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The Allied Group is New England's leading provider of Printing, Kitting, Mailing and Fulfillment services. Our blog authors have backgrounds in Sales, Marketing, IT, Production and Operations and post useful tips, trends, news and opinions in our industry and beyond. We know you'll find something you enjoy. Most of all, be sure to jump into the conversation!

Getting Cooperation from Faculty and Colleagues - Part Two

In Part One we discussed how cultivating a spirit of liking or respect for a challenging faculty member or colleague can pay dividends in increasing their willingness to cooperate.  We saw how a strategy that once served Ben Franklin well can warm relations with coworkers today.  Research reveals some further communication strategies that can help you turn difficult associates into allies.

 

At times, colleagues who are at odds try to catch each other doing something wrong, hoping to find usable leverage.  Often, a more effective strategy is to try to catch a contentious coworker doing something right and immediately commend him or her for it.  This will not only reinforce desirable behavior but will allow you to label them as a helpful ally.  Why would you want to attach such a label to a person who may have withheld their cooperation in the past?  Eminent psychologist Elliot Aronson, PhD and his coauthor answer:

 

One of social psychology’s best documented phenomena is the self-fulfilling 
prophecy – the tendency for a definition of a situation to evoke behavior that makes the definition come true.  Dozens of experiments have shown that students who are randomly labeled “smarter” tend to act smarter…and women who are labeled “beautiful” behave as if they are beautiful.

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Turning Challenging Colleagues into Allies - Part Two

In Part One we discussed how cultivating a spirit of liking or respect for a challenging colleague can pay dividends in increasing his or her willingness to cooperate.  We saw how a strategy that once served Ben Franklin well can warm relations with colleagues today.  Research reveals some further communication strategies that can help you turn difficult associates into allies.

 

At times, executives at odds try to catch each other doing something wrong, hoping to find usable leverage.  Often, a more effective strategy is to try to catch a contentious colleague doing something right and immediately commend him or her for it.  This will not only reinforce desirable behavior but allows you to label them as a helpful ally.  Why would you want to attach such a label to a person who may have withheld their cooperation in the past?  Eminent psychologist Elliot Aronson, PhD and his coauthor answer:

 

One of social psychology’s best documented phenomena is the self-fulfilling prophecy – the tendency for a definition of a situation to evoke behavior that makes the definition come true.  Dozens of experiments have shown that students who are randomly labeled “smarter” tend to act smarter…and women who are labeled “beautiful” behave as if they are beautiful.”

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Turning Challenging Colleagues into Allies - Part One

Cooperation between colleagues can be vital to your company’s success.  Unfortunately, in a world of competing priorities and agendas, that cooperation isn’t always easy to obtain.  Fellow executives want to promote their own projects.  Some associates may be stubborn and difficult to work with.  Others may be more focused on advancing their careers than on furthering important initiatives started by other senior managers. How can you develop a beneficial alliance with a colleague who doesn’t want to cooperate?

 

Set the Stage for a Mutually Supportive Relationship

 

Before trying to persuade a difficult person it’s important to prepare your mind. Persuasion expert and bestselling author Robert Cialdini, PhD makes this recommendation:  ‘First, think of qualities and traits of this person that you can like and admire. Reflecting on these will cause you to like that person (at least a little bit). Studies show that people can instinctively sense when others like them, and when they don’t. We tend to like those who like us,’ so if your colleague senses that you appreciate him or her, they will be inclined to like you in return. Cialdini concludes, ‘We are much more easily persuaded by those we like.’

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Turning Challenging Colleagues into Allies - Part One (continued)

Continued...

"He sent it immediately and I returned it in about a week with another note, expressing strongly my sense of the favor.  When we next met in the House, he spoke to me (which he had never done before), and with great civility; and he ever after manifested a readiness to serve me on all occasions, so that we became great friends, and our friendship continued to his death.  This is another instance of the truth of an old maxim I had learned, which says, “He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another than he whom you yourself have obliged."

