- You have Task Bumblebee that's absolutely essential to your company.
- Only Mike really has the skills to handle Task Bumblebee.
- The work is mundane, boring, and more @#$% boring.
What should you do?
- Option A: Ask him nicely.
- Option B: Propose two different solutions.
Say You Choose Option A
An hour into the work, Mike goes:
- "This work is so boring!"
- "What the EFF?!"
- He gives you the middle finger.
Mike, starting to feel dissuaded from the work's drabness, sees his inspiration draining to kick big boo-tay.
- His productivity plummets.
- You don't know if he'll be able to accomplish the project.
- You continue giving him water trying to maintain his sanity.
You run off crying.
Now, let's say you picked the other option:
Say You Choose Option B...
You offer up two different solutions -- but not just any two solutions.
You offer Mike:
- Task Y: (something horrifically, exponentially disgusting -- far worse than doing Task Bumblebee)
- Task Z: Task Bumblebee
What Mike's thinks:
- "Task Y would make me want to shoot myself in the buttocks; but, Task Z magically saves my day."
- Mike chooses Task Z (Bumblebee).
- He sees Task Bumblebee in a much brighter light because he could've done far, far worse.
- He maintains his morale to get Task Bumblebee finished.
Win for all.
Behavioral economists/psychologists call that the contrasting principle.
The Power of The Contrasting Principle
It goes like this:
- We don't define our decisions/thinking in absolute terms.
- Instead, we define them in relative terms.
- The hottest person you saw yesterday is totally hot, OH YEAH!
- But, compared to Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt, yesterday's hot person ain't no thang-but-a-chicken-wing-on-a-string.
- You compared yesterday's hot person to everybody else you saw that day -- and relatively, s/he was "OH SO HOT"-est of 'em all.
- "But, s/he's ain't so hot when compared to Brangelina! OH NO!" you tell yourself.
- So, you don't jump for joy like you did yesterday.
When you reframe undesirable-but-essential work, you make the work much more desirable, much less de-motivating -- and plenty more doable.
- You get a more motivated Mike.
- You amplify his chances of getting essential work done with style.
Hooray for all.
Boring-er the mofosoko.
Posted on May 11
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