‘Enchantment: The Art of…’ by Guy Kawasaki, part two

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Enchantment:
The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions
By Guy Kawasaki
Published by Portfolio
ISBN: 9780241953648
Copyright © 2011 by Guy Kawasaki

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“By putting yourself in the mind-set of the people you’re trying to enchant, you’ll appreciate the amount of change that enchantment requires. It can take weeks or months for enchantment to occur, so prepare for a marathon, not a sprint.

Where Should You Draw the Line?

Enchantment is not about getting your way solely for your own benefit. To the contrary, if you want enchantment to last, other people must benefit, too. You also need to draw a bright line between ethical and unethical activities. Here’s a gut check to determine which side of the line you’re on:

* Are you asking people to do something that you wouldn’t do? If you won’t do something, don’t ask others to do it, either. Asking people to do what you wouldn’t do is called manipulation or coercion, not enchantment, and it doesn’t work in the long run.

* Do your interests conflict? Enchantment endures if your interests are aligned with the interests of your constituencies. Alignment makes enchantment both ethical and more enjoyable. If your interests aren’t aligned, you should either alter your interests or rethink your intended market.

* Have you hidden your conflicts of interest? Even if your interests are aligned—according to you, anyway—you should disclose your stake as an employee, shareholder, or other form of interested party. There’s no such thing as too much disclosure.

* Are you telling “noble lies”? The slope is slippery when the big picture or the greater good seems to justify the means. There is no such thing, however, as a “noble lie.” There are lies and truths—and nothing in between.

* Are you enchanting gullible people? Enchanting gullible people—folks who don’t have the ability to discern the truth or what’s best for them—is immoral. Fooling gullible people is easy and happens every day, but do not mistake this for success. Also, enchanting gullible people doesn’t improve your skills. It will, however, give you a false sense of competence and maybe turn you into a crook.

If you answer yes to any of these questions, then you’re an unethical enchanter. Your efforts might work for a short while, but the karmic scoreboard in the sky will catch up to you. Take this opportunity to transform your enchantment and to leave the dark side.

Examples and How to Use This Book

Behavioral psychology is the science of pulling habits out of rats.—Douglas Busch

In the course of writing Enchantment, I read dozens of books about persuading, influencing, and wooing people. Many of these books cite psychology studies to “prove” why you should use various techniques. When I could, I read the original papers and reports, and I learned a few things:

* In much of the research, undergraduate students were the experimental subjects. If not students, the subjects were rats or mice. They (college students) represented a small segment of the population, and making a few bucks or receiving course credits was often the motivation. Results from these studies can apply to real-world cases, but you shouldn’t assume they do.

* Scientists were looking for a “statistically significant” difference between a control group and an experimental group, a difference that they could not attribute to chance. Their salient question was, “If we were to run this study again, what are the odds we’d get the same result?” Statistical significance, however, does not always reveal how large the difference is between the control and experimental groups. Scientists call this difference the effect size.

* The people who conducted the research were scientists, and scientists try to understand and explain the world. They care about good scientific research: controls of variables, objectivity, repeatability, fame, and funding.

You probably aren’t a scientist. You probably don’t care about statistically significant good science that holds up under peer review. You probably do care about a big effect size. And even if you prefer scientific controls, let’s face reality: time constraints, competitive reactions, seasonality, consumer moods, and clueless managers are already keeping you busy.

The truth is, there is limited black-and-white, scientific proof of many enchantment techniques, and that’s OK, because the right attitude is: “This technique is interesting. Maybe it applies to us. Let’s see if it works.” The way to use Enchantment is to try these ideas, modify and adapt them as you go, abandon the losers, and run with the winners. I am going to show you how to change the world, not understand it.

Personal Stories

One of my favorite parts of magazine articles is the little story within the story, called a sidebar or callout. Done well, these stories are like a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of a slice of apple pie.

During the final stages of writing this book, I asked people to send me personal examples of enchantment. Each chapter ends with one of these stories to illustrate real-world enchantment in the person’s own words. The stories often relate to the subject of the chapter but not always. Sometimes I just thought they were cool.

My Personal Story, by Eric Dawson

Eric Dawson is a higher-education senior strategic accounts manager for Apple in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. In this personal story, he explains how a Macintosh enchanted him in the midst of a tragedy.

(Photograph not shown)

My story is how I came to work for Apple. In 1996 my son, Seth, was born with a terminal neurological disorder called lissencephaly. He couldn’t walk, talk, or sit up, and we had to tube-feed him. We were unable to teach him “cause and effect.”

I set Seth in front of a Macintosh Performa running a custom program connected to a game paddle. One minute of The Lion King would play, and then the computer would freeze. Restarting required tapping the paddle.

One day I came into the room without him knowing, and I saw him teach himself to hit the paddle. It was the proudest moment of my life. I went to work for Apple one month later. Seth passed away fifteen days after I started, but he had done his job. To this day I help empower people as an Apple employee.”

read the Jennifer Wang interview with Guy Kawasaki here

part three of ‘Enchantment’ will appear here tomorrow

About Dawn Montgomery

Dawn Montgomery doesn't believe in boxes. In 2009 she gained access to the hidden job market by connecting with commuters on the GO train, receiving coverage from The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and Hamilton Spectator, plus interviews with Canada AM, CHML 900 and That Channel; however, this was not the first example of her "box?...what box?" thinking. On arrival as an immigrant to Canada the anticipated job and accommodation were no longer available, so she sourced another opportunity and, seven days later, with suitcase of heels and coordinating bags, drove 1804k to the logging and mining community of Ear Falls (pop. 1500) Ontario; it was January, the journey took five days, she stayed two years...the path less travelled is a familiar one!
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