Inside Influence Report

 the rational animal


There is an intellectual train speeding our way, carrying a revolutionary payload for those who want to truly understand how people make decisions. Douglas Kenrick and Vladas Griskevicius are at the center of this scientific revolution, and their new book The Rational Animal: How Evolution Made Us Smarter Than We Think, gives us the inside story, with some important implications for anyone seriously interested in understanding the psychology behind business choices…as well as personal ones. 

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By Steve Martin, CMCTiStock_000021091949Medium

Business rarely pauses to take breath and when change happens it can often occur at lighting speed throwing up unexpected challenges. A sudden acquisition can mean that today’s competitor will be tomorrow’s colleague. A change in business model could result in a long-standing rival emerging as the perfect joint venture partner. A seemingly straightforward company restructure can lead to the merging of departments that previously didn’t see eye to eye.

Marriages like these can be challenging at the best of times. Even more so if those concerned have previously gone to great lengths to differentiate themselves from an adversary that they now find to be an associate. So when a wedding of opponents occurs what can be done to encourage people to accept former rivals as part of the new family? And how might they be persuaded to cooperate with new colleagues, work collaboratively and embrace joint efforts?

One potential answer comes from another group notorious for their fierce rivalries – sports fans. 

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ChoicesBy:  Steve Martin, CMCT

Imagine you need to persuade an individual or a group of people to complete a task that will take time, multiple steps and actions in order to achieve it.  Would you be more effective by taking a flexible approach and allowing them to choose the order in which they carry out the steps required? Or, would it be better to be rigid and prescribe the specific steps yourself?   

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The Harvard Business Review just published a new interview with Dr. Robert Cialdini on his insights into the uses and abuses of influence by Sarah Cliffe, Executive Editor. 


For some new insight and uses click here.  And please leave a comment to make your voice heard. 



Inside Influence Report, June 2013     iStock_000017297953Medium

Steve Martin, CMCT.

For regular worshipers attending Sunday prayers at St. John’s Church in the parish of Kirkheaton, a Yorkshire village in Northern England, the service on 18th November 2012 seemed like it would be pretty much like any other they had attended in the past. As they entered the church some nodded politely in silent recognition to fellow churchgoers who, in turn, would respond with a gentle wave as everyone took their seats. For many it would be the very same seat that they had sat in previous weeks and months.

Nothing at all appeared to be out of the ordinary.

But for the Reverend Richard Steel, Rector of the Church, things that day were anything but ordinary. He had a challenge on his hands. Over the past seven years a successful campaign had been run that had raised almost £500,000 ($750,000) towards repairs to the largely Victorian built church. Sadly though, it still wasn’t enough. The time had come when he needed to persuade his congregation to pull together one more time in a concerted effort to raise the extra funds required to complete the restoration.

But how? He surely recognized that, even though they hadn’t quite hit their target, the church had succeeded in generating an impressive sum of money. He also surely realized that those funds had been raised primarily because of the generosity and fundraising efforts of the local community. Persuading them to give even more was going to be a difficult pitch, but one that he would need to make, and to make convincingly. And make it he did.

Reverend Steel’s strategy was both inspirational and extraordinary. And not only did it provide his church with the much needed funds it required but it also provides us all with a wonderful demonstration of how to successfully deploy a fundamental principle of influence.

Reverend Steel decided that he was going to give away the church’s money.


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By Steve Martin, CMCTIAW

Today’s increasingly complex business world can serve up some pretty challenging situations that even the most seasoned of us will find difficult to navigate through. Thankfully though, there’s often a colleague, co-worker or friend who will be happy to pass on the benefit of their wisdom to help you deal with that difficult decision or knotty issue.

And while advice like “Why not sleep on it?” or “You should take a step back and view the issue from afar” certainly won’t be lacking in good intentions, it might sometimes be lacking a deeper understanding given that their appreciation of your situation will often be informed by nothing more than a quick and detached glance. But before completely dismissing their counsel it might be worth considering some new evidence supporting the benefits of consciously creating some physical distance from a problem at hand.

Perhaps even more interestingly, the insights from these studies are not only instructive when it comes to helping you to solve problems or make decisions. Especially during the early stages of making a business proposal or a sales presentation, asking potential customers and clients to take a step back before they consider your products and services could actually make it easier for them to do business with you.    

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Cialdini, one of the greatest social thinkers of our time.
Adam Grant, Author of Give and Take

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