1. Before you read the Conger article, thing about recent examples in which you tried to persuade someone else to adopt your view on an important issue. How did you go about this? What strategies did you use? After you read the Conger article, consider how your strategies compare to the recommendations made by Conger.
I work in consulting and was recently attempting to persuade a colleague to assist me in making multiple “pitch” presentations to a potential client. I explained to my colleague the revenue benefits and tried to impress upon him, through persistent verbal reasoning, that he played a key role in discussing past projects in order to crudentialize us as a trusted advisor. After reading the Conger article, I realized that instead of being vague and forceful in my verbal revenue argument I should have more effectively framed my request through presenting revenue data for each potential opportunity. I would have provided this data as a means by which my co-worker could see the revenue opportunity cost of him attending vs. not attending. Secondly, I realized that despite us seeing one another in the office I have never taken time in the past to build a relationship with my co-worker. He likely felt that I went to him when I needed him rather than working within a give-and-take foundational relationship.
2. In the article, “Harnessing the Science of Persuasion,” Cialdini explains six basic principles of persuasion. Of these six, which one would you select as the most important in the organizations you have worked for and why? Provide a concrete example of a time when you have seen this principle at work.
Within my current organization Cialdini’s principle of “Liking” is the most important for multiple reasons. First, I work in consulting and our entire business is service-oriented. Much of the new revenue we earn is due to starting and building upon relationships with clients. I often find this process is as easy as finding commonalities both professionally and personally (e.g., same business agenda, or kids that are similar in age, etc.). Many of our clients tend to skip the formalized procurement process once we’ve established the “Liking” principle with them, and award us work not having considered other vendors. Second, once a project is awarded to our firm we must build a team to execute the work. While people with specialized credentials must sometimes play a role, engagement teams are often selected for sought-after projects based on their general “likeability.” It is important to find similarities with and offer consistent praise to those partners within my firm that select teams for engagements that interest me the most.
3. If you were to write the ideal “recipe” for producing commitment, what would be the recipe? What aspects of your recipe have you seen used in your work experience? How do commitments “grow their own legs?”
Commitment is rooted in establishing credibility as a leader and effectively communicating the value of the work that your team completes. My work experience has proven that credibility is earned not just through being smart and knowledgeable but also by being a reliable and trustworthy person. People are more likely to commit to something if you have established rapport with them through acknowledging their good work, working late nights together, partnering on a presentation, etc. Secondly, I have also seen situations where other managers have not clearly explained to staff members the value of their work and how it fits into the broader objective or goal. Often, junior members in my company feel empowered or motivated in knowing how their work will ultimately, for example, be used to pursue a new revenue opportunity. Commitments “grow their own legs” through self-perpetuation. While sometimes initially challenging to get others to “buy-in” to a commitment, once committed people generally begin to deepen their commitment by finding new incentives and benefits outside those initially intended.