Carlson Executive Education Blog

If you think being right is good enough—you’re wrong

Posted by Vladas Griskevicius on Nov 28, 2017 12:18:21 PM

Vladas Griskevicius, Carlson Foundation Endowed Chair in Marketing


You have all your facts lined up. Your spreadsheets are thorough and detailed. So why can’t you get anyone to agree with you?

No matter what you do for a living, you’ll probably reach a point in your career when you need to influence others and convince them to follow your suggestion, idea, or plan. When you were in the early stages of your career, co-workers might have deferred to you because of your experience and knowledge. But as you rise in an organization, you will almost certainly find that there comes a point when you need to rely on persuasion and social influence to get your point across and ensure that if you’re leading, others are following. 


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In every aspect of your life, social influence helps you achieve your purpose and reach your objectives. And as much as we in the business world like to think that all our decisions are completely rational, when it comes to power and influence, a thorough understanding of social psychology is key, because we’re all still human beings, no matter what our organizational status or title.

Since the principles of successful influence are the same in our personal as well as in our business lives, I like to describe its importance with an analogy we all understandthe world of romantic attachments. Let’s say you’ve met someone to whom you are attracted. You could present that person with a detailed spreadsheet that explains why you’re a good catch, predicts your long-term earning potential, and delves into the stellar quality of your genetic composition. If you did, you’d most likely never make it to a first date. I’d posit instead that a more successful approach takes into account your intended date’s mindset and includes conversation and motivators that are as persuasive as possible.

Learning how to gain and wield Power and Influence

If you want people to follow your leadership, you need to uncover why they do what they do, and what moves them to say yes to one thing and no to another. In my upcoming course, Power and Influence, we’ll take two days to focus on the science behind these universal influences.

We’ll examine core principles, such as reciprocity, authority, social proof, scarcity, liking and consistency. And we’ll discuss how putting these principles into action, and creating influence-informed game plans in advance, will greatly increase the likelihood that people will want to say yes to you more often.

Register now! Course is January 16 and 17

If you’d like to learn more, I hope you’ll consider joining us this January for a course that’s been incredibly popular in the MBA program and is now available for executives who want to increase their understanding of human psychology and begin to apply it in highly successful ways in all aspects of life.

Learn more here: