Why Do People Do The Things They Do?

This post is an edited transcript from The Water Cooler Hangout Podcast – Episode “Why Do People Do The Things They Do?”

The topic of today’s podcast is Why Do People Do The Things They Do? That is the big question, right? Nothing too difficult to answer. Well, years ago, I heard a speaker and author, Michael LeBeouf, at a National Speakers Association meeting speak about that very topic. He called it the greatest management principle in the world. In short, the principle is the things that get rewarded get done. I will say it again. The things that get rewarded get done.

Or, another way of saying it is we are either moving towards pleasure or away from pain. We are either moving towards rewards or away from punishment.

At the most fundamental level. There are two forces that motivate people to do what they do. The desire to avoid pain or the desire to gain pleasure. These forces also are what causes the yo-yo pattern and some people. They go back and forth between taking action to create change and then losing their drive to take any action at all. You move away from what you believe is painful and you move towards what you believe is pleasurable. Belief is particularly important and we’re going to talk about that more.

By the way, forming habits and addictions also happen through reinforcement of the same pain and pleasure cycle over and over and over. Pain by the way is a short-term motivator. You actually need pleasure for long-term motivation. To make value and behavioral changes the pleasure motivation must be engaged.

Let’s think once again about the yo-yo pattern in changing behaviors. I have asked myself this question about people I’ve seen go through gastric bypass surgery. They must eat restricted Foods. They go through a lot of pain to lose hundreds of pounds only to revert to their poor eating habits and gain back all the weight. Sometimes a lot more.

Obviously, the pleasure of eating whatever you want outweighs the physical and emotional pain of being severely overweight. Pain drives most short-term behaviors and we are more likely to move away from something then to move towards something. There is actually a good reason for that; Paleolithic humans learned to run from the danger of animals who wanted to eat them for dinner. Saving your life was more important than finding your own meal and this behavior of running from pain became hardwired into our lizard brain.

What about your own personal goals? If we want to succeed in reaching our goals, it’s helpful to know what the pain of not achieving our goals is going to be. For example, you might think you can’t run a mile, as I would have said about myself. But pain and pleasure can change things.

A few years back a friend and I were out walking on a path that goes behind our homes. It runs along a creek and some woods and we were walking down the path and I don’t know about a hundred yards up ahead, we see what looked like a cat come out of the woods and start walking up the path towards us now. You know, I’m first thinking,” Is there something wrong with the cat? Does it have rabies? What’s going on?” It kept walking towards us, and we kept walking towards him. Finally, we stopped.

The cat looked like was friendly. It walked right up to me – right to my feet and rolled over on its back and looked at me as if to say help me. We looked around and found a cardboard box on the edge of the woods. I went over and looked inside of it. There was a little food in it. Someone had scrawled a name on the outside of the box.

He had been abandoned and someone had left him there. Who knows why? He was as friendly as can be and he had been declawed so we knew we had to help him. But my home was almost a mile away and with a steep hill at the end. Carrying the cat was out of the question. I tried picking him up, but he did not like that idea at that time.

Well, he didn’t mind being picked up, but he didn’t like when I started walking away with him. So, my friend stayed there, and I took off running to get a car and a cat carrier. I went as fast as I could because I was afraid the cat might run away before I got back.

I made it and got the car and the carrier. Later, I thought I had to be out of my mind as I was not in shape to make that run. But the pain of seeing what might happen if I didn’t get back quickly enough coupled with the pleasure of knowing I was helping an animal in need, overrode common sense. The cat, by the way, became a family pet for years. We named him Walker and he was a lot of fun.

So, once again pain is a short-term motivator, but pleasure is the real solution for long-term motivation. I will say it again pain is a short-term motivator, but pleasure is the real solution for long-term motivation. Just like the gastric bypass example the pain you experience in being obese can move you towards action, but for many people the long-term pleasure of eating healthy looking good and being fit becomes outweighed by the pain of not being able to eat anything you want. And, round and round we go.

