connected team that endures to this day.

3. Fun and laughs. Throw an office party (and don’t talk about work). See a funny movie together. Work on a common volunteer effort. Giving back to the community activates the reward center and creates a shared feel-good experience.

4. Gratitude. Research shows that expressing gratitude engenders relatedness for both the giver and receiver. It doesn’t get any easier than that.

It is easy to relate to in-group members but relatedness can also happen with out-group members. It just takes energy and effort. Individual and organizational success makes it worth the effort. Plus, it’s more fun.

*Paquette, Danielle, Mothers likelier to be judged at work, Washington Post, June 11, 2015.

Stay calmIt’s going to be a tough meeting. The topic is controversial and you feel strongly about the outcome.  Plus, there’s a person in the meeting who routinely unnerves you. It’s the kind of situation that could easily cause you to over-react and not behave at your best.  If you let the situation get the best of you, you are unlikely to achieve the outcome that you wish. What steps can you take to resource yourself to remain calm and in control of your emotions?

Recognize the Situation in Advance.  To manage yourself in situations that are challenging, it helps to know in advance when you will be in that situation.  It’s not that hard to do as triggering events are repeatable.  Think about it. Who regularly gets on your nerves at work? What situations annoy you every time? Maybe it’s when people show up unprepared despite your efforts to provide materials in advance. Or those people who just don’t care and you do. The more you can identify the types of situations and the people that knock you off center the more likely you can prepare in advance.

Make a Plan. Before the meeting, take a break to clear your thinking and make a plan.

Understand your Communication Style. What is your natural communication style: direct, engaging, hands-off? Consider the people in the meeting. How do they typically communicate and will they react constructively to your style? How will you adapt your approach to enable them to be at their best?

Prime Yourself. Priming is a technique where you feed your brain positive information so that it is in that mindset. Because of the mind/body connection, priming the brain results in subtle but powerful shifts in behavior. For example, before the big meeting you choose the story to tell your brain. “I dread this meeting. Brian is always so difficult in meetings and I’m concerned that the meeting won’t go the way I want.”  Or, “This will be a good meeting. I’m capable of managing my reactions and I’ll exhibit calm strength if others over-react. And, we’ll accomplish our objectives.” Priming with the second option is much more likely to yield the outcome you wish.

Use If/Then Planning. Consider examples of how the meeting could unfold and the actions you’ll take to manage any problems.  Examples could be: If Brian starts interrupting everyone and dominating the meeting, then I will calmly ask that he allow others to offer their ideas. If Brian takes the meeting off-track, then I will restate the objective and re-focus the discussion. If the discussion begins to go in a direction with which I don’t agree, then I will make an effort to be open to new ideas and objectively consider the best option.

Work the plan. You’ve primed yourself with positive information and you have a plan. Now, pay attention to yourself and others to stick with your plan. Notice your level of agitation. Is Brian getting to you? If so, notice your tension and consciously think about slowing your breathing; relax your jaw. These simple techniques help to rebalance the nervous system.  Also, attend to the level of agitation in others. Intervene if you notice someone getting anxious. Listen to and validate their comment and redirect the discussion so that the agitated person has a chance to settle their nervous system. Summarize the discussion frequently to make progress.

With a little preparation, you can transform a damaging situation into a productive one and you remain calm instead of becoming testy. Testy helps no one; calm helps everyone.

Years ago, when I led an office at the Department of Transportation, we invested in a 360 assessment for the top managers and me. I looked forward to the results because I appreciate getting others’ perspectives.  Or at least I thought I did— until I got the results.  The results showed me as two different people. Seen through the eyes of my peers I was similar to how I saw myself.  But the view as seen through the eyes of my staff was not pretty. I learned that I was great at staying focused on achieving our goals…at all costs. However, the staff, through their scores, showed me that the office atmosphere was like a cattle drive (go, go and go until we get there). The staff craved attention, connection and a sense of family. Work just wasn’t fun. I suspect it isn’t just my office that’s like that. Fun is not at the top of the list of most work environments. And yet, research shows that humor is a powerful tool in the workplace. Here’s why.

