All Posts By

Ida del Mundo

834: How to End Micromanagement Once and For All with Lia Garvin

By | Podcasts | No Comments

 

 

Lia Garvin discusses how employees and managers can work together to put an end to micromanaging.

— YOU’LL LEARN — 
1) The three telltale signs of micromanaging.
2) How micromanaging makes everyone less effective.
3) How to expertly respond to a micromanager.

— ABOUT LIA GARVIN — 
Lia Garvin is the bestselling author of Unstuck, TEDx speaker and workplace strategist with experience leading team operations across Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Bank of America. As the Founder of the The Workplace Reframe organizational strategy firm, she equips innovative organizations of any size and industry with the tools to cultivate inclusive, motivated, high performing teams resulting in higher retention, more efficiency, and better business results. She is a sought after expert in the media, featured across Inc, FastCompany, ABC News, CNN Business, US News & World Report, HBR, and more.
• LinkedIn: Lia Garvin
• Website: LiaGarvin.com

— RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THE SHOW — 
• Tool: Otter.ai
• Study: Women in the Workplace study
• Book: Lead to Win: How to Be a Powerful, Impactful, Influential Leader in Any Environment by Carla Harris

— THANK YOU SPONSORS! — 
 BetterHelp. Become a better version of yourself with online therapy. Get 10% off your first month at BetterHelp.com/awesome

Lia Garvin Interview Transcript

Pete Mockaitis
Lia, welcome back to How to be Awesome at Your Job.

Lia Garvin
Thank you so much for having me. So excited to be back.

Pete Mockaitis
Well, I’m excited to dig into what you’ve been up to lately, and I understand, in particular, you have developed a fascination with the topic of micromanagement. What’s the scoop here?

Lia Garvin
Yes, with micromanagement and how to end it once and for all, I would say.

Pete Mockaitis
Yes. Well, lay it on us, what’s the story?

Lia Garvin
Yeah. Since we last met, I actually ended up leaving my corporate job and launching an organizational consulting business really dedicated to bringing out the best in teams. And since we’ve all heard people don’t leave jobs, they leave managers, diving in and really making sure managers are equipped with the tools they need to be effective and empower their teams, that was one of the first places that I wanted to start. And then micromanaging was one of the biggest sorts of acute problems in that space.

Pete Mockaitis
Well, yes, I’ve heard it many a time. So, maybe to kick it off, could you precisely define what is micromanagement? Because some folks will say, “Oh, no, no, that’s just management,” like if there’s a gray zone. Is there a bright dividing line between, “This is when you’ve gone too far, buddy”?

Lia Garvin
So, I think a lot does depend on the kind of job and the industry, so I’ll say that. I don’t think there are the hard and fast answer that applies to every situation, and I think that’s where it can get tricky because if we’re used to something in one environment, we may be bringing that to the next environment. Let’s say we’re in a sort of job where instructions need to be followed exactly one specific way. And if you deviate from that, it’s a real problem, maybe a safety issue.

Let’s say we bring that into a job that’s more about ideas and many paths to success, then you’re going to be in a real complex. So, I think the first thing to do before we dive into how to recognize if you’re micromanaging is if you’re a manager, to being open to adjusting, and saying, “Hey, what’s the right way to interact with my teams depending on what kind of the working norms are in this team?”

So, as I thought about it a lot, reflected on my own personal experience with many, many managers over the years and feedback that I heard from other colleagues, I think there was three real tells that I landed on around how to know when you’re a micromanager. And the first one is you are spending every waking moment in meetings.

So, this is a big problem that I think has gotten even worse with COVID and remote work and everything we do with a video conference but this is not an excuse to not reflect and say, “Hey, am I in the right meetings?” So, when a manager is in every single meeting, it’s a sign that they’re too far in the weeds, they’re too much in the details. And if you are finding yourself where you have no time to drink a glass of water, go to the bathroom, or eat lunch, there’s an opportunity to let your team members step up.

And so, I would suggest in that situation to take a look at your calendar and see, “Which meetings am I absolutely critical, critical to be at? Am I a decider? Am I approver?” And all the rest, which one of those could you delegate to somebody else to drive?

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. And what are the other two tells?

Lia Garvin
Number two is everybody’s coming to you for every single little decision, nobody is actually taking action, it’s always coming back to you. This is a sign that people either don’t feel empowered to make decisions, or they think that you want to be involved in making all the decisions. So, if you’re finding yourself where every single kind of question decision comes to you, this is a moment to have a conversation with your teams around what decisions you want to be and should be involved in, and which they’re empowered to run with on their own.

So, I think sometimes one thing I’ve suggested to managers is to classify the kinds of decisions, “Which ones are this category where they need leadership, discussion, and buy-in? And which ones can they push on the organization?” Because if everyone is coming to you, that means they’re responding to a signal you’ve probably sent them.

Pete Mockaitis
All right. And number three?

Lia Garvin
And the third one is if people are constantly telling you, “Hey, I have bandwidth. I’d like to take more things on,” kind of putting the line out there, and you’re not taking them up on it. It’s a sign that people are asking for you to let go a little bit, and in that moment, it’s important to reflect on, “Hey, am I taking them up on it?”

I think a lot of times we don’t realize how we’re coming across. When we’re at meetings…Oh, my gosh, did you hear that? That was a huge lightning and thunder.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, was that the scraping of the du-du there?

Lia Garvin
No, there’s a huge thunderstorm.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, that’s actually in the environment. I thought, “Oh, hey, we bumped the mic.” It happens. Okay. Well, do you want to try again? The third thing…

Lia Garvin
So, the third thing is when people are continually coming to you and saying, “Hey, I have bandwidth. I want to take on more responsibilities,” or, “What can I help with?” and you’re not necessarily taking them up on it. And this is a sign that people are recognizing that you may be spread really thin as a manager, you’re not noticing it, or you’re holding on to too many things. And when people are actually asking you to let go, that’s a real moment to listen to them and think about that.

And if you’re finding that situation, it’s a moment where you can think about, “Well, what are all the tasks on my plate? What’s everything I have this week or this month? And what are the things I can let go of that are actually worthy for someone else to take on?” Delegating isn’t about giving people all the list of stuff you didn’t want to do, that nobody wants to do.

It’s about finding, “What are the high-impact activities that someone else can do that’s going to be worthwhile because it gives them visibility or development opportunity, or something in line with where they want to go in their career?” So, if we’re finding ourselves in those three places, too meetings, too much control over decision-making, and people are asking for more, that’s a sign, “Oops, I’m in too deep. Got to take a step back and let go a little bit.”

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. So, that’s how we know when we’re there. And I’m curious, could we maybe zoom out a little bit on the macro scale, do you have any sense for just what’s the cost of micromanagement? And I don’t know if there’s a study, like billions of dollars, or attrition rates, or percentage of people who say they suffer it. What’s kind of the scope of things here?

Lia Garvin
Yes. So, there’s a lot of data coming out of the Gallup organization around employee engagement going down. And one of the big reasons that’s cited is a micromanager, or feeling your manager either doesn’t have the right sort to skills, is not invested in you, or is not managing effectively. And I think the cost of someone being a micromanager is pretty widespread.

So, first, for the manager themselves, they are so much more likely to reach a state of burnout because they are taking on too much. And so, I think if only it affected the managers, this is already really an expensive cost because people are getting burned out. They’re feeling like, “Okay, I can’t scale right now. Folks are having to do more with less, with layoffs and cutbacks.”

And so, it ends up putting so much more work on someone’s plate and creating more single points of failure. But it’s really detrimental to the broader team because when people can’t step up and own more, they often feel kind of disillusioned with the work. They start losing motivation. I think this is a real contributing factor to quiet quitting, people feeling like, “Well, I’m kind of giving it bare minimum and that’s about it because I’m not really empowered to do more.”

And, also, what can lead to so many people leaving the workforce because they’re not given the space to really grow, to demonstrate their strengths, to solve problems in their own way. So, micromanagement, I think, can really light the spark that starts to have someone questioning, “Do I have a future here on this team?”

