It’s important to understand how emotions and logic drive decisions. As professionals, whether you’re in sales, leadership, or any other role, the way you communicate and make choices can profoundly impact your organization’s trajectory. But have you ever wondered what’s driving these decisions beneath the surface?
Enter the world of behavioral economics – a domain that delves into the emotional, cognitive, and social factors that influence our choices, especially in organizational settings.
1. The Project Attachment Bias: This is a big one. There’s a theory called “Skunk Cost” that can apply directly to this notion. Consider a scenario where a team has invested months into a project, only to find that the market needs have shifted. Instead of changing, the team continues to pour resources into the project, driven by emotional attachment. For instance, a tech company might continue developing an outdated software feature, simply because of the time and effort already invested, even when newer technologies are available. Or you know you have a terrible relationship with someone, but you feel so vested in the time and energy spent, you’ll continue to stay.
2. The ‘Yes-Man’ Syndrome: In many organizations, there’s a tendency to agree with higher-ups, even if one believes the decision isn’t optimal. This behavior stems from the desire for social acceptance and the fear of repercussions. For example, a team member might agree to an unrealistic deadline set by a manager, fearing backlash or wanting to appear cooperative, even if they foresee potential challenges. This isn’t to be confused with being a “people pleasure”. Rather, this could be seen as more of malicious obedience driven by an underlying fear.
3. Innovation vs. Tradition: Companies often face the dilemma of innovating versus sticking to tried-and-tested methods. A classic example is the transition from physical stores to online platforms. While data might show increasing online sales, an emotional attachment to brick-and-mortar stores, coupled with a fear of the unknown, might deter a company from fully embracing e-commerce. There have been many cases of this over the years like Blockbuster Video or even Kodak who couldn’t let go of traditional film versus digital.
4. The Bonus Paradox: Imagine two scenarios – in one, employees receive a fixed yearly bonus, and in the other, they get surprise bonuses at random intervals. An employee might feel a greater sense of appreciation and motivation with unexpected rewards, even if the total bonus amount is the same. This mirrors the ‘Value Theory’ in behavioral economics, where unexpected positive changes boost happiness more than predictable ones. It’s crazy to think you can get more output from someone by giving project praise along the journey versus a huge award at the end.
Recognizing these behavioral biases is the first step towards harnessing them for positive outcomes. By understanding the emotional undercurrents that drive decisions, organizations can foster environments that encourage rational choices while respecting the human element.
For leaders, this means creating a culture of open communication, where employees feel safe to voice dissenting opinions. For sales professionals, it’s about understanding client emotions and biases to tailor pitches effectively.
Almost every “Professional Speaker” on the planet claims they’re number one in whatever topics they speak on. It’s not how many books you’ve written that matters, but rather what best practices you can transfer to the audience, based on a proven track record.
This is where Brian Parsley isn’t your ordinary presenter. He began his career selling door to door over 30 years ago. Since then he’s been a serial entrepreneur, building three highly successful organizations and selling two over the past two decades.
Brian is currently a managing partner in the global consulting firm, The Constance Group. His work has given him the opportunity to share his methodology and allowed him to use his gifts of teaching and speaking on an international platform on topics of sales optimization, building loyal customers, and leadership strategies that drive profits.
He teaches behavioral science around why people do what they do and how to manipulate challenging scenarios with good intent. His messages are powerful but filled with humor and stories so they resonate and can be recalled.
Fun fact, Brian has close to one million followers on TikTok doing fun pranks. He may be in his 50’s, but he’ll never lose his sense of humor.