  1. Task perseverance. Research indicates that humor provides the brain a respite that reenergizes it for the next task – even tedious tasks. Consider this research. In a study conducted by Australian National University management professors David Cheng and Lu Wang, they found that people who watched a funny video clip before a task spent approximately twice as long on a tiresome task compared with people who watched neutral or positive but not funny videos.[i] Would your office benefit from a two-time increase in persistence with just a short break to watch something humorous? It’s time to rethink a few minutes for a YouTube break.
  2. Morale boost. A good laugh feels good. It’s a simple as that. Laughter can make a long, arduous and stressful day a little less arduous and stressful.  Imagine what it would be like to have a joke of the day at staff meetings or funny video of the day. Within a few minutes, people are smiling and feeling reenergized.
  3. Feeling of connection. Laughing together creates a shared experience that fosters connection. I recall one of my staff meetings that happened shortly after the movie “Up” came out. In that animated movie the dog, Dug, is happily talking (yes, talking) to his new friend when he sees a squirrel that jerks his head to the side (Google it… you’ll laugh…promise… cross my heart). In the staff meeting, I described the scene and did an imitation of the “squirrel” moment. I wasn’t trying to be funny but I still remember the laughter. We felt like a team for that moment – all from sharing a good laugh.

What can you do to cultivate laughter in your office? Give a prize for the best joke; show a 2-minute funny video once a week; delegate humor to the staff to find and share?  What about sharing the silliest selfies? Use your imagination to find ways to bring a good laugh into the workplace.  You’ll reap the rewards of connection, improved morale and enhanced focus on work. And enhanced focus will help to guard against the next “squirrel” distraction!

 

[i] Cheng, D and Wang, L. (2015) Examining the energizing effects of humor: The influence of humor on persistence behavior. Journal of Business and Psychology, 30, 759-772.

Copyright: warrengoldswain / 123RF Stock Photo

brain wiring

You’re wired to see what you already believe. It’s a simple statement but the implications for decision-making are complex. What you already believe is built layer upon layer from your experiences which create a filter through which you see the world. Good decision-making relies on understanding how your brain’s filter colors perception and influences interpretation.

The brain is designed to be efficient and make good use of its energy.  The most energy efficient approach is for the brain to take in information around you and make it fit into your personal filter system. It may not be 100% correct, but it is efficient.  Take for example what happened to me last Christmas.

First, a word about my filter. My dad was a band director in the local high school in our small Texas town which was not a hot-bed of culture.  In our household, talk was not of cattle and farm equipment but of music.  I was the only 4th grader in town who could pick out an oboe by sight or sound.  Now fast-forward to last Christmas. I was driving past our local Salvation Army building.  Think about the Salvation Army particularly around the holidays. On this cold morning, there was a sign outside their local headquarters that read, “Bell ringers needed.”

“Wow.” I thought. “I didn’t know the Salvation Army had a bell choir! That sounds like fun.  I wonder when they meet?” I was a mile down the road before my brain began to register, “….Wait a minute. Bell ringers? Salvation Army? Oh….not a bell choir.”   My brain was wired to see what it already believed.

Now take that characteristic of the brain into decision-making.   Your brain is designed to create meaning from what it experiences based on your history. For example, if you interview someone who grew up in an environment similar to yours, your brain will naturally endow them with attributes from your experience which may not reflect their reality. You may also interview someone from a different background or culture. Your brain naturally doesn’t connect with them as easily. It may feel more effortful.

As a leader who makes tough decisions, you must be aware of and vigilant to this natural tendency. If not, you will only hire people you relate to, you can underestimate key trends that your brain doesn’t register, and you may ignore input from staff you if you don’t relate to them.

So how do you counteract your brain’s predisposition to see what you already believe.

  1. Seek out information from those with differing backgrounds. A male leader I interviewed said that he purposefully seeks input from women leaders because they “connect the dots better than men. They see things relationally where I don’t.” He forces his brain to see a situation differently. You can gather input across gender, race, and cultural differences as ways to broaden perspective. Also, talk with those who come from a different career path or different industry. This opens up new habits of thinking.
  2. Challenge your assumptions. Your brain is constantly making assumptions in order to be efficient. Get into the practice of noticing and challenging your assumptions.  This is good practice for your staff, too. Calling out assumptions forces them and you to think more deeply about the connections the brain is making about a situation. How can you make the phrase, “challenge the assumption,” a standard part of discussion?
  3. Force consideration of a different solution. When making a decision, ask yourself what would you do if your preferred approach was not available?  The preferred approach is likely aligned with your brain’s history. Take that option off the table for the sake of discussion and exploration.  Once again, you force the brain to look beyond its own filters for options that it discarded because they don’t fit the pattern.

