WHOSE IDEA IS BETTER – YOURS OR MINE? (pitfalls of ordering people what to do)

By Greg Niemi . April 28, 2015


Would you agree that an idea is far more powerful when it is their idea versus yours?  And would you also agree that when it is their idea it is also far more likely it will be put into action much sooner?

This notion is true when interacting with our clients, employees, business partners, children, siblings, significant others, committee organizations and possibly every relationship where two or more are involved.

Yet … although we know this occasionally we fall short due to our own impatience, a pent for efficiency, authority or whatever … only to cause frustration and not get the desired result.

A new study, based on neuro science of the brain, reveals the latest of best practices of how to positively influence desirable outcomes when we are in collaborative situations – which is almost always.


SCARF Model by David Rock

It’s called the SCARF model which is comprised of five domains [of either perceived threats or rewards] to our Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness and Fairness.  Understanding this new research is beneficial to improving our ability to positively engage others.

What we know is the best way to influence others is to ask for their help while maintaining and/or enhancing their self-esteem.  Making a positive appeal to a greater outcome is far better than telling others what to do.  The golden rule applies here.

Quite simply, we need to listen, ask for help and then listen again without overly directing or trying to solve the problem ourselves.  There is a delicate balance in being a leader or manager or parent when providing input.  No one likes to be micro managed or feel subordinated.  People like guidance, not orders.  People appreciate being asked, not told.  People want their knowledge and insights to be valued.

The SCARF model reconfirms many of the maxims of the great management gurus like Dale Carnegie, Fredrick Herzberg, Abraham Maslow and so many more up through the decades.

Let’s positively involve and engage others to trigger positive outcomes versus causing undue resistance.  Involvement = buy in and results in win / win outcomes.

Greg Niemi


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