Dig more deeply into this person’s behavior and you will probably find self-beliefs that block a positive value that would change their behavior, if only they could identify the root belief. We’re going to talk about how to do that. But first let’s talk about sales and marketing – especially sales. Sales is the one business function that is most often managed by both reward and punishment.

You sell more of whatever it is you’re selling, and you get paid more. If you don’t meet your numbers, you’ll lose your job. Most companies that rely on salespeople have some kind of monthly, quarterly, and annual rewards. And while some salespeople are self-motivated, I find that the average salesperson responds to rewards.

Too many companies focus on the pain of losing your job if you don’t meet your quota or assign goals, instead of focusing on the pleasure of rewards. I found that rewards work well for motivation and sales teams. When I was a branch manager at 3M Company, I had a good-sized team of direct sales reps.

One of my favorite ways to reward them and reward short-term achievement was to let the sales reps pick their own rewards. I would give them a budget that we could spend on the reward and they would write down what they wanted. I’d have them post a photo or a drawing of their choice in a common area the office – some of the reps even got into keeping a visual progress graph. They had a good time with it.

When the time period was over, those who had reached their numbers immediately got their chosen reward. We did it in a group meeting and made sure to praise them. I vividly remember one young lady surprising me with her goal of snow tires. Winter was quickly approaching and that’s what she wanted. I would never have thought to offer snow tires as I said reward, but she got her tires and we rolled them into the meeting to present to her.

So, what about money? Isn’t that the best motivator for exceptional performance? Money is great and people might be motivated to work towards a specific economic goal, but most people want and need more than monetary compensation by itself.

Once the money has been paid and spent; it does not take long for it to be forgotten.

People also want to be recognized. They want to be appreciated. They want to know that their work is making a difference and that they are making a change for good.

Now back to where we started. Why do people do what they do? Or more specifically. Why do YOU do what YOU do? And how can you change it if you aren’t happy with your behavior?

Several years ago, I spent some time studying something called axiology. It’s a branch of philosophy that has to do with evaluating principles and values.

I learned that our personal values determine why we do what we do. I’ll say it again. I learned that our personal values determine why we do what we do. And, our values are formed by our beliefs. And where do our beliefs come from and how are they formed?

Well, most of our beliefs are created from what we can remember about past experiences both pleasurable and painful.

Remember the yo-yo syndrome if you are yo-yoing and anything in your life, you’d do well to examine your beliefs. Are they rooted in reality or is your memory faulty?

Are they your beliefs? Or are they someone else’s? And, how do you change them? Well first look deeply into yourself and ask what beliefs you have. Are they helping you or holding you back? Do they ring true for you or once again, are they do beliefs of someone else? Finally accept the ones you find to be true for you and representative of you and not others.

Change your beliefs and you can change your values. Change your values and you can change your behaviors.

Change your behaviors and your life can change.

Wisdom Is Knowing What Not To Do – Inteview with the Waldens

“Wisdom is knowing what not to do.” Tim & Bev Walden

Beverly and Tim Walden are extremely successful professional photographers living in Lexington, KY. Their list of honors, degrees and awards fills an entire page. I met them a few years ago when I heard that they were two of the best authorities on marketing for small businesses. They have traveled the world teaching photography studios how to market along with their business principles. However, what they teach applies to all types of businesses – even yours.

Tim and Beverly took over Walden’s Photography from Tim’s father in 1980, taking the studio in an entirely different direction when they developed their trademark “Relationship” Black and White Fine Art portraiture. Today, they run a high-end studio, providing beautifully crafted portraits in an elegant studio with impeccable customer service.

Take time to listen to this interview and you won’t be disappointed.

Their websites are: www.waldensphotography.com and www.TimandBevWalden.com.

If you are reading this in an email and can’t see the video then click on the “View in Browser” at the top of the email or you can Click Here.

If you prefer to read the interview instead of listen, you can Click Here to be taken to a transcript.

Retail Furniture Store Entrepreneur

A Podcast Interview with Shupei Chiao

I had the pleasure of interviewing Shupei Chiao, Managing Partner of Drexel Heritage Home Furnishings and Thomasville Home Furnishings in the Phoenix, AZ and San Diego, CA markets. He also manages a real estate development arm of the private business.

