Reference: I stole this from Paul Hebert on Fist Full of Talent.

No one is honest when there is a punishment for honesty.

Ask an employee if the incentive program drives her performance and she'll say no. Why? Because she doesn't want to admit (or believe) that she is influenced by a small reward. Then, ask she ever checks her score against her colleagues. Of course she does. They all do.

The lesson? It hurts to tell the truth. So, to find out what people are thinking, you can't ask them directly. Instead, you have to ask about their very specific behaviours.

When they can't see where the question is leading, they'll tell you the truth.

Views: 48

Comment by Maureen Sharib on August 19, 2008 at 10:17am
"So, to find out what people are thinking, you can't ask them directly. Instead, you have to ask about their very specific behaviours."

Kind of like asking a receptionist (Gatekeeper) if she knows how to access the worldwide directory for her company?

Comment by Slouch on August 19, 2008 at 12:10pm
sometimes you need to rephrase the question.

"Do you know anyone who would be a great fit for the position I just described to you?"


" Do you really not know anyone or is it that you just don't want to refer anyone to me?"

The conversation usually never ends there and at least you uncover some added understanding about the person you are talking to.
Comment by Joshua Letourneau on August 19, 2008 at 1:41pm
Behavioral economics are a beautiful thing.

When "Freakonomics" came out, the cat was out of the bag on 'Real Estate Consultants' (choke, cough).

Levitt studied 100,000 home sales in Chicago and found that when selling their own homes, real estate agents held out on average for ten days more than their clients did and, all else being equal in terms of the quality of the house, got over three percent more for it, or $10,000 on a $300,000 home.

As a result, it's pretty obvious that you shouldn't rely upon the real estate salesperson you hire to sell your home for the best price. Their goal is speed in the sale, not getting you top dollar.

In fact, consider that the average Buyer's Agent gets 3% (or 1/2 of the typical 6% commission, which has now dropped to 5% or less) - and of that 3%, they split it with the "house", or the Broker. So, do the math: By telling you to sell for $10,000 less, they only lose half of $300 . . . so 10 Grand to you is only $150 to them.

One of my favorite professors was a Economics clown that would say, "Don't take anything I say about your race, gender, or religion personally. I'm just speaking from what the data tells me." As a result, his class was fascinating . . . and always good for a laugh :)


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