Your brain is designed to quickly and easily match patterns and create meaning. That serves you well in many cases. In fact, we couldn’t function if we had to reevaluate every situation during the day.  However, leaders and managers need to be aware that their brain is wired to see what it already believes.  For key decisions, take the extra time, use the additional energy and force the brain to look beyond its historical boundaries. Decision-making will improve, and your brain will be broadened for the next time.

motivation

The brain has two important electrical circuits for motivation. One activates feelings of reward and the other, feelings of threat. Whether staff, teams or clients, the reward circuit is the more reliable, long-term motivator of behavior. Unfortunately, the threat circuitry (via the amygdala) is more easily activated. The good news is that you can, with practice, consciously activate the reward circuit (via the ventral striatum). Here are five switches —the five Cs —that you can flip to activate the brain’s reward circuitry.

Control versus lost control. The brain likes to feel in control, so give others a sense of control to activate reward circuitry.  It doesn’t have to be full control. Let’s say your team resists a new process. To overcome resistance, activate reward feelings.  What part of the process can you relinquish control?  Can the team design the implementation plan, or evaluation methods? For a client who is unconvinced of the merits of a project, how can you engage their sense of control?  Can they set a trial period, the parameters for moving forward, the parameters to pull the plug?  What are creative ways to give over real, partial or perceived control?

Certainty versus uncertainty. The brain wants the world to be as it expects. If the brain is certain of the future, it feels comfortable. Uncertainty triggers alarms.

Situations that create a sense of uncertainty include: lack of transparency, no information shared from management, no performance feedback, leadership instability, ad hoc policies. How can you create certainty? For example, for those in government changing administrations create uncertainty. Will the new leadership be easy to work with; will they be supportive? Even without the answers you provide certainty by saying, “You may be concerned about the in-coming administration.  I don’t know them but here’s what I do know. We do good work and we will prepare information to clearly and concisely explain our work.”

Find ways to enhance feelings of certainty: Establish a clear timeline for a project; provide feedback to staff; be transparent; articulate a clear vision; or implement repeatable processes.

Connection versus disconnection. The brain craves connection to others.  In fact, research shows that we demonstrate more empathy, trust and cooperation with those to whom we feel connected. You naturally want to connect with those like you. But, there are in-groups and out-groups. Race and gender are simple examples, but it goes further.  Do you have multiple offices? Has your company merged? You may notice reluctant collaboration across locations or companies.

Thankfully, the brain accepts new connections.  Teams create connection by setting common goals, naming the team, establishing performance norms, and conducting team activities. For individual connection, seek out commonalities.  The gruffest colleague may soften when connecting about kids, sports or a shared hobby.

Clout versus lost clout. The brain really likes it feeling important, and it’s not just about raises or promotions. Think about circumstances that make you feel important: the really-big boss calls you by name; your input is requested; you are invited to lunch with the inner-circle; the client tells your boss about your good work.  In any of these, your brain does a happy dance. For your top performers, send a hand-written thank you note, go for coffee together, give a shout-out in a meeting, offer a career-development conversation.  Giving attention feels like clout. For clients, call them for input on a key decision; be explicit about the positive influence they had on the work. Remember, sincerity is key.

Consistency versus inconsistency. staff or clients, we are sensitive to being fairness and consistency.  You don’t want a client thinking, “They didn’t do that for me!” Morale is damaged when staff mutter, “She’s playing favorites again. John gets to do anything he wants!” The threat circuit is on fire and productivity plummets. People notice inconsistency. Policies and procedures are important to ensure fair treatment. A clear, replicable rationale for unique applications is key.  If you deviate from the policy, share your thought process so others understand. Take steps to ensure you are fair and consistent.

Keep the 5 Cs in view to remind you to activate the brain’s reward circuit. You will be rewarded with higher productivity and collaboration, and that’s something to be motivated about.

 

 

Holiday shopper

He died on September 1. I have not yet tackled his closet, clothes, shoes, sweaters and ties. But, living in the house, I run into what I call the “stuff of life.” It’s the stuff we collect, save and hang on to whether it makes sense or not. There are hearing aid batteries, belts, shoe horn, a bag from a conference that must have a good use, small soaps taken from a hotel. Then there are sweaters and ties from past Christmases; coffee mugs with funny sayings that were stocking stuffers; or the kitchen gadget that we never figured out what it was for. All this stuff swirls around a life until the life is gone. One day, like me, you must sort through it all. Instead of buying more of it, here are three ideas for gifts that will mean more and save time. You can use them at home or at work.

