Making it Happen

Ken Haycock, USC Marshall School of Business (formerly San Jose State Library School)

“Satisfice”: satisfying + sufficing.

Decisionmakers often pick the first satisfying solution.

What problem are you trying to solve?

Decisionmakers may not have faced that problem. What problem that they face are you trying to solve?

Important to know whether they prefer quantitative (number) or qualitative (stories) evidence.

Money seems to flow to some people. We’re more likely to get support if we’re seen as credible and trustworthy. We do what we say we’ll do, we’ll report on it.

When librarians advocate, we’re seen as whiny and looking out for ourselves.

People do things for their reasons,not yours. We need to speak the language of the funders. What did the mayor say were the priorities for the city? Not how many people came to your employment sessions and how many enjoyed it, but how many actually got jobs.

if you don’t know what your boss’s objectives are, ask. Connecting agendas.

Show respect to your funders.

Can’t make withdrawals if you don’t make deposits. Build relationships. Let decisionamkers know what you do.

Timing, who’s involved, who’s a barrier, how can I make this a 3-year project rather than a 3-month project?

Most likely to be successful if you ask for what you want right up front. If you want $50K, ask for $50K, but say you could get by with $25K. Don’t ask for $100K thinking you’ll get whittled down.

Don’t get confused by attitude rather than behavior. They may be supportive but not give you money.

Universal principles:

1. Liking. We tend to listen more closely to people we like. Whether they think you like them.

2. Reciprocity. Gifts, but could be non-financial, like a gift.

3. Social proof or consensus. What are other people like us doing? Library directors looked at funding per capita ($29 to over $80). City managers looked at budget percentage (3.9% everywhere).

4. Authority. People listen to those who seem to know what they’re talking about.

5. Core values, public commitment. If people say something in public, they’re likely to stand by it. Also values. Does a politician talk about keeping taxes low or best return on the dollar?

6. Scarcity. People value what is scarce. We see ourselves as dealing in a scarce resource, but people see us as being in the information marketplace, which is rich and free. What is our value proposition? What is our unique resource? Our value, our scarcity is the expertise of our staff, not the building.

We tend to like those who are similar to us. You have to demonstrate that you like those who are different. You can ask the same questions. We tend to like those who praise us. Even more valuable if it’s second-hand. (The reverse is true: if you denigrate somebody behind their back, that gets back to them, too.) Working together on a team builds liking, too.

Reciprocity. A university president wrote 5 thank you notes every day. Good answer to thank you: “I’m sure you would do the same for me.”

Social proof: Testimonials from someone doing the same thing.

Authority: Doctors, etc. have their diplomas on the wall. Librarians often feel they’re arrogant if they point out their professional status, then get upset when the public thinks circulation clerks are librarians. We should dress professionally, too. Authority is enhanced if you acknowledge your weakness at the outset, rather than letting them discover it for themselves. Shows confidence.

SOPPADA = Subject, objective, present situation/problem, proposal, advantages of what you’re proposing, disadvantages of what you’re proposing, what actions you want taken. Often successful in proposals. Pointing out the disadvantages takes the wind out of the sails of those who want to find fault.

We rarely talk about core values. Things can get de-railed if somebody believes this isn’t what we should be doing. If people make a public commitment, they’re more likely to stick to it.

Scarcity: We are presented as scarce, but free. Ask yourself what you really add.

Networking. It’s hard to make people feel you like them if you’ve never met them. Show up, be seen.

4 Es: eye contact, extend hand, exchange business card, engage in conversation.

Connect agendas with people who think you like them, do something unique for the organization, and you will win.

Further reading:
“Work the Pond!”
“Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to be Persuasive”
“Influence: Science and Practice”
Articles by and about Cialdini in Harvard Business Review and Scientific American

Edited to correct some misspellings.

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