Pete Mockaitis
Absolutely. And then I’d love to get your take, what’s your sense of…I’m going to trim that out. Okay, we’ll just see how this goes. All right, Lia, so we’re talking micromanagement. We’ve also had some guests speak about the concept of undermanagement, they’re kind of managers sort of checked out, not paying attention, not really aware of the stuff that folks are working on. Do you have a sense for which is more dangerous?

Lia Garvin
Ooh, I love that. I think it goes back to depending on the situation and, potentially, the level of seniority that you’re managing, the level of complexity of the work. But undermanaging is a serious issue especially for folks that are newer, if there’s no onboarding, if you kind of get hired, you’re working out a year, bedroom, you haven’t seen anybody in person, and you’re trying to figure out how to navigate life in a new company, and your manager said, “Okay, figure it out.”

This can drive that same sense of disconnection with the work and with the company than having someone with all the details because you feel like you’re left on an island and you have no idea what to do. So, I think they both have serious consequences but they both kind of have the same, I would say the issues at its core, of a manager not having potentially the right confidence or the right skillset around how to actually manage effectively.

So, there’s a real skill gap, and that’s what I love to dive in with teams, is just figuring out, “Well, here’s the sharing, the fundamental skills that will help bridge that gap, how someone can feel more comfortable assigning responsibilities, or reining it in a little bit, but finding that balance, finding your own authentic style, and then where to deploy these different tools and different situations.”

Pete Mockaitis
And do you have a sense for, given the state of management these days, roughly what proportion of managers are micromanaging, managing about right, versus undermanaging? It may vary wildly by industry, by geography, but what’s your sense on the ground?

Lia Garvin
I got to say I think a lower number are managing just right.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay.

Lia Garvin
I don’t know, I would say, the under and over. I think I know less about, like, the percentages-wise. I think what I would guess is they come as a pair. Micromanaging can often look like that helicopter managing, which you know we’ve all heard of helicopter parenting, where you’re really, really in it and you’re kind of out on the sidelines where I think it can look like both.

And for different people, I think, doing micromanaging and then being absent, that’s a reaction to needing a sense of control, or feeling stressed, or feeling overwhelmed. People sort of fall onto these different patterns. So, I think it could both be a personality type and situational, which is your tendency as a manager when you have this skill gap. But I think, like I said, the lowest, and I got to say I think the lowest percentage would be people that found that balance and are doing it just right.

And that is because, again in this Gallup data, most managers are in the position of a people manager because they’ve been in the company a long time, or they were a really, really strong individual contributor, or they have really strong technical skills, so they’re given a team, and it’s like, “Go for it.” And there are some stuff that’s got to happen between getting a team and leading a team effectively that, I think, not enough companies are investing in.

Pete Mockaitis
Understood. Well, let’s say we see some of ourselves in that description, we’ll go both sides, as the manager and the managee, or the person working with the manager, if we are the manager and we’re doing some micromanaging, how can we cut it out?

Lia Garvin
So, the first thing I think, one of the actually…I’d say redo.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay.

Lia Garvin
So, I think the biggest thing that managers can do is switch from problem solving to coaching because when managers take on the responsibility of, “A team member brought this up, so I need to solve it for them,” they are never going to teach that person how to fish, so to speak. They’re always going to be needed to solve that problem again and again.

And so, talking to your team members using a coaching mindset, using open-ended questions when someone comes to you, saying, “Hey, I can’t solve this problem,” you’re saying, “Here’s how I would’ve done it.” You jump right in with a solution. That person hears that and maybe they go in, take that solution, and they don’t deploy it exactly as you would, and then they’re still stuck. Or, they take the solution and they deploy it, and it works out well, but then that happens again. Now, they come back to you for another solution.

So, I think when folks come to us with a problem, one of the easiest reframes a manager can do is to ask some open-ended questions, “What do you think went wrong? What are some of the other factors we can consider here? What did you learn here that you want to try next time?” So, these different kinds of open-ended questions allow the problem to be kept in the sort of problem-bringer’s court so that they’re working through the solution.

There’s absolutely opportunity to course-correct, and say, “No, no, no, here are some of the things that I’ve seen go wrong in that situation,” or offer more support, but really keeping that in the other person’s court helps ensure that you’re not holding on to too much control over a problem.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. Anything else?

Lia Garvin
Yeah, I think I mentioned the strategies of making sure you’re checking in with yourself continually. I think for managers, when you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed or burned out, or you’re in too many things, to just check in. So, maybe you start and put in the calendar, “Every Friday, I’m going to do a gut track. What does my calendar look like?”

“What kind of questions did people bring me this week? Where does my delegating look like?” so that you’re not letting it get too far where it’s been six months and you realize, “Oh, gosh, I’m in it and I think people are starting to quit, and I didn’t even realize it.” So, I’d say, to really have a routine where you check in on those three tip-offs of being really too far in the weeds so that you can course-correct before it gets worse.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. And if we are the one being micromanaged, how do we speak up effectively? That could be tricky, that managing up discomfort.

Lia Garvin
Oh, it can be really tricky. And this is why I think sometimes we take the route of just quitting, and going, “Well, I’m going to look for someone because I don’t want to deal with it.” I think a lot of folks struggle with doing that managing up, as you call it out, and giving that feedback.

And so, I think a couple things that I’ve tried in my career, I’ve seen folks find in order to deal with this, are, first, have a conversation with your manager around skills and things that you want to develop so that, at least, you’ve put it out there on, “Hey, here are some projects I’m interested in taking on this year. Here are some different things that I want to be building. Here are some things I’m interested in.”

So, you, first, feel like, “Okay, I’ve done the first step of having the conversation, putting it out there,” to the extent that you feel comfortable. If you’re in a situation where your manager, let’s say, dives in and starts, like, line-editing an email you sent, or telling you who to add to all the invites to a meeting, or whatever is happening that feels a little bit heavy-handed, saying something like, “I’m really excited to take the lead on this and to try and demonstrate that I kind of got this and I’ve figured it out, so I’d love the opportunity to take the first step and then come back to you for feedback.”

I’ve tried this, something along those lines, and it’s been well-received because you’re not saying in an accusatory way. You’re framing it around the way that you’re wanting to learn, and a good manager wants you to be wanting to learn, so it’s a little bit of a win-win there, and you’re still offering them an opportunity to give feedback.

So, you’re not saying, “Get out of here. I got this,” but you’re saying, “Hey, I’d like to try this. And can we check in once I’ve done the first round of it so that I can learn and then you still have an opportunity to give feedback?”

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. Cool. Well, now could you give us some stories, examples, case studies, with just…what’s the word I’m looking for? Let’s see. No pressure. Sometimes I just think…this happens to me a lot, this is where I am in interviewing these days. Sidebar. It’s like I can imagine a dream-come-true response, but just like asking that direct question directly feels invasive, like I’m putting someone on the spot and setting them up to fail. So, that’s what I’ve been thinking about.

So, here’s what I really want, Lia. Give me awesome stories and examples full of so much detail I can feel my skin crawling with dread in self-recognition of the profound discomfort of being in that micromanagement space. So, see, that’s a ton of pressure. It doesn’t feel great. So, like, how does I say that better? That’s what’s going on in my head when I pause, Lia.

Because I like what I said, when you said, like, the specific people to add onto the email, like, “Oh, I can see myself there. Laptop and someone over my shoulder, and pointing, and me being like, ‘I hate this.’” I love that. I love that visceral emotional juiciness, and I want more of it. So, I’m curious if you’ve got some clients or horror stories that you can share with us. And now I’ll just ask that question like a normal person.

Well, Lia, could you give us some really juicy stories of micromanagement and the uncomfortable details folks are living with and, hopefully, some happy endings for how they resolved those issues?

Lia Garvin
Yes, absolutely. So, one of the examples that comes up a lot is with writing and communication. I mentioned line-editing emails, and I worked with folks that have shared they’ve had managers where they had to…let’s say they had to send out an email that’s going to the whole team, maybe a couple hundred people, and the manager wants to read the draft of the email, give inputs, they have 95 iterations.