1. Handwritten note. In our house, there are two drawers filled with cards and letters from his daughter. He kept them all. But more importantly, his heart was filled with the love written into each beautifully worded note from his daughter, from me, family or friends. A simple note, thoughtfully crafted from the heart, is worth ten shirts. It couldn’t be easier. At work, write a note to express what you noticed about that person’s skill, dedication or work ethic. Tell them they are appreciated. At home, just write what’s in your heart.

2. An experience. Now, with him gone, I don’t think about the stuff. I remember his laugh at an off-color movie, or his joy at attending his first ballet (Swan Lake in Amsterdam), the stories from our drive through the Shenandoahs (we hit a bear – don’t worry, it didn’t seem to hurt us or the bear). Instead of a sweater, try doing on an experience together. The memory of the experience will last longer than the video game. At work, take staff to lunch or to a compelling movie and discuss it afterwards. At home, find an experiential event like wine tasting, a musical, baking holiday gifts together or decorating a gingerbread house. It’s a gift that will last.

3. A Visit. In our increasingly virtual world, we lose touch with the value of face-time (not FaceTime). There is still no substitute for a human connection. At work, get up from your desk and walk around. Stop into offices and cubicles to say hello and express gratitude – in person. And at home, call a friend and stop by for a holiday visit, coffee, lunch or glass of wine. The time together far surpasses that lotion and bath set.

My suggestion is that you stop a moment before logging on to Amazon for more shopping and take inventory of the people around you. What can you do that’s a bit more meaningful – a note, a short visit or an experience together? That’s what will bring a smile and be memorable long after the box of chocolates are gone.

FilterYou’re wired to see what you already believe. It’s a simple statement but the implications for decision-making are complex. What you already believe is built layer upon layer from your experiences which create a filter through which you see the world. Good decision-making relies on understanding how your brain’s filter colors perception and influences interpretation.

The brain is designed to be efficient and make good use of its energy.  The most energy efficient approach is for the brain to take in information around you and make it fit into your personal filter system. It may not be 100% correct, but it is efficient.  Take for example what happened to me last Christmas.

First, a word about my filter. My dad was a band director in the local high school in our small Texas town which was not a hot-bed of culture.  In our household, talk was not of cattle and farm equipment but of music.  I was the only 4th grader in town who could pick out an oboe by sight or sound.  Now fast-forward to last Christmas. I was driving past our local Salvation Army building.  Think about the Salvation Army particularly around the holidays. On this cold morning, there was a sign outside their local headquarters that read, “Bell ringers needed.”

“Wow.” I thought. “I didn’t know the Salvation Army had a bell choir! That sounds like fun.  I wonder when they meet?” I was a mile down the road before my brain began to register, “….Wait a minute. Bell ringers? Salvation Army? Oh….not a bell choir.”   My brain was wired to see what it already believed.

Now take that characteristic of the brain into decision-making.   Your brain is designed to create meaning from what it experiences based on your history. For example, if you interview someone who grew up in an environment similar to yours, your brain will naturally endow them with attributes from your experience which may not reflect their reality. You may also interview someone from a different background or culture. Your brain naturally doesn’t connect with them as easily. It may feel more effortful.

As a leader who makes tough decisions, you must be aware of and vigilant to this natural tendency. If not, you will only hire people you relate to, you can underestimate key trends that your brain doesn’t register, and you may ignore input from staff you if you don’t relate to them.

So how do you counteract your brain’s predisposition to see what you already believe.

  1. Seek out information from those with differing backgrounds. A male leader I interviewed said that he purposefully seeks input from women leaders because they “connect the dots better than men. They see things relationally where I don’t.” He forces his brain to see a situation differently. You can gather input across gender, race, and cultural differences as ways to broaden perspective. Also, talk with those who come from a different career path or different industry. This opens up new habits of thinking.
  2. Challenge your assumptions. Your brain is constantly making assumptions in order to be efficient. Get into the practice of noticing and challenging your assumptions.  This is good practice for your staff, too. Calling out assumptions forces them and you to think more deeply about the connections the brain is making about a situation. How can you make the phrase, “challenge the assumption,” a standard part of discussion?
  3. Force consideration of a different solution. When making a decision, ask yourself what would you do if your preferred approach was not available?  The preferred approach is likely aligned with your brain’s history. Take that option off the table for the sake of discussion and exploration.  Once again, you force the brain to look beyond its own filters for options that it discarded because they don’t fit the pattern.

