For many years already I’m subscribed to a service that sends me abstracts of book that might interest me. This service is called www.getabstract.com and they claim they have the largest library of business book summaries. Often I don’t take the time to even read the abstract, either because the title doesn’t intrigue me, or because I think I have enough books that I want to read first.
Not so last week when I received the abstract of a book that immediately caught my attention. The book is called
“How to get people to do Stuff”
by Susan M. Weinschenk PhD. Susan is a psychologist and behavioral scientist and shares in this book how to master the art and science of persuasion and motivation.
Now that is a topic that is of great interest to me 🙂
Why you are not willing to do something
As an accountant and controller serving clients for over 20 years, I know, that a lot of you business owners have a huge paper problem and are desperate to solve your financial puzzle. But even though your struggles can range from irritation, frustration, overwhelm to chaos and despair, most of you are not willing to do something about it.
when there is no “magic Pill”
Instead, you invest your energy in searching for that magic pill, hoping that there is something out there that prevents you from having to deal with papers and finances. So here I am again, the bearer of the bad News:
Just like that Chocolate/Cake/Muffin/fill-in-your-favorite-food-here diet that keeps you slim, fit, and healthy doesn’t exist, an I-don’t-have-to-deal-with-papers-and-finances-solution isn’t out there to be discovered either.
It does not have to be hard
Now the good news is, even though there is no magic pill for the paper problem and financial puzzle, it does not have to be hard or very time consuming either, IF I can convince you to have a system in place.
Unfortunately so far Nike’s slogan “Just do it” never motivated any of you really, so I eagerly dived into the abstract of Susan Weinschenk’s book to learn what it is, that will motivate you. The take-away is, that there are
“seven drives” that motivate people to do stuff.
The need to belong
It is about building social connections and then evoking a sense of belonging to the group. Most people want to be insiders. One of the actions we can take to do that according to Susan Weinschenk is engaging in synchronous activities like laughing or celebrating together. Apparently that releases oxytocin in our brain and gets us to be more trusting and empathetic. So this means for me, I could start a group where we laugh about our paper chaos and celebrate solving our financial puzzles on our way to peace. Who is in?
This is something I talked about before, it’s best to transform useful actions into automatic behaviors, I called it routines can be lifesavers (read more here
). What seems important is to have a cycle of “cue-routine-reward” to trigger and reinforce the habits. Susan mentions the “Couch to 5K” (C5K for short) jogging app that cues you to get moving, guides you through an exercise routine and rewards you with a progress chart. I used this app to run my first 5K this year and I am determined to work out a similar system to help you solve your paper problem and financial puzzle, I could call it C2P, from Chaos to Peace.
The power of stories
In short, if you start to believe a different story of yourself, your persona changes. Susan claims that story editing can fix even the most difficult self-stories, such as those involving post-traumatic stress disorder. So clearly, if it helps PTSD patients changing their story, your story of being bad with papers and numbers should be a breeze to change.
Carrots and sticks
Most of us know of this one, we have heard of Ivan Pavlov’s experiment with dogs. Pavlov trained dogs to associate a ringing bell with food. So according to this “carrots and sticks” drive I only have to find the right stimulus for the response I would like to get from you, then add a new stimulus to make your response automatic. I will get back with you on this one, I do have carrots in the fridge.
Fear motivates. Research confirms, that we should make people worry they might lose something they value. Apparently the prospect of gain motivates only to a degree, while fear of loss is much more potent. In my last post
I threatened you that your business could be dying without you knowing it, did that scare you at all?
The desire of mastery
Susan states that people seek expertise in skills that matter to them and that self-motivation trumps inducement. People also learn better with the right kind of feedback at the right time. So if I find a way to tell you at the right time that you are getting it right, I can motivate you to “just do it”
Tricks of the mind
Here Susan introduces Nobel economics laureate Daniel Kahneman who changed the way we think about thinking. He says that there are two distinct aspects of human thinking: System1I is automatic and makes quick judgments while System 2 takes effort and is energy-hungry. System 1 almost always trumps system 2 because our brains are lazy. They don’t want to work hard. Ha! Now I know why you are searching for the “magic Pill” .
Reading this abstract motivates me to read the whole book and learn to find ways to get you guys to do stuff. Not just any stuff of course, but the necessary actions to tame your paper monster and solve your financial puzzle. I will report back with my findings here on my blog,
I hope you could join the conversation. What exactly keeps you from tackling your paper mess and finances and which one of these 7 drives resonates the most with you? I look forward to read your responses.
Take good care
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