Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Give a gift and get others to owe you

In the book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert B. Cialdini presents strong evidence that giving a gift to someone makes them feel obligated to repay it. Think about it, eating all those generous free samples at Costco, makes you feel a little obligated to buy some of those products…in some cases, products you would not otherwise have purchased. You may rationalize it by saying, “let’s try it.” After all, there is nothing wrong with trying new things, right?

Of course not. But for many of us, the act of receiving a “no-obligation” gift, makes us feel a little obligated.

Why not apply this well documented psychological principle with your people at work by giving them free gifts.

Try this out for the next two weeks at work and see what happens.

Give the following gifts at work:
  1. Give the gift of praise
  2. Public recognition
  3. Share people’s accomplishments with senior management
  4. Give the demonstration of respect - ask for their opinion and listen with genuine interest. Implement some of the ideas you heard
  5. Give the power to choose/decide how people do their work
  6. Give the freedom to set their own schedule
  7. Give the responsibility and authority to make decisions
Give these free gifts with no expectation of receiving anything in return. At least some of the people who received these gifts will feel some obligation to repay you…these will likely be your high performers.

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