Your brain is designed to quickly and easily match patterns and create meaning. That serves you well in many cases. In fact, we couldn’t function if we had to reevaluate every situation during the day.  However, leaders and managers need to be aware that their brain is wired to see what it already believes.  For key decisions, take the extra time, use the additional energy and force the brain to look beyond its historical boundaries. Decision-making will improve, and your brain will be broadened for the next time.

5434786_mThe big day was approaching. By “big day” I don’t mean election day (which can’t come soon enough) or a wedding day, I mean the Super Bowl—THE big day for U.S. sports fans. To be clear, I am not a U.S. sports fan, but even people like me watch the Super Bowl. My friend is a casual watcher of football but then on the lead up to Super Bowl he turns into a hardcore fan. He keeps up with all the latest news and even bets on the playoffs at https://www.fanduel.com/nfl-playoffs-super-bowl! It’s just something the Superbowl does to you. Not because of the game (maybe for the nachos and hot wings), but for the commercials. This year there was even a special television program recapping the top 50 Super Bowl commercials.

What’s your favorite Super Bowl commercial. …..got it? Maybe it’s the Mean Joe Green Coca-Cola commercial from years ago. Perhaps the one with the little boy dressed like Darth Vader who uses “The Force” to start his dad’s VW (my personal favorite); or the Cindy Crawford Pepsi commercial.

Super Bowl commercials have much to teach us about how to connect with and motivate people. We have a habit of relying solely on money and promotions to be the key motivators. They are referred to as extrinsic motivators. They work to a point. We underestimate the power of intrinsic motivators – those attributes of the job that makes us feel good about helping others and make us feel that we are using our skills well.

What neuroscience now shows is that intrinsic motivators such as doing work that benefits others activates the brain’s reward system.[i] As researchers Jesse Newton and Josh Davis state, “Management by objectives is a far more limited mental schema than management by aspiration.”

Consider Budweiser commercials. Budweiser had more commercials in the top 50 Super Bowls ads than any other company. With that many ads, we must be motivated to buy their beer because we know their high-quality ingredients and the details of their brewing process. Or not. Think about the content of Budweiser’s high-priced ads. For the most part, Budweiser devoted the most expensive television advertising opportunity to horses and puppies. Let me repeat that – horses and puppies. Why would they do that?

Budweiser like other savvy communicators (that’s what advertising is) understands that we (the brain) respond well to stories with emotional connections to the things we care about. Those horses and puppies are guaranteed to create an “aww” response. These are intrinsic motivators that motivate from inside.

As you consider your staff, what types of motivation do you rely on? Is all about the bonus at the end of the year or the promise of a promotion? If yes, you may be thinking, “Why is that not enough?” Easy. There are no horses and puppies.

I’m not saying you should stop bonuses or promotions…please don’t. I am saying don’t limit yourself to that. Add in a generous helping of intrinsic motivators. Recognize exceptional levels of effort and explicitly point out how that effort results in something good for others and for the company. Praise acts of kindness and collaboration when a team supports each other for the good of the whole. Their brains already are feeling good. You make the brain’s reward circuits dance with recognition.

We can do this if we shift our thinking. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have bonuses and promotions – we should. And, we need horses and

[i] Newton, Jesse and Davis, Josh. Three Secrets of Organizational Effectiveness.

 

 

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If you wish to purchase any product or service made available through the Service (“Purchase”), you may be asked to supply certain information relevant to your Purchase including, without limitation, your credit card number, the expiration date of your credit card, your billing address, and your shipping information.

You represent and warrant that: (i) you have the legal right to use any credit card(s) or other payment method(s) in connection with any Purchase; and that (ii) the information you supply to us is true, correct and complete.

The service may employ the use of third-party services for the purpose of facilitating payment and the completion of Purchases. By submitting your information, you grant us the right to provide the information to these third parties subject to our Privacy Policy.

We reserve the right to refuse or cancel your order at any time for reasons including but not limited to: product or service availability, errors in the description or price of the product or service, error in your order or other reasons.

We reserve the right to refuse or cancel your order if fraud or an unauthorized or illegal transaction is suspected.

Availability, Errors and Inaccuracies

We are constantly updating product and service offerings on the Service. We may experience delays in updating information on the Service and in our advertising on other web sites. The information found on the Service may contain errors or inaccuracies and may not be complete or current. Products or services may be mispriced, described inaccurately, or unavailable on the Service and we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information found on the Service.

