A kind word and a gun

“You can get more with a kind word and a gun than you can with just a kind word.”

Al Capone

Lean is a team sport and one of the most important things to do is to communicate and influence others (remember, influencing is very different from manipulating). In most cases, aligning people to your project is the key for success, much more than the correct use of tools and techniques.

I attended a conference 2 weeks ago about the science of persuasion. This video summarizes the main ideas:

The basic concept is that people tend to say yes when any of these situations happen:

  1. People give back what they have received first, especially if it was personalized and unexpected (Reciprocity)
  2. People wants more of those things that are not abundant. The value of a product is as important as its cost of opportunity (Scarcity)
  3. People trust credible, knowledgeable experts (Authority)
  4. People like being consistent with the things they have previously said or done. This works best using voluntary, active and public commitment (Consistency)
  5. People tend to say yes to those they like: those who are similar to us, pay us compliments, have common goals (Liking)
  6. People like doing what similar others do (Consensus)

I found it interesting and I discovered that I had used the Consistency and Consensus principles in many projects to improve the chances of sucess. Anyway social sciences are never easy to validate and of course it is your choice to believe this or not.

By the way, the quote at the beginning of the post is often attributed to Al Capone, but in fact humorist Professor Irwin Corey said it. When you thought it was a Capone quote, were you more willing to believe it due to the Authority principle? 🙂

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