Shupei grew up in Pittsburgh where his family still runs three Thomasville Furniture stores. Starting there working doing every job in the company, Shupei eventually relocated to AZ and CA where he has built one of the most successful retail furniture businesses of its type.

We talk about some of the keys to his success as well as what changes he has seen in the market place these past few years. Shupei also shares some of his ideas for future growth that can be applied to your business too.

Find out more about his stores at http://www.thomasville.com/ and http://www.drexelheritage.com/.

Listen to the podcast on the player below.

If you get this podcast in email and can’t use the player, CLICK HERE or click on the View in Browser link at the top of your email.

Also, here is a link that will take you to a transcript of this podcast if you prefer to read.
Thank you!

Touched By A Satellite

Today is the first in a series of podcast interviews with CEO’s, company founders, entrepreneurs, and freelancers engaged in building and managing their own small business. I hope that by listening to their stories you may get some ideas for your own company plus be inspired by them. They are all successful and love what they do so sit back and hit the play button.

If you’re in a place where you can’t listen and prefer to read a transcript of the interview, I have that for you too. Just click here to be taken to a complete transcript of today’s conversation.

I am fortunate today to interview a gentleman from Lexington, KY who has built a company that is the leader in terrestrial and satellite data transmission for Point of Sale, ATM, and Electronic Funds Transfer. EchoSat was formed as a division of Tower Communications, Inc., and founded by CEO, C. L. “Lee” Rutherford.  EchoSat is in the second generation of private ownership. Lee still remains active in the management of EchoSat but is assisted by a hand-picked, dedicated team of individuals and two of his three sons.  Each team member addresses challenges and solutions with one thought in mind – “Our name and reputation rides on every product, service and solution we provide.”

EchoSat was originally started as a one-way only satellite group.  They provided many large national retail chain outlets with customized radio networks.  Their most recognizable work was the creation of KMART Radio, the Kmart Radio Network featured in all Kmart stores.

Lee has an amazing story that I think you will enjoy.


Customer Service Series Ending

Click On Me to Listen to This Post!

The following is an edited transcript of the audio podcast.

Hi everyone.  This is Bob Poole.  Welcome to the Water Cooler Hang Out.

I’m following up today on the five part series I blogged about a couple of weeks ago about customer service.  I wanted to give you the outcome of my interactions with the three companies that we discussed.

Let’s start with AWeber Email Marketing.  Now first, I’ve never been a customer of theirs.  I was actually trying to become one and it seemed AWeber kept throwing roadblocks in my way.  The last one was the final straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back.   What happened is they asked for my log in and my password of my current email services provider account.   As it turns out, what they wanted was to access my account to double check if what I’d already told them in writing was correct. They wanted to confirm all the details and other statistics from the standpoint of how many customers I had; whether they were permission based; how many people had opted-out; how many complaints have we ever had and that type of thing.

I appreciate the fact that they wanted to make sure my list consisted of email addresses that were permission based.  However, I’ve been doing this for a long time now and the information I gave them was accurate.  When someone comes back to me and says we want to go check your account to see if it is what you said it was; well, that’s absolutely ridiculous.  It sounded like they didn’t believe what I told them.  And to ask for my log in and password?  I have to tell you that my current email services provider was not happy when they read about that in my blog.  I think they’ve had a few email or phone calls going back and forth with Aweber.  As a side note, I did hear from several people, three in fact, who liked AWeber a lot and said they’ve used them over the years with no problems whatsoever. They heavily endorsed them.  So, there’s the AWeber story; the end.

Let’s go on to Nature’s Prime Organic.  This is a company that sells organic foods.

Well, they say they sell organic foods but apparently they don’t sell organic foods.  If they do, or should I say when they try to, they somehow never fulfill the orders.  That’s what happened with me and hundreds, if not thousands of other people.  This was a Groupon coupon that I paid for a while back.  Not only did I use the Groupon coupon to place my order with Nature’s Prime, I also doubled the order.  So, I gave them exactly what they were looking for when they did this Groupon.  But they did not fulfill my order and apparently didn’t fulfill many of the orders.  All you have to do is go to the web and do some Googling. You’ll find a lot of irate people very quickly when it comes to Nature’s Prime Organic.