We, therefore, reserve the right to change or update information and to correct errors, inaccuracies, or omissions at any time without prior notice.

Contests, Sweepstakes and Promotions

Any contests, sweepstakes or other promotions (collectively, “Promotions”) made available through the Service may be governed by rules that are separate from these Terms Conditions. If you participate in any Promotions, please review the applicable rules as well as our Privacy Policy. If the rules for a Promotion conflict with these Terms and Conditions, the Promotion rules will apply.

Intellectual Property

The Service and its original content, features and functionality are and will remain the exclusive property of Shelley Row Associates, LLC and its licensors. The Service is protected by copyright, trademark, and other laws of both the United States and foreign countries. Our trademarks and trade dress may not be used in connection with any product or service without the prior written consent of UberStrategist, Inc.

Links to Other Websites

Our Service may contain links to third party websites or services that are not owned or controlled by UberStrategist, Inc.

Shelley Row Associates, LLC has no control over, and assumes no responsibility for the content, privacy policies, or practices of any third-party websites or services. We do not warrant the offerings of any of these entities/individuals or their websites.

You acknowledge and agree that Shelley Row Associates, LLC shall not be responsible or liable, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with use of or reliance on any such content, goods or services available on or through any such third-party websites or services.

We strongly advise you to read the terms and conditions and privacy policies of any third-party websites or services that you visit.

Termination

We may terminate or suspend your access to the Service immediately, without prior notice or liability, under our sole discretion, for any reason whatsoever and without limitation, including but not limited to a breach of the Terms.

All provisions of the Terms which by their nature should survive termination shall survive termination, including, without limitation, ownership provisions, warranty disclaimers, indemnity and limitations of liability.

Indemnification

You agree to defend, indemnify and hold harmless Shelley Row Associates, LLC and its licensee and licensors, and their employees, contractors, agents, officers and directors, from and against any and all claims, damages, obligations, losses, liabilities, costs or debt, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney’s fees), resulting from or arising out of a) your use and access of the Service, or b) a breach of these Terms.

Limitation of Liability

In no event shall UberStrategist, Inc., nor its directors, employees, partners, agents, suppliers, or affiliates, be liable for any indirect, incidental, special, consequential or punitive damages, including without limitation, loss of profits, data, use, goodwill, or other intangible losses, resulting from (i) your access to or use of or inability to access or use the Service; (ii) any conduct or content of any third party on the Service; (iii) any content obtained from the Service; and (iv) unauthorized access, use or alteration of your transmissions or content, whether based on warranty, contract, tort (including negligence) or any other legal theory, whether or not we have been informed of the possibility of such damage, and even if a remedy set forth herein is found to have failed of its essential purpose.

Disclaimer

Your use of the Service is at your sole risk. The Service is provided on an “AS IS” and “AS AVAILABLE” basis. The Service is provided without warranties of any kind, whether express or implied, including, but not limited to, implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, non-infringement or course of performance.

Shelley Row Associates, LLC its subsidiaries, affiliates, and its licensors do not warrant that a) the Service will function uninterrupted, secure or available at any particular time or location; b) any errors or defects will be corrected; c) the Service is free of viruses or other harmful components; or d) the results of using the Service will meet your requirements.

Exclusions

Some jurisdictions do not allow the exclusion of certain warranties or the exclusion or limitation of liability for consequential or incidental damages, so the limitations above may not apply to you.

Governing Law

These Terms shall be governed and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of Maryland, United States, without regard to its conflict of law provisions.

Our failure to enforce any right or provision of these Terms will not be considered a waiver of those rights. If any provision of these Terms is held to be invalid or unenforceable by a court, the remaining provisions of these Terms will remain in effect. These Terms constitute the entire agreement between us regarding our Service, and supersede and replace any prior agreements we might have had between us regarding the Service.

Changes

We reserve the right, at our sole discretion, to modify or replace these Terms at any time. If a revision is material we will provide at least 30 days notice prior to any new terms taking effect. What constitutes a material change will be determined at our sole discretion.

By continuing to access or use our Service after any revisions become effective, you agree to be bound by the revised terms. If you do not agree to the new terms, you are no longer authorized to use the Service.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about these Terms, please contact us at info@shelleyrow.com

 

These terms and conditions were last updated on 5/21/18