Top-Shelf Tip No. 020:

"When somebody says they need to refer to a committee before making a decision, you have the wrong person."

Jeanne Robertson, humorist

How To Nudge Your Team

As leaders, we are often trying to influence or nudge our teams along the right direction so they will make an impact on the business. Sometimes this influence is purposeful, but often times this influence takes place without you, as a leader, realizing it.

In this issue, Promotional Consultant Today shares these insights from business author Kare Anderson and the book, Nudge, by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein. It's a book about how we are influenced by what we see and hear, and a "choice architecture" that can nudge you in the right direction as well as help you nudge others.

1. Give them an obvious sign. To persuade more people to take the stairs, the Dutch organization, Hivos, painted bright red stripes from the lobby to the stairs. During the 24-hour experiment, they saw a 70-percent increase in the number of people who chose to climb the stairs. It's all part of their Seduction Project, a clever label that's sure to nudge people to volunteer for it.

We can also nudge people along in a similar manner. What symbolic scene can you use to nudge people to move along in the business environment?

2. Don't ask us to act against our best interests. Companies can create offers that nudge us to make bad decisions. For example, credit card firms get more money by suggesting, on the bill, a "minimum payment" option that tempts us to not pay the entire bill and thus pay more in interest to the credit card company's benefit.

When offered a choice, choose to "reverse engineer." In other words, decide what your most important need is in the situation, then look at the facts in that context to make your smartest choice.

3. Appeal to our better side. A hospital motivates more medical staff to wash their hands when they suggest it keeps patients safe. The anti-littering campaign in Texas (Don't Mess With Texas) was successful by appealing to Texans' strong sense of pride in themselves and their state. Two approaches were taken in these situations: To spur others to be proactive, speak to their positive side and proud self-image, and show that you assume your team will take the right actions and do the right thing.

4. Don't make us feel cornered. The counterintuitive way to pull others into buying or helping is to verbally reinforce, in a face-to-face situation, the feeling that they are, of course, free to do what they want. The exact language does not matter, according to several studies. Phrases such as "but you are free to … " or "but obviously, do not feel obliged … " seem to work equally well. Giving others the freedom and cues to talk themselves into something specific often increases the chances that they will.

Check your inbox tomorrow for more tips from PCT.

Source: Kare Anderson is an Emmy-winning former NBC and Wall Street Journal reporter turned speaker and strategist on quotability and connective behavior. She is also CEO of Say it Better Center, a TED presenter on Opportunity Makers and a TEDx speaker on Redefining Your Life Around Mutuality. She is also an advisor to Gloopt, Watermark, TEDxMarin and Raynforest; co-founded of nine PACs, and was a founding board member of Annie's Homegrown.

Compiled by Cassandra Johnson

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