Now, what did they do about all of this?  Nothing!  They just refunded money.  They gave people back their money.  They didn’t apologize.  They didn’t offer to do something different.  They didn’t try to retain these brand new customers.  I mean, if a company is trying to kill themselves they couldn’t have done it better than Nature’s Prime Organic.  So, that’s the end of them too.

A third company is Avid Technologies. This is a company that I was having a problem with concerning my video software.  After going back and forth for a month, the end result was that the problem I was having, which they said was impossible to have, was actually happening.  It was a part of their new software and there was nothing they could do about it.  So, I had emailed the CEO of Avid and he followed up with me. He was a very nice guy.  He didn’t know anything about this problem I was having, of course.  Once he read the blog post and knew what was going on, he had his Vice President of Customer Service follow up with a phone call to me.  We had a nice chat about what happened, what went wrong, what could be different, and how things might change in the future.

So, that’s my story about Avid Technologies.  I’m still a customer; still use their software right now and I’m happy.  I’m happy that they followed up.  I believe they are looking at some alternatives for their support, where it comes from, and how it’s handled.  So, that’s a good thing.

Now, there is one more experience that I did not blog about and it’s Sony Corporation.  During the time I was writing these blog posts, I decided to use a digital recorder that I’d bought a couple of years earlier.  I hadn’t used it very much but I got the idea of using it to record the audio portion digitally; then do the videoing separately.  That would give me two different tracks and allow me to do some things from an editing standpoint that I just wanted to try.  So, I got out this new recorder.  Although it’s new to me; it was a couple of years old.

The first thing I noticed was the software drivers weren’t compatible with Windows 7, either 32 or 64.   I looked for a download for the drivers and supposedly found one at Sony, but as it turned out there really wasn’t one. I talked to customer service at Sony and was told that there wasn’t a driver for that recorder for Windows 7; nor would there be a driver.  They had a work around for me that was basically to turn it into an analog device which defeats the purpose of having a digital recorder.  And, of course if I did that, it wouldn’t work for what I wanted to use it for.  I went back and forth with them a couple of times explaining that was not satisfactory and their solution wasn’t an answer.  I asked if they would be willing to exchange this recorder for one that was supported by Windows 7.   Their response was, “no, they couldn’t do that”.  It got to the point where it was like:  OK that’s it; we’re done and we are not talking to you anymore because we’ve given you all of the answers we can.

Once again, I wrote a letter, this time to the CEO of Sony Corporation.  No, the CEO of Sony did not call me.  I got a follow up phone call from another department of theirs and they’re very, very good people.  This was great customer service!  They basically said to me, you know, we’re really sorry.  We did our checking and you’re right; there is no driver.  We talked to engineering and there’s not going to be a driver for this device.  The guy who called me said, personally, you know, I’m not happy that we’re not going to be supporting this under Windows 7; so what can we do for you?  Here’s what we want to propose.  They proposed that I look in their online products catalog, find a recorder that I wanted and they’d be happy to sell it to me at their cost, which as you might guess is fairly significant.  I took a look around their product catalog and I found a digital recorder that’s going to be perfect for the audio tracks of my videos.   I purchased it and now I’m happy.  I now have a recorder that works with Windows 7 and, in fact, it’s a better recorder than the one I had the first time around.  Sony has a customer for a new product; a product that I’ll be using for some time and probably will upgrade to a newer one when the time comes.  All and all, it was handled very well once the problem made it passed the first line of customer services at Sony.

