How To Make People Happy

Everyone loves to be associated with success.

Imperial messengers in old Persia had a precarious time. Assigned the task of updating their rulers on the progress of battles, they had special cause to hope things were going well. Upon arrival at the palace with news of an imminent victory, a messenger would be showered with rewards. But, should his news be less than positive, he was summarily slain.

The ‘shoot the messenger' effect is still alive and strong today with results that are a little more forgiving. Psychologists would call this association—we associate the news with the person (association can work in our favor too).

Today association manifests itself in the business world in many ways. A sales team, for example, might blame a failed contract on finance. Had the contract gone the other way, however, it would have most certainly been because of their skills.

Success or failure is complicated and can hardly be ascribed to one factor.

…So how can a business use the association principle for good by encouraging shared responsibility across teams and at the same time avoid its negative consequences that, in extreme circumstances, lead to a culture of blame?

Persuasion researchers believe it is important at the start of any new project to highlight partnerships or relationships that already exist between departments and ideally point out examples of how they have cooperated well in the past.

But what if no previous cooperation or relationships exist? Probably the most effective action is to become the business equivalent of a wedding planner and arrange initial meetings in a way that ensures people are quickly integrated with those they don't know. And when they meet for the first time it's probably a good idea to make sure that the first thing they share with each other is some good news!

Original source: