I collect random interesting drivers of human behavior. Sometimes they give me an idea for this missive, sometimes they fit into a talk, and sometimes they are a great idea that helps me advise senior executives more effectively. Others are ideas that I’m sure will be useful for something sooner or later. While paging through a pile of such things I came across a few that have great management import but don’t jog my mind into writing a long piece about them. So…today I have a few random behavior drivers for you to ponder.
Chameleon Effect: research shows that if you mimic someone’s behavior you’ll like them more…and they you. –If you want someone to go away, do the opposite?
Fake Close Buttons: lots of crosswalk and elevator door-close buttons are fakes. They don’t do anything to speed up the door. They do give the impatient close button pusher the sense that they are doing something…and seem to make them think the door will close sooner. –Give people something to do even if it has no effect, and calm them down.
Placebo Effect: A drug study told patients two drugs cost $100 and $1500 respectively. Those given the more expensive drug showed greater improvement. Both were placebos. Even better, those told they took the more expensive placebo did almost as well as those given the real drug. –If people believe something strongly their mind will do amazing things with their body.
Color: red prompts people to focus on the shapes within an image while gray prompts them to focus on the composite image. –Think about this, gray causes us to focus on the forest while red causes us to focus on the trees.
Campbell’s Law: The more a given metric is used to measure performance, the less reliable it becomes as a measure of success. Why? People focus on what improves the measured metric while ignoring other things, sometimes to the point of cheating. –A problem with the current student standardized testing?
Hostile Attribution Bias: Our tendency to err on the side of assuming malevolence in the intentions of others. It ratchets up because the more we sense hostility in others the more aggressive we tend to be in return. –Stop the escalation…take a few deep breaths and count to 100 before responding to imagined slights.
I mention these six because of their management importance. All have the ability to significantly impact the performance of you and those around you for good or bad. Something for you to ponder as you wonder why minor events seem to set off major explosions in people you know or why some people always hit their numbers but are still lousy employees.