Change Their Minds: Getting Clients to Follow Your Lead

CHANGE_threeOne complaint I hear from many in-house designers is the desire to change the behavior of coworkers. If only they would… “meet deadlines,” “set realistic budgets,” “respect my opinion,” “treat me as a partner,” and the list goes on. Changing others’ behavior isn’t easy, but it can be done without a fiat from above, which may not even work. Here are three books that I’ve found provide some of the most clever, effective ways to do it. Make a New Year’s resolution to read one or two of them instead of wasting money on a gym membership that we both know you won’t be using.

Made to Stick Chip and Dan Heath’s breakthrough book is the perfect tool for anyone new to marketing techniques, and it’s probably a great tool for most MBAs, too. The authors provide dozens of examples of innovative messaging (from an anti-littering campaign in Texas to Jared Subway ads) that illustrate the six key qualities that make for the “stickiest” ideas. Simplicity, Unexpectedness, Concreteness, Credibility, Emotional and Stories.

Switch  Another instant classic from the Heath Brothers—I’ve read this book at least three times, and I plan to read it again this year. You’ll learn the importance of finding the bright spots rather than always focusing on problem clients, scripting crucial moves for your audience, aiming for the heart (not the head) and shrinking the change.

Nudge Richard Thaler looks at simple ways to persuade people to do the right thing by slyly tilting the tables in the right direction—like a cafeteria that puts the salad bar in a more prominent position or a company that sets 401k contributions as the default option. Some find the tactics controversial, but regardless of your view, the book will show you how to use human nature to shape the decisions that people make every day.
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