Then it goes from structure into word choices, then you have a really robust in the Google comments on the side, a discussion of “Do we even want to send this? Is this the right word?” you’re getting grammatical suggestions, you’re getting all sorts of things, another person is added to the chain, that person is removed, we go back to thinking, “Do we want to do this email?” when you’re just supposed to write one email that was going to not really be a big deal. It’s announcing, like, a lunch that’s happening next Friday.

And so, I think this is the kind of thing that happens, is someone either they’re feeling out of control and so they go in and they just go to town on you. Imagining if you’re that person, “I was just trying to send this email out,” and the amount of kind of time and energy being spent on picking apart your little insignificant trivial email, it starts to really feel yucky for that employee.

Pete Mockaitis
It does, indeed. And so then, in that world, do we do just the things you mentioned? How might we say that? Like, “Hey, I’d love to show you I got this. I’d love to demonstrate my skills. I’d like to take the first crack at it.” It sounds like there are multiple cracks taken in this story.

Lia Garvin
Right. Which of the cracks are we…? Well, I think in that situation I might ask, and again it always depends on the relationship with our manager. I want to caveat that because I know some people listening might say, “Well, I can’t say that to my manager.”

So, let’s say if you have a dialogue where you feel like you could say something on the lines of, “It’s looking like we’re spending a lot of time on this email, and I want to better understand which of the situations where we really want to roll up our sleeves and dive in with this level of involvement? Or, which are the ones I can kind of run with to just be done with and get off our list?”

So, I think it can sort of flag, like, “Hey, this is a little bit much,” and also giving opportunity for feedback by asking an open-ended question that doesn’t sound defensive.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. Could you give us some examples of these questions or key verbiage, sentences you love that can be really handy here?

Lia Garvin
Yes. So, I think a little phrase that’s really useful is “I want to better understand.” Another could be, “So we can all be successful, I’m eager to learn and give this a try on my own, to build up my own skills here.”

Pete Mockaitis
Yeah, “I want to better understand” is way better than “So, what’s your deal, dude?”

Lia Garvin
“What the hell, man?” Yeah, exactly.

Pete Mockaitis
I like that. Well, and that really does help you out because that’s, I think, what’s frustrating with the micromanaging situation, is that that’s how I felt, it’s like, “Am I missing something here because it seems like this isn’t that big of a deal? You know, the time and effort and iterations you’re putting on this would make it seem like it is a big deal. So, seriously, help me, like, genuinely, help me understand. Isn’t this just a fun lunch that we’re announcing? Does it matter if everyone goes or doesn’t go?”

And then maybe, sometimes you’ll get a great answer, it’s like, “Well, actually, the issues being discussed at this lunch are very sensitive from a legal and liability perspective, so it’s very important that we don’t say anything that, in the course of a discovery, should we be sued, is going to put…” It’s like, “Oh, I had no idea.”

Lia Garvin
“Well, now I know.” Yeah.

Pete Mockaitis
“Well, thank you, that makes a lot of sense why we’re getting into it.” Or, maybe they’ll just chill out, it’s like, “Yeah, you’re right. I’m sorry.”

Lia Garvin
Exactly, yeah. And the key here, I think, a couple things, is really it could be frustrating when you’re in that moment, it’s like, “Oh, my God, literally, what’s going on?” When you’re under the micromanagement wrath, it can be very frustrating. But to take a step back, to sort of let that subside, to remove the frustration from the way you’re communicating, and to not come across as defensive, offensive, whatever, whichever one is more appropriate, like to not come forward with that.

Because I think when someone on the counterpart feels accused, it just makes it…it throws the whole thing off, and that’s going to be, I think, someone could say, “Well, of course, it’s important.” Especially, if they had a real big reason, they could think, “How do you not know that? Are you not taking care in time?” So, I think really having the conversation when you’re not feeling defensive or frustrated, really having an open, with curiosity, “I’m genuinely curious around this level of oversight and involvement, I’d love to learn more, I’d love to better understand.”

And so, this might mean it should not be written in an email or a chat. Like, I think there’s so much open for misinterpretation in written communication that just walking up to your…if you’re in person, walking down to your boss’ desk, and saying, “Hey, got a second? I want to better understand,” or asking to have a quick five-minute meeting over video conference, I just think it’s going to spare so much further miscommunication to actually talk face to face or over the phone if needed.

Pete Mockaitis
And as I think about the times I’ve been micromanaged, it’s funny, I think sometimes it’s my own fault and it’s necessary, it’s like, “Hey, Pete, there were several errors last time that were problematic, so we’re going to take some time to make sure we go through those.” And, in a way, that really was coaching.

But it felt like, “You’re all up in my business and I don’t like it,” but the older, wiser Pete recognizes it was necessary at that time and that season and that piece of work in that context for them to be up in my business, even though it was unpleasant and I didn’t like it. So, I think those were kind of my takeaway.

Lia, is it fair to say, sometimes, like the boy who cried wolf, the colleague who cried micromanagement, it may, in fact, just be appropriate management that just is uncomfortable and unpleasant in the moment?

Lia Garvin
Absolutely. And so, this is why one of the core programs and workshops that I offer for teams is how to give feedback effectively because, I think, feedback given ineffectively can feel like micromanagement. When you don’t have a strong relationship with your team, it can feel like micromanagement but, actually, we should be able to give feedback.

And I don’t want any manager listening to this to go, “Well, I can’t say anything to my team members.” It’s not that. It’s about, I think we said in the beginning of the conversation, getting to understand the style of communication that’s really the norm in the organization, in the company, in the team, and then meeting that, and if you’re really finding yourself hitting those kinds of tip-offs.

And that’s why the tip-offs weren’t people coming to you and saying, “Stop micromanaging.” It’s like, “What are the external signals that I’m too much in the weeds?” And so, that’s the difference there, is if we’re finding, then it’s a moment to check in. But giving feedback is critically important, and it’s one of the most important things you can do as a manager. And receiving feedback effectively is one of the most important things you can do as a non-manager because this is how you’re going to grow and develop.

So, I think feedback and micromanaging is very different. I typically see micromanaging as level of involvement, I think, in your direct reports or in your management chain beneath your business affairs day to day. And then if your level of involvement sort of could feel like you may think it’s feedback if it’s around some kind of deliverable.

But feedback, let’s say, on an email or on a presentation is reviewing it at a certain point maybe later on, not every second, and then giving some specific tips and waiting for someone to come back to you, as opposed to rolling up the sleeves and thinking you’re going to sit side by side and finish banging out the email together.

Pete Mockaitis
Yeah, I think that expectation alignment is huge because, like, when it comes to decision rights or how that unfolds. I’m thinking other times I felt micromanaged, both of them I was like planning social stuff, and so I thought, “Okay, this is just for the kids,” if you will, the folks on the team who are in larger numbers, and there are relatively fewer sort of managers, directors above.

And, one, it was to say, “Okay, so what are going to do for the office-wide fun time?” And so, I did the survey, I put it out there, and I said, “Hey, what do you know, sailing is the thing they like the most out of the options. That is kind of cool.” And so, this director just kept digging into it, like, “Well, I’m curious if we really segment that data, my hypothesis is there’s a small subsegment of folks who are strongly in favor of this sailing, and many others…”

And it was like, “Okay, that is pretty convoluted, and, well, no, we could slice the data survey another way,” which we had, which is kind of ridiculous for a survey about the social stuff, it’s like, “Well, no, it still looks like this.” And then so what my takeaway was, “All right, dude, you just don’t want us to go sailing. It’d be nice if there were options that were totally unacceptable to you that you just let us know in advance, like, ‘For whatever reason, hey, sailing sounds really cool and fun but we can’t do that because of X, Y, Z. that’s going to be problematic for a large swath in our office who are seasick.’”

I was like, “Okay, fair enough. All right, you know what, we won’t even put it on the survey, and it’s good to know that upfront,” as opposed to, “We’re all stoned out sailing and then…”

Lia Garvin
And he said no, yeah.

Pete Mockaitis
Then to approve for these not great reasons in terms of, like, if we squint and sliced the data in such a way we can get there. And other times, there’s just a team event, like, “Hey, let’s go let’s do laser tag.” And I guess the manager who was in the room, and there was a lot of enthusiasm for that, like, “Yeah, yeah, let’s do it,” and he’s like, “You know, I don’t recall seeing a survey collecting the team input regarding the team activity.” I was like, “Oh, sorry. Well, we just got to talk about a few things, and this one was, by far, had the most energy and enthusiasm.”

And so, it was just sort of like…and then I was sort of shamed for inappropriately gathering incomplete feedback. It’s like I would just respect them so much, it’s like, “Dude, just say, ‘Hey, I want to participate, too. I know this is like for the kids or ‘whatever’ and I hate laser tag, and so I’d really appreciate it if you could find something else to include me.’” I guess maybe that’s too humble and vulnerable, or I don’t know, for them.

Lia Garvin
No, but I think that and then the example around the previous, where we’re talking about the email, what you’re saying is it’s transparency and context. Like, if there was a reason, say it upfront.

Pete Mockaitis
Totally, yeah.

Lia Garvin
Yeah. And I think you mentioned director in that, and that stood out to me as I think that’s a real…the level of seniority and the level of depth should match. And I think that’s another thing that can be frustrating, is when you have a VP or SVP or director that’s very in the details around planning something or orchestrating something that it just doesn’t feel like an appropriate match.

I think a senior leader, it’s really critically important to demonstrate interest and support for the team, this kind of stuff, but is it really necessary to be providing inputs on activity level beyond setting some expectations and constraints? Not really. Because what happens is that person, whether they mean to or not, will have veto power because they have the highest level of hierarchy, and then it throws off the whole dynamic.

So, I think for any senior leaders listening to this, I’d say recognize your own position in a company or a team, and think, “Hey, do I need to be in this conversation? Am I actually inadvertently throwing it off? Am I sharing my opinion and it’s carrying more weight because of my hierarchy, when it really shouldn’t?” and then taking a step back.

Pete Mockaitis
Certainly. And just expectation, alignment, I guess I was thinking, like, “Hey, the senior leaders…” I guess the way I view the activities were, “These are primarily for us, because, one, we outnumber you, and, two, you make gobs of money, and then this is part of the recognition and appreciation for that.” So, anyway, maybe that’s an unfair view or characterization or expectation for the social activities. Wow, this is really…

Lia Garvin
Well, that’s interesting because I had that same observation working on my roles in tech or around team operations and establishing team process. And I always found that the recipients of process were actually very open to it. It was like other people that would say, “Oh, I don’t know about this,” other team operations or other managers, never the recipients of that thing.

And I think I understand what you’re saying because, like you said, the people that want it, they were going to engage in the activity, they’re all like downed with the laser and with the sailing. And so, that’s another question maybe to think about when you’re maybe shutting down an idea or giving feedback. When I talk about feedback, I always think I encourage people to ask, “Am I the right person to give that feedback?”

And so, in your situation, like, “Am I the right person?” is, “Am I even attending this event? Do I really care? And what’s my stake in this situation?” And I think, for the leaders in your situation, it’s like, “You know, I’m best suited just to support the activity, to pay the bill, and show up and welcome everybody, and like leave it at that.” So, yeah.

Pete Mockaitis
Yeah. And then, again, if they had a differing expectation, it’s totally cool to share that, it’s like, “Hey, you know what, this is a cool opportunity we have to really just flatten the hierarchy, in which the managers, directors, VPs, whatever, get to be silly and ridiculous right alongside, and it’s so stressful dealing with blah, blah, blah.”

Lia Garvin
Exactly. So, it’s setting that context up front.

Pete Mockaitis
“So, I know it might seem silly but we want to play, too.” And I would find that endearing, it’s like, “Okay, okay, director. Thank you. I understand. That’s cute. Let’s do this thing you like, too.”

Lia Garvin
Exactly. And so, like you said, it’s setting the context. I think with these team-related activities, there’s a lot of…I think it’s really important to be inclusive, make sure everybody can actually participate in the activities, that there’s not overtly focused on alcohol, or in they’re in the right times of day where people can participate if they have to be doing caretaking and pickup.

So, like there’s a lot of constraints, and I think sometimes, so it’s really important for leaders to set that context for folks so that they can then plan something that’s inclusive and appealing to everybody. So, there’s a lot to navigate, and it can be a trap for micromanagement, so a little bit of both.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, it really can because I think it’s funny because, it’s like, “All right, let’s let the junior employees run with something.” It’s like, “This isn’t that important so you can just own it, but you don’t own it.”

Lia Garvin
Yeah, “But you don’t really own it.” And so, this is something when I talk about delegating that is so critically important, is there’s a lot of ways in delegating but saying, “What is the task? What does success look like? And then what is my expectation of involvement?” I think that’s the one thing that managers don’t always talk about.

They say, “Okay. Here, go run with this. This is what success looks like. We’re all good.” And then the manager is like, “Well, where we at with that?” And they want it to be regularly updated, they want to be in the loop, they want to know what’s going on at these different time periods. That goes in the conversation upfront.

So, if we say, “I want you to take on this status report that goes out every Friday,” if you really want a preview of that status report on Wednesday, you’re going to say that, not just show up Wednesday, like, “I need to see this today,” because someone thought they had till Friday, and then they’re going to feel like, “Oh, gosh, I had no idea that was coming.”

Pete Mockaitis
Beautiful. Well, Lia, tell me, anything else you want to make sure before we shift gears and hear about some of your favorite things?

Lia Garvin
Yeah, I think there are so much opportunity right now with so much change in the workplace to really get right how teams are operating. And I think a lot of that comes down to, as we talked about today, really making sure our managers are set up for success, both for themselves so they’re not burning out, and for their team members so that they’re staying motivated, engaged, and enabled to do their work best.

So, I love working with teams, that is my focus, diving into figure out what’s really getting in the way of teams operating their best. So, if you want to learn more about that work or how to support your team, reach out at LiaGarvin.com.

Pete Mockaitis
All right. Well, now could you share a favorite quote, something you find inspiring?

Lia Garvin
Ooh, favorite quote. Oh, man, I’ve got to think about this in a bit.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, yeah. No problem.

Lia Garvin
Oh, man. Ooh, okay. So, something that I’ve been finding inspiring is the quote, “Make the why bigger than the fear.” And this is something, I think, for any of us to think about that are doing something new. So, this was really motivating for me as I launched my own business and left the corporate world, was the thing that’s really fueling you to do it, let that be bigger than all the reasons that are telling you to stop and go back and keep it safe.

And I think, for teams, right now where there’s a lot going on, it’s really uncertain, people are cutting back, and so remembering, “Why are we here? What are we trying to create?” I think that can really help, especially if you’re a manager. Create a sense of certainty even when there’s so much uncertainty happening.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. And a favorite study or experiment or bit of research?

Lia Garvin
Yeah, my favorite study, I’d say, year over year, is the Lean In and McKinsey & Company Women in the Workplace report. It’s a wealth of information around people’s experiences. They’ve added in the recent years the intersection of gender and race, and really deeply understanding the experiences of women, why women are leaving the corporate world in higher rates than ever.

This year, a lot of the information talked about lack of recognition and visibility. This is something that managers have so much control over, making sure people feel seen, like their work matters, making sure it’s getting the right level of visibility. So, that’s a study I go back to every single year as they put it out to really inform where I focus and some of the things that I can highlight for the teams I work with.

Pete Mockaitis
And a favorite book?

Lia Garvin
Favorite book, one book that I read over the holidays was I think “Expect to…” No, it’s “Lead to Win,” let me say that again. Let me make sure of my Audible super quick, make sure I got it so I don’t…okay. So, a book that I read over the holidays was Lead to Win by Carla Harris. And Carla Harris has these series of books around her pearls of wisdom. She was vice chairman at Morgan Stanley and has a ton of great insights around career, sponsorship, how to really build up your skills as a leader.

And this one specifically dives into how to build great teams, how to drive inclusion on teams, really kind of a playbook for managers trying to break through the next level. So, that’s something I’ve been really loving reading.

Pete Mockaitis
And a favorite tool, something you use to be awesome at your job?