That’s what happens sometimes with companies, especially large companies. The people at the first line; the ones you call for support or customer service just don’t have the authority to make the kind of decisions that the CEO, or whomever they delegate the issue to, can make.  That’s a lesson for all businesses out there; especially small businesses.  Don’t act like a big business; a big company when dealing in customer service.  The answer to good customer service is the same thing that I always talk about and that is to listen.  You need to listen to your customers.  That’s the first thing you do… listen.  The second thing you need to do is let to them know that you heard them.  Let them know that you not only heard them, but that you understood them.  That’s very important.  That way we don’t have communication mix ups and things don’t deteriorate even further.  And the third thing you need to do is take action and follow up.  Sony did a great job in following up. It’s a matter of actually doing what you say you’re going to do and trying to make what was a bad situation into a really great situation.  That’s my formula for customer service success.  First of all, listen.  Then let people know that you heard what they said and that you understand what they said.  And then, follow up and do what you say you were going to do.  That’s it.  It’s not too difficult and it’s certainly not a secret.

So thank you today for being at the Water Cooler Hang Out.  Thank you as always for listening and for reading.  Have a great day.

Seth Godin and Poke The Box

Seth Godin and I sat down the other day to talk about his new book, Poke the Box. It is the fastest selling book of his 12 best sellers and that is all the more remarkable because it is the first box from The Domino Project which is an independent publishing imprint founded by Seth. For all those authors who still think you must have a “name publisher” to be successfully spread your ideas, Seth and The Domino Project are proving you wrong.

Seth started The Domino Project with two goals:

  1. He wants to change the people who read (not enough do)
  2. He wants to change the way books are published (they’re too hard to find and spread).

Here’s our interview. It is 15 minutes.

Here are some resources for you to learn more about Poke the Box and The Domino Project.

Sign up for “News from The Domino Project.”

Get a free companion workbook for Poke the Box.

Buy the book or download it for your Kindle. And, just to be clear, these Amazon links are my affiliate links.

Also, this is your last chance to take my 5 question survey about The Water Cooler Hangout and get a Free Gift. It closes in 48 hours.

Please Click Here to participate. Thank you!

Guy Kawasaki Talks Enchantment

I had the pleasure of interviewing Guy Kawasaki yesterday to discuss his latest book, Enchantment:  The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions.

Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions is Guy’s tenth book. In it, he explains how to influence what people will do while maintaining the highest standards of ethics.

The book explains when and why enchantment is necessary and then the pillars of enchantment: likability, trustworthiness, and a great cause.

The next topics are launching, overcoming resistance, making enchantment endure, and using technology. There are even special chapters dedicated to enchanting your employees and your boss.

Finally, because there are times you may want to resist enchantment, there’s even a chapter about how to do this too.

If you want to change the world — or even part of the world, this book is for you. To interact with the Enchantment community, go to the Enchantment Facebook page.

Once you listen to the interview you can buy the book at these websites. And, to get an idea of how enchanting you are you can take the GREAT quiz. Great stands for Guy’s Realistic Enchantment Aptitude Test.

Now enjoy the audio interview. It lasts about 27 minutes. Thank you.

The Paleo Diet Cookbook – Podcast Interview With The Authors

Here is an interview I just completed with Dr. Loren Cordain, the rockstar and godfather of The Paleo Diet along with Nell Stephenson. The two of them along with Lorrie Cordain co-authored a brand new recipe book entitled, “The Paleo Diet Cookbook: More than 150 recipes for Paleo Breakfasts, Lunches, Dinners, Snacks, and Beverages.”

Nell is a ten time Iron Man Tri-Athlete and has qualified for the World Championship four times. You’ll want to hear what she says about Paleo and endurance sports.

Loren is the world’s foremost authority on the evolutionary basis of diet and disease. Featured on Dateline NBC, the front page of the Wall Street journal, and the New York Times, Loren Cordain is widely acknowledged as one of the world’s leading experts on the natural human diet of our Stone Age ancestors.

I hope you enjoy the interview.

Learn How to Recognize and Sell to the Four Personality Types

People do business with people that they know, like, and trust. Since we can’t pick or choose the “type” of person we are most likely to trust and like right away, we need to learn how to effectively with everyone’s personality style.” Learn how in this report and start increasing your sales right away!

Selling To The Four Personality Types