Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Golden Rule at Work

Yesterday, I posted my blog entry about the book The Go-Giver in the morning, and then at 11 am, I attended a presentation on campus by Bob Cialdini, author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. Cialdini was of course excellent, and the talk got my wheels turning on a number of things, including my most recent blog post.

In my blog yesterday, I wrote that there is no research evidence to support The Five Laws of Stratospheric Success, but as I listened to Cialdini, I was reminded of his first “weapon of influence” – reciprocation. Cialdini’s rule of reciprocation is based on solid research and might indeed provide some related support for The Go-Giver’s principles of value, compensation, and influence.

The rule of reciprocation says that we will usually try to repay in kind what another person has provided us. This rule permeates all manner of exchanges across every human society.

While we feel a powerful sense of obligation to give to others that which we have received, it does not require us to ask for what we have received in order to feel obligated to repay (p.30). Furthermore, the rule of reciprocity is so strong that it overwhelms liking as a weapon of influence.

If we create situations where others are indebted to us, they will feel a strong obligation to reciprocate in kind that is not dependent on how well they know and like us.

This principle is supported by credible social science research.

When it comes to our relationships with others, what goes around really does come around. Do unto others, and they will do unto you in kind.

Imagine that.

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