Lia Garvin
Tool, yes. Otter.ai, I believe, it’s called. It’s an app where you…it’s a voice notes app, but it does AI transcription, so it’s pretty flawless transcription. And whenever I have to write an email, now this is great if you’re, like, writing a cautious response to maybe some passive-aggressive behavior, or you’re trying to get your ideas out. I will speak out this email into the voice app, and then I have a great thing to copy and paste into my email.

I think a lot of times when we’re writing, we can get stuck on having the perfect wording. So, if I’m writing a bio for something, or, like I said, a difficult email, or something I’m just getting stuck on, grabbing the app, talking it out into there, and then copying and pasting, and taking the good parts, and having that be the written form is just a huge shortcut.

Pete Mockaitis
And a favorite habit?

Lia Garvin
Favorite habit, I guess it’s called multitasking, but I have a walking desk, and I do work while I’m walking on the desk. So, I like to do two things at once that allow me to get two things done at the same time. Some call it multitasking. I would call it layering two activities.

Pete Mockaitis
And is there a key nugget you share that really seems to connect and resonate with folks; they quote it back to you often?

Lia Garvin
Yes. When you’re feeling stuck, or you encounter rejection or failure, it’s not you. It’s your approach. And when you change your approach, you will change your outcome.

Pete Mockaitis
All right. And if folks want to learn more or get in touch, where would you point them?

Lia Garvin
Yeah, so I would say connect with me on LinkedIn. Wait, let me do that again. Sorry. Connect with me on LinkedIn. I’d love to hear from folks, especially what resonated from this episode, or reach out on my website at LiaGarvin.com.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. And do you have a final challenge or call to action for folks looking to be awesome at their jobs?

Lia Garvin
Yeah, I think for folks, giving yourself a little bit of permission to be figuring it out right now. Right now, it’s a really, really hard time in the workplace. There’s so much uncertainty. And figuring out what do you need to be able to face every day feeling more optimistic or more supported. So, if that’s taking a walk, doing a meditation, whatever, making your favorite coffee, whatever it is, figuring what that thing is and building that into your routine so that you have a sense of, “I’m doing something for myself every day.”

Pete Mockaitis
All right. Lia, thanks. This has been a treat. I wish you much luck and little micromanagement.

Lia Garvin
Thank you so much.

Pete Mockaitis
All right.

833: The Four-Step Process to Influencing People and Decisions with Andres Lares

By | Podcasts | No Comments

 

 

Andres Lares reveals the surprising psychology behind decision-making and shares a four-step process to influence others.

You’ll Learn:

  1. How to tap into the hidden driver behind most decisions
  2. The critical steps that set you up for greater influence
  3. What to say when you’re losing the other person

About Andres

Andres Lares has been the Managing Partner and CEO of Shapiro Negotiations Institute since 2017. Prior to this role, Andres served various roles including Chief Innovation Officer where he led the company’s development of technology and content. For over a decade Andres has advised professional sports teams in the NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL on contract negotiations, trades, and other critical negotiations. He has been featured in publications including HBR, Forbes, CNBC, Entrepreneur, and Sports Business Journal.  Andres guest lectures at conferences and institutions around the world and teaches a course on negotiations at Johns Hopkins University.

Resources Mentioned

Andres Lares Interview Transcript

Pete Mockaitis
Andres, welcome to How to be Awesome at Your Job.

Andres Lares
Thank you for having me.

Pete Mockaitis
Well, I’m so excited to hear your insights on persuasion. Could you kick us off with a particularly striking, fascinating, mind-blowing, counterintuitive discovery you’ve made in this domain? No pressure.

Andres Lares
Yeah, no pressure, huh? So, yeah, this is kind of like if I give this up and there’s no really reason to listen to the rest of the podcast…

Pete Mockaitis
Keep it short, yeah.

Andres Lares
Exactly. So, people would be done in one minute. So, there is one thing that really struck me. So, when we got into this, I’ve been doing this for about 12 years now, and pretty early on, the thing that struck me and sticks with me is, essentially, kind of a quote that we use in our trainings that’s been around, really, since Aristotle. He was kind of teaching this many years ago, and perhaps not enough people listen. But it’s that, “People make decisions emotionally, and then they justify them rationally.”

And that has really stuck with me. We have done an enormous amount of research that indicates that is definitely the case all over the world, regardless of culture and language and everything else, so that really has stuck with me. So, that’s it, we’re done, we can pack up and go.

Pete Mockaitis
Well, I really want to dig into that. So, I’ve heard that and that seems sensible. Can you unpack that with some of your research and some examples of what that really sounds like in the internal dialogue and practice?

Andres Lares
Yeah. So, really, where does it come from? And, really, where it comes from is kind of heuristic, all the shortcuts in our brain that we take because we have to. And so, there’s a lot of this that’s covered in one of the books that I have enjoyed, and it has impacted the most ever, is Thinking, Fast and Slow, and no surprise it’s a Nobel Prize winner that wrote it.

And another that would’ve won one if he was around, but it was one of those things that, because there’s so much that we have to compute in our brains in a short period of time, we really, essentially, are struggling and taking as many shortcuts as we can. So, what does that look like? So, I’ll give you an example that we often talk about.

So, this is a study done many years ago, and, actually, you know what, there’s a couple. So, the best one, I’ll shift gears here and convince myself of another one. So, here’s a perfect example of a shortcut and how emotions drive things. So, many years ago, there’s a study done at Harvard, and it was at a library or, essentially, where folks didn’t realize what was going on but it was a study that people were in a copy machine, a line to the copy machine.

So, again, just the context here, a line to the copy machine, you really are doing nothing else while making copies. Well, in this study, they basically had actors approach real people and ask three different ways in order to butt in the line. So, the first was, “Can I go in front of you?” and so that was the first thing they asked.

The second one, they said, “Can I go in front of you because I’m in a hurry?” And the third one, they said, “Can I go in front of you because I’m in a hurry? I need to make a lot of copies.” So, that’s the three, so you’re asking someone. So, now, the percentages here will tell you how long ago this was. I don’t think they would stand at the time. But, in the first example, basically just asking to go in front of you, 60% of people approved.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, that’s so nice of them.

Andres Lares
I know. And so, that’s how I know this was not done recently. In the second, they literally said, “Because I need to make copies,” and 93% of people let them in front. And then when there’s kind of a reason that was a little bit more reasonable, which would be the fact, “I need to make a lot of copies. In addition, I’m in a hurry,” it went up only to 94%.

So, what’s happening there, right? Just simply the word because, and someone sharing a reason with you, is enough. It’s compelling enough for your brain to think, “Oh, yeah, that’s probably a good reason. Then go.” Even the actual reason itself rarely even matters that much. Now, you can’t always do this, and there’s different circumstances will provide different results.

But similar studies have been done all over the place and with adjustments of all types, and there’s always that aspect where our brain is taking that shortcut and it almost doesn’t matter what comes after the word because, “I hear because, there must be a reason. It must be good. Go ahead.” And so, as an example, and there’s millions of them where people make emotional decisions.

And I’ll give you one more that I particularly enjoy. This has been done with jellybeans and things like that. Imagine this big jellybean, one of those where if you pick the number of jellybeans in a container, you get a prize. Imagine that. And so, they said, “You have a choice, in this one there’s 10 jellybeans and one is red. And if you picked the red one, so one in ten chance, you will $100.” In another one, they said, “Look, in this case, there’s a hundred jellybeans. Eight of them are red. If you pick a red one, you’ll get a $100. Which would you choose?”

Now, most people, more than 50%, again, all over the world, will choose the second. Now, why did they choose the second? The first one has a 10% chance. The second one has an 8% chance, eight out of 100%, one out of ten. But what happens is, well, one is kind of a denominator issue where the math may be a little bit more complicated for folks in the moment. But the second is, emotionally, they feel like they have eight cracks at that red jellybean to make the money rather than the one crack.

And so, that feels more important than the denominator, how many jellybeans there are, and so they pick it. So, those are two kinds of very different examples of that at play.

Pete Mockaitis
All right. So, now I’m thinking about counter examples just to put this to the test. I think I’ve often been in a situation where I do exactly that. I want something or I don’t want something, I just like something, I don’t like something, and then I find a way just to rationalize it afterwards. Sometimes, what’s interesting, I find that I fail.

Like, for example, when I saw the…it took me a long time with the iPad. I said, “Okay, I’ve had some good experiences with Apple products – the iPhone, the iMac, the MacBook Pro. I like all three of them. I really see their place in my life. But for the longest time, the iPad is just like, “I don’t see how I need this. I have got a laptop which can do just about all those things and more.”

And so, I think I went for years without an iPad. Friends, roommates, others had iPads, loved them, and I kept looking at it, thinking I wanted it but it just didn’t click for the longest of times. I guess I was not able to martial the logical reasons until I had just enough experiences of being on a plane and not being able to open up my laptop all the way to actually be able to view it and sit it on the thing, because I’m a tall guy, and try to get it a comfortable angle.

And then I thought, “Well, okay.” And then I think there are some lower price options, it’s like, “I don’t need the newest one, and, yeah, I’ve got a birthday coming up.” So, the things all kind of align. But I found that intriguing that. You tell me, am I abnormal or is there a certain threshold that has to be met here? It’s like, “I could have desire but be unable to bring enough logical justification,” even though I’m so good, I think, at rationalizing and justifying a lot of things in order to get me to do the thing that I want or don’t want. What’s going on on the second layer here?

Andres Lares
So, when I hear that story, my first reaction is, “It was the emotion that drove you.” So, what I hear in that story was, “It wasn’t until I was cramped like this in an airplane where I was thinking, ‘What am I doing here? I’m on this four-hour flight across the country, and I can’t do anything. It’s frustrating,’” whether you want to watch Netflix and just relax or you want to get some work done.

And that’s the moment where kind of how you felt in that moment was the true compelling kind of emotion that enabled you to get the iPad. In my opinion, that’s part of what happened there because that’s really what drives it. And then you can justify, “Okay. Well, iPad is the best because I’m an Apple user and it’s going to sync in very well,” or whatever.

Then the logic will kick in and kind of work through all the details. But that first desire, or that shift from desire to actually doing it, I think that probably happened on an airplane where you said, “Enough is enough. I need this thing.”

Pete Mockaitis
That is interesting. I guess I thought when the iPad was first unveiled, I had some desire, like, “Ooh, that looks cool and shiny. I like it. I want it. But I don’t really need it. Where does it fit in into anything?” So, I guess maybe, in your model, what’s happening here is I have insufficient desire until I had a new emotional experience of, “I’m very uncomfortable in this seat and want to have more comfort in the seat.”

Andres Lares
So, it’s interesting because I think that is a none kind of money version of what we often see, which is that folks will want stuff. There’s something that you want that’s got some strength. But avoiding something you don’t want has even more strength, and that happens with money, right? So, we see someone, $100 for sure versus 50% chance to win 200 or zero. Mostly you will pick 100 because what happens is they miss out. And it happens even more strongly if it’s a loss.

And so, I think what’s happening there is the fact that, “Hey, this thing is shiny,” whatever you want. The thing that’s compelling but the level of how compelling it is when you actually then face a negative emotion, where it’s like, “This is really frustrating, and I could get rid of this frustration if I bought a tablet, and that tablet happens to be an iPad,” I think that’s the one that’s going to be more compelling, which is why that happened. And so, when it’s nice and shiny, that’s compelling but it’s typically not as powerful as the other.

Pete Mockaitis
And then I’m curious about sort of business-to-business type decisions. Like, I think, in a way, at least if you are a director at a publicly traded corporation, for example, you have a legal obligation to look out for the shareholders’ best interests. And so, it seems like there are some solutions that, it’s like, “Oh, this should produce ROI.” So, in some ways, like we’re really “supposed to” think extra super duper logically about the financial logical consequences of a thing. Are emotions still running the show here, too?

Andres Lares
So, I mean, yes, but there are some things that remove some of that, right? So, for example, if you’ve got a decision that takes a long time. So, the longer you put something through a decision-making process, and the more people are involved, although group-think does happen, but more people, more time. There’s a bunch of these variables that will do that, so in the moment.

If you think about…let’s move to a totally different world. Let’s go to a grocery store, and that’s another example, the grocery store. Why is it that there’s gum and snacks while you wait to pay? So, those gums and snacks are also in another aisle but they’re bought significantly less. But in that moment where you’re just waiting and you’re sitting around, it’s going to take three more minutes, which feels like 15 where you’re waiting for the next person to pay, you make this kind of emotional decision of, like, “Oh, yeah, this is what I need.”

And so, what happens is I think that’s kind of taking advantage of that. Now, over time, if you saw that in the aisle, you wouldn’t have gotten that piece of gum, or you wouldn’t have gotten that candy bar. And the same thing would occur with corporate decisions. If you’re the director of the company, if you make a decision over a couple of weeks, it’s less and less emotional. Now, emotions are still at play.

I remember kind of finding this stat which still shocks me to this day that the first and last, as far as like those two, typically, in an RP type process where it’s a little bit informal, or in a fully informal kind of bidding process, the first and last are selected more than 50% of the time, even when there’s more than four or five vendors. So, it’s imbalanced in the first and last. And, again, that’s another way where we’re emotional beings, and the first sets the tone, the last is the one we’re most likely to remember.

And so, the first sets the tone, and others don’t necessarily stack up to it, or they say some things that are unique, or the last does something that’s impressive in any way, they’ll last with us, and you pick them. But it’s unbelievable that you may not be picking the best partner for your company. You’re literally picking who went first or last potentially. And even worse, we don’t know it. And even if we do know, we often can’t do anything about it.

Now, of course, there are ways. So, writing things down, decision-making processes, taking time to digest and think through it, creating a criteria, there’s things you can do but it is amazing how emotional we are as beings.

Pete Mockaitis
Well, that is so shocking and striking, I almost feel to construct a counter narrative that explains it, such as, “Well, the first person, they really got their act together. They got some hustle. That is a high-performing organization that moves quickly, and that’s an advantage so they deserve stuff. And the last folks, boy, they really put some fun into this. They took their time. They did their research and their homework and their preparation. And so, the first and the last may disproportionately, in fact, be superior potential partners.” I might be stretching here, but that’s where I kind of go.

Andres Lares
In the cases where there’s no choice, I think we see it happen too, but it happens just about everywhere. So, another one is called the winner’s curse often. So, if you think of like a bidding system, typically the person…and this happens in sports. We do a lot of work in sports. And if you think of an athlete goes to a team, oftentimes, and this happens in baseball perhaps in more than any other sport. It’s okay, you’re willing to pay $10 million a year for 10 years.

I’m willing to pay more, if you’re willing to pay more, then you go back and forth. Then you find the person that wins is, essentially, cursed because they win, by definition, by overpaying for that player. And so, again, and that’s typically emotional. When we’ve been in the trenches with teams, that is because they get caught up in the deal making, or because it is a blurriness, it is an emotional piece because, I would say, 99.9% of the time when we meet with the teams and we’re kind of involved in these kinds of decisions, they have written down a number as a walkaway that’s lower than they end up paying.

So, they end up going well above what they said they would, what they think is reasonable, and so that is where the justification comes in. “Oh, I am going over but things have changed,” you know, fill in the blank. Now, of course, there are times when things have actually changed. Maybe you start a negotiation early. Now, five other players get signed, now the market has moved up. That, of course, is a possibility.

But very rarely is that the reason that’s happening. It’s deal fever. We’re in it, we spent so much time, and there’s a sunk-cost fallacy, “I’ve spent this much time on it. It’s only this much more,” and that’s where the justification comes in and, really, it becomes more emotional rather than if you’re objective, you’d say, “Look, the max I was going to pay is probably ten years, 10 million a year, and it’s better for me not to do that than it is to pay more.” We just very rarely come across that.

Pete Mockaitis
All right. Well, Andres, we’re having so much fun jumping all around the psychological world here. Maybe let’s get to the fundamentals here. Your book Persuade: The 4-Step Process to Influence People and Decisions, we’ve already got some tasty tidbits from it. But what would you say is the core message, thesis, big idea of this one?

Andres Lares
So, it’s a four-step process to influencing others.

Pete Mockaitis
All right. Just like you said.

Andres Lares
Exactly, that’s it. Build credibility, engage emotion, demonstrate logic, facilitate action. So, really, it’s building credibility, people will not care if you’re not deemed credible. Think of a toothpaste commercial. Every toothpaste commercial has someone whether is or looks like a dentist, that’s because they don’t have credibility without that kind of the dental-looking attire. And so, that’s an example, and a crude one, but it is an example.

Then engage emotion. As I talk to people, people make decisions emotionally, and then they justify them rationally. Then comes demonstrate logic. Now, of course, there is a time and a place for logic. So, it isn’t that you just never do it. It’s that you typically and most compellingly do it after you build credibility and engage emotion.

And then, finally, the fourth is facilitate action, which is if you can think of all the situations where you say, “Is this a good idea?” and your teammate says yes, your colleagues say yes, “Okay, are we going to move forward?” “Yes, we are.” And then, all of a sudden, you check in two weeks later and nothing has happened. I think just about everyone can relate to that.

And so, facilitate action is about creating an environment where it’s as likely as possible that the behavior that you want to be taken will be taken.

Pete Mockaitis
All right. Well, it sounds good to me. Lay it on us then, let’s say we want to do some great persuading, can you maybe give us some example demonstrations for how we’d step through each of these pieces from building the credibility to engaging the emotion, to demonstrating logic, and to facilitating action?

Andres Lares
Yes. So, let’s try to pick something that potentially anyone can relate to. So, you’re working with a colleague at work, so potentially, let’s say, they’re not necessarily someone above you or below you. They’re kind of a lateral position, and so, hopefully, this is generic enough that it works for everyone. So, the first thing is you want to think about, “Okay, do I have credibility with this person? I’m trying to convince Pete to do something, okay, so how am I going to do it? Well, first is, does Pete know who I am? Does he think that I’ve got good ideas? What is his perception of me?”

And so, let’s assume that it’s a neutral perception. Met a few times and not much there. So, the first I think about, “How do I build credibility?” So, the build credibility might be simple things. So, spending time with someone, unless you actively do something very negative. Generally, spending time with someone helps you to build rapport, trust, and credibility.

But also, you can give yourself a few things. So, when you bump into Pete, and there’s an opportunity to say, “Hey, I thought of you the other day when I read this article. I’ll send it to you by end of the day tomorrow.” That’d be an example of manufacturing an opportunity where you, in this case, you should genuinely have thought about the person and think that article might make sense. And then I sent it to Pete in the time that I said I would.

Well, now, you’re starting to create not only that connection based on thinking of the person, but also a sense of reliability, “I said I would do something by end of the day tomorrow, and I did.” So, you can do a few of those things, and you start to get the ball rolling. And, of course, any time you drive value, you write good ideas, things they can nibble on at work, anything that is important and valuable to the other party would help build credibility.

So, then comes emotion. So, let’s say, in this case, you’re working on a project together, and, again, to pick an example most people could relate to, Pete has this as priority seven and I have this as priority two. And so, my job is to try to convince you to bring it up to maybe not two but certainly higher than seven.

Well, then you think of, “Okay, what’s the emotion that we’ll trigger?” So, let’s pick two examples. Well, one would be achievement, “Pete, this is one of the reasons I asked you in particular to kind of be involved in this project is because I know that this is going to get a lot of attention for the senior leadership team, which is a really important project.”

So, this was done very well. Again, it has to be true. This is genuine. If it’s disingenuous, then please don’t use the model. But if you go back to that, okay, so if that’s the case, and there’s a sense of achievement, doing a good job in this, and that includes time, but also high quality, a sense of achievement that it’ll be better for everyone, and so that could be an example.

Another one could be fear, the other way, “So, I’m a little bit worried, Pete, that we’re a little behind schedule. Being behind schedule right now is not a big deal, but if we were to end up being late, I think this could be a disaster for both of us. I saw one of our other colleagues late two months ago on a similar project, and they ended up getting…” fill in the blank, right, as whatever the repercussion would be.

So, that would be an example of fear or achievement. There’s a lot of them. Then the next might be demonstrating logic. So, there, what is the logic you could say? So, “One of the things that I’ve found is, because we’re currently meeting once every two weeks, by the time we actually get to the next meeting, we’re forgetting what we covered. So, I think rather than doing it once every two weeks, and this will take eight weeks to get these meetings, if we were to meet a couple times in one week, I actually think we could pump it out faster.”

“So, rather than our estimation of 20 hours total, we could probably do it in 10 or 15. Would you be open to considering something like that and we’re kind of done it faster for both our sakes?” So, something like that would be a logically compelling argument, that, “Hey, I’m going to save you time and more efficient and get this off your plate faster, so you can get to other priorities.”

And then, finally, facilitate action might be to provide them with options. So, providing with options could say, “So, two ideas that I have are, one, do you want me to do this piece and you do that piece? Or would you prefer the other way around, I focus on this priority, focus on that part? What would you prefer?”

And you, ideally, be offering a set of options, and you might be thrown a third, but you’re willing to accept any of them, so they’re all acceptable to you, but that way the person feels, and do in fact, have some control over the result because we surely know that when you come up with a collaborative solution, they’re more likely to become committed, rather than if I say, “Hey, Pete, here’s what I need you to do, and here’s when I need it done by. Please go and execute and come back here when you’re done.”

So, that would be a bit of a generic example but, hopefully, give you some sense of how those four phases would come into play.

Pete Mockaitis
I appreciate that, yes. Well, now could you maybe give us a couple of top do’s and don’ts within each of those domains? So, when it comes to building credibility, for example, what are some great things we can do versus not do? In your book, you’ve got a few sections, “The Influencer’s Toolbox.” I love toolboxes, so if there’s anything that’s leaping to mind that’s extra handy, lay it on us.

Andres Lares
Yes, so do’s and don’ts. So, I’d say for credibility, the do is…well, something else, some of the don’t is, “Do not skip this step, this is potentially the most important step.” If you think of kind of your life right now, and how much you get bombarded with messy, whether it’s emails at work or calls and spam calls, and all the stuff that’s going on, it’s easier to just ignore something than it is to deal with it.

So, credibility is the thing that stops you from ignoring it. It’s what cuts through and it helps to cut through the clutter, if you will. And so, I think I see this a lot in…we’ll take away a little bit from kind of the job piece, and I’ll go to sales for a second. This is a perfect example in sales. Often, I see a rush through to get to sale, and they skip the personal, the credibility-building, the trust-building, they get right to the sale.

And so, what happens is when you miss that first part that even allows you to get there, so people just don’t care, “You’re just selling me something, and I don’t want to be sold to. I want to be part of the buying process.” So, the credibility piece is the don’t is don’t skip it. It can be easy and oftentimes you wonder, “How important is this?” Well, it’s really important.

For emotion, as far as do’s and don’ts, so it’s got to be, I think, the don’t again would be it has to be genuine. And so, really, the emotion is about thinking about, “Okay, what is…?” So, here, for example, we’re doing fear and scarcity. I’ll give you an example of a don’t would be, although it can work, it’s sleazy and doesn’t work long term, that’s why you see at commercials late at night, “This deal is only good for the next 15 minutes. If you call now, you get three easy payments rather than four easy payments.” It’s that constant.

Now, the thing is, where most of us are far enough to know that once this commercial ends, this commercial will run again tomorrow night, and the next night, and the next night. It’s a fake exploding deadline. And so, I think there, when you think of fear, when you’re thinking of scarcity and those things, especially if they’re negative, it’s got to be genuine. In that example I gave, the consequence. It has to be a real consequence, that actually you saw someone faced because your credibility will be lost if it’s made up. And so, it’s a don’t again in emotion.

And then for logic, I think do tell stories. The best way to communicate evidence, logic, data. Oftentimes, when I’m doing this big chart and graph, and that is helpful, it’s important for visual learners but then take the extra step, tell a compelling story of how that potentially helped another client, or why you should get a raise, or whatever it is. But if you can tell a short and compelling story to communicate the same message as you could be sharing in another way, you will be more effective in the former.

And then, finally, facilitate action, I would say some do’s are consider providing options, for sure. And then, well, the one other thing is consider a safety net. So, safety net meaning, again, I’ll go to the crude late-night informercials because they use a lot of psychological warfare on all of us, but it’s the money-back guarantee.

And the constant of that is, “How many people actually buy that product and then send it back?” Very, very, very small number of people in almost all cases. But just the mere fact that if we purchase it and we’re not satisfied, we can then send it back. That makes us more comfortable to purchase it in the first place.

So, an example in business, certainly sometimes there can be a warranty of some sort. That’s an example of almost any product that’s sold in the B2B space or B2C space, but if you could remove some of the risks for another party, you’ll make it more likely that they move forward.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. Thank you. Well, I also wanted to get your take on some body language pieces. Are there any really reliable cues or indicators that we can feel somewhat confident about when we notice, and what do they mean?

Andres Lares
So, what I’d like to do is slightly tweak that, if you’re okay with this, and say the thing that you can count on is to only make decisions when you’re getting a consistent message from the body language. So, that’s the only thing that’s reliable. What do I mean by that? I cross my arms like this while having a conversation. Technically, that is not the best sign, but on its own, it means nothing. It happens to be particularly cold in this room, and so that could be just literally a physical response that I’m being cold.

But, now let’s take me crossing my arms like this, turning a little bit away from you, so I’m actually facing another direction, and, potentially, say, I slow down my smiling and now start having facial expressions that are more neutral or potentially negative, then you can really start to read into that. That’s kind of a pattern at that point.

And so, what you want to see is consistency with the tone, what’s being said, and the body language. And if there are more than one, typically two or three that tend to lean negative, you want to change what you’re saying, change the environment, ask a different question, think of another approach, whatever it may be.

But I would say, so the do’s and don’ts, the do’s is look for consistency, look for multiple things that point in the same direction, negative or positive. Lots of smiling, open hands, leaning in would be the positive. Crossing arms, turning away, less smiling would be the negative ones but you want those to be consistent and multiple if you’re going to read anything into it.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. And so, in terms of a real-time adjustment we might make, what are some of the options there?

Andres Lares
So, two of the most common, one is kind of, “Oh, did I say something … Do you have any questions? Did I say something that maybe was off a little bit?” And so, in my opinion, lots of people recommend that. I think that can be something that is doable but that can take a lot of confidence. It’s almost like calling someone’s head on it, “Oh, no.” And there can be a little bit…but that is something that people do.

But generally, I would say is try to ask a question or try to change where your conversation is headed. So, I’ll give you an example, potentially, this would happen. Let’s say in an interview. Let’s say you’re in an interview for a job, and so you see that, someone has crossed their leg, turns away, and starts, all of a sudden, you see eyebrows changed a little bit. It’s a little more negative. Then, whatever you’re saying you might try to finish it kind of rather quickly.

And then, seeing that, “Pete, I’d love to tell you more about that, but I did have a couple questions for it, if you don’t mind. Is this a good place I can ask you some,” and then say, “Okay, tell me more about…” then fill in the blank of questions you have ready. “So, you were saying something,” or the opposite. If you’re asking a lot of questions and the person’s kind of doing those negative things together, they may be signaling to you the fact that, “You know what, you’re kind of done asking questions. Now it’s my turn. I want to get to know you, and it’s been too one way.”

So, essentially, what you’re reading is whatever you’re saying or doing in the moment, they’re not particularly appreciating, so any pivot from that, and then see how the body languages react. After a minute or two, are you still seeing that negative body language? One other thing I would say, and this gets into NLP and things that are a little bit less science-based or that are a little bit more controversial. But there definitely is growing evidence that you can do something that is called mirroring, which should be to try to also move towards the body language that is more positive and they’ll kind of follow you.

So, for example, if I noticed that you’re tilted a little bit this way, and you’re kind of leaning back a little bit, I would first mirror. So, I would tilt a little bit the same way, I would try to speak at the same pace as you are, so whether it’s a lot faster and then really, really fast, or slower. And then what I would do is, over time, over the next few minutes, I would start to kind of tilt my head this way, I would start to lean in, I would start to open my body language.

And so, what you can do is you can also shift that way. So, not only what you’re saying and the tone of your delivery, but if you actually mirror their body language that’s potentially negative, in particular in this case, and then start to move towards more positive body language, they should follow you.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. Good deal. Thank you.
Well, now could you share a favorite quote, something you find inspiring?

Andres Lares
I think a few that come to mind. So, one I particularly like that one of our facilitators often says is, “Much is lost for the want of asking.” So, to remind us that if you don’t ask for it, you can’t get it. You don’t always get what you ask for, but if you don’t ask, you don’t get it.

I think there’s another one which is often attributed to Epictetus. I’m not sure if, necessarily, it was in fact him or not, but it’s, “God gave us two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak.” I think that is a good reminder, and just kind of the value of listening, asking questions and listening. So, I like those.

And there’s one more. Harry Truman, I believe is credited with this, but it’s, “It’s what you learn after you know it all that really counts.” And I think that one is brilliant. So, those are three that come to mind. You asked for one, I gave you three. I hope that’s okay.

Pete Mockaitis
That’s good. Thank you. And could you share a favorite study or experiment or bit of research?

Andres Lares
So, I would hate to kind of duplicate but I’d probably go back to the copier study, the jellybeans study, some of these. Those were the originals and they were done the first time, and I find it particularly interesting that was done 20, 30, 40 years ago, in some of these cases, and so much has changed in the world but they continue to be…when they’re redone and adjusted, they continue to have the same results. So, all those, kind of reminding us of human nature and how if often doesn’t change.

Pete Mockaitis
All right. And could you share a favorite book?

Andres Lares
I would probably go back to Thinking, Fast and Slow. I think from, certainly from a nonfiction perspective, that would be my number one. It’s a big read, but really an incredible one.

Pete Mockaitis
And a favorite tool, something you use to be awesome at your job?

Andres Lares
For the personal side, I’ve got family all over the world, and friends all over the world, so I cannot live without WhatsApp. From a professional side, any good calendar app. Currently, it’s Google Calendar, but that is another one that I can’t live without.

Pete Mockaitis
All right. And a favorite habit?

Andres Lares
It would probably be playing hockey. So, I play hockey every Monday night, been doing it for years. Awesome.

Pete Mockaitis
Is there a key nugget you share with folks that really resonates with them; you hear them quote it back to you often?

Andres Lares
So, yeah, I would say one, and this is more on the negotiation side and the influencing side, but it’s, “Negotiation is a process and not an event.”

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. If folks want to learn more or get in touch, where would you point them?

Andres Lares
So, we’re not as active as we should be on social but we do have a bunch, you know, LinkedIn, Twitter, all the usuals. But I would say probably the website, ShapiroNegotiations.com, and feel free to reach out if you have any questions. We’ve got a blog that’s weekly that goes out there, too, that deals with job-related issues plus things you might do, buying a house, buying a car, lots of B2B stuff as well. That’s our focus, so feel free to reach out.

Pete Mockaitis
All right. And do you have a final challenge or call to action for folks looking to be awesome at their jobs?

Andres Lares
For me, it’d be having a process. I think one of the things that I’ve appreciated in this journey that I think when we go out and train and coach folks, we often will learn as much as they do just from the way people do and kind of the best practices. But I would say the concept of having a process for persuading others, for often negotiation, communicating, has really kind of increased my performance.

And I would say it’s something that I’m so excited about. And so, I would challenge others to, when it’s say to say, “I don’t have the time,” or, “I’m just going to wing it,” to prepare and follow a process to do it, and you will definitely be more successful.

Pete Mockaitis
All right. This has been fun. I wish you much luck in all of your persuasions and negotiations.

Andres Lares
Well, thank you for having me. I hope it’s helpful to folks as they do a great job at their jobs, and, hopefully, this is helpful there.