 

As Franklin’s experience illustrates, the fact that a difficult colleague has done you a favor conflicts with any negative feelings about you he or she may have. Minds don’t rest until such conflicts are resolved. Controlled experiments have replicated Franklin’s experience and found that those who do a favor for another usually justify their actions by feeling that the recipient deserved their generosity. As Dr. Aronson and his coauthor observed, “In effect, after doing the favor, they ask themselves, “Why would I do something nice for a jerk? Therefore, he’s not as big a jerk as I thought he was – as a matter of fact, he’s a pretty nice guy who deserves a break.” People’s tendency to rationalize their behavior can work in your favor here, warming things up considerably.

Use Ben Franklin’s strategy to jumpstart a spirit of partnership

So, to get a difficult colleague to stop blocking your efforts and start cooperating with you, why not use a communication strategy endorsed by luminaries like Ben Franklin and Elliot Aronson? Start by asking him or her to accommodate you in some small way. Make it a request that would be hard to refuse. Then, once they’ve done what you asked, be sure to warmly thank them for helping you out.  This is one of the marketing communication strategies used by airlines when they say, “We know that you have a lot of airlines to choose from, so we want to thank you for choosing us.”  Like Franklin’s fellow legislator, we all tend to think that if we’ve chosen to do something, it must be a good idea. So, getting a truculent associate to assist you in some way will often warm him or her up to helping you in the future. It can at least get the ball rolling in the right direction.

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Getting Cooperation from Faculty and Colleagues – Part One

Cooperation between admissions officers and faculty members can be crucial to a college’s strategic marketing efforts. This is particularly true when transfer credits need to be approved, when accepted students or their parents have detailed questions about academics and when yield events are taking place on campus. But developing collaborative relationships with faculty members may not be the easiest of tasks. Some colleagues may be stubborn and difficult. How can you develop a beneficial alliance with a colleague who doesn’t want to cooperate?

Set the Stage for a Mutually Supportive Relationship

Before trying to persuade a difficult person it’s important to prepare your mind. Persuasion expert and bestselling author Robert Cialdini, PhD makes this recommendation: ‘First, think of qualities and traits of this person that you can like and admire. Reflecting on these will cause you to like that person (at least a little bit). Studies show that people can instinctively sense when others like them, and when they don’t. We tend to like those who like us,’ so if your colleague senses that you appreciate him or her, they will be inclined to like you in return. Cialdini concludes, ‘We are much more easily persuaded by those we like.’

Next, Get your “Foot in the Door”

Now that you’ve set the stage you’re ready to take the next step in getting your colleague on your side. In order to get cooperation, people will often argue with those who block their efforts or make obvious attempts to “butter them up.” This can backfire and leave you in a worse position.

If the one you’re trying to influence is stubborn or resistant, you may need to take another step first. The Foot-in-the-Door technique can effectively warm up relations – and a spirit of collaboration with faculty members or other colleagues. Benjamin Franklin discovered this when America was still a British colony. His experience was analyzed by Dr. Elliot Aronson, a social psychologist voted to the list of The 100 Most Influential Psychologists of the Twentieth Century and coauthor Carol Tavris, PhD. They wrote: “While serving in the Pennsylvania legislature, Franklin was disturbed by the opposition and animosity of a fellow legislator. So he set out to win him over. He didn’t do it, he wrote, “by paying any servile respect to him” – that is, by doing the other man a favor – but by inducing his target to do a favor for him – loaning him a rare book from his library” In Franklin’s own words:

He sent it immediately and I returned it in about a week with another note, expressing strongly my sense of the favor. When we next met in the House, he spoke to me (which he had never done before), and with great civility; and he ever after manifested a readiness to serve me on all occasions, so that we became great friends, and our friendship continued to his death. This is another instance of the truth of an old maxim I had learned, which says, “He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another than he whom you yourself have obliged. 

Franklin’s experience illustrates, as Dr. Aronson observes, that the favor a difficult colleague has done you conflicts with any negative feelings about you he or she may have in mind. Minds don’t rest until such conflicts are resolved. Controlled experiments have replicated Franklin’s experience – that those who do a favor for another usually justify their actions by feeling that the recipient deserved their generosity. That can warms things up considerably.

Use Ben Franklin’s strategy to jumpstart a spirit of partnership

So, to get a stubborn faculty member or colleague to stop blocking your efforts and start cooperating with you, why not use a communication strategy endorsed by luminaries like Ben Franklin and Elliot Aronson? Start by asking him or her to accommodate you in some small way. Make it a request that would be hard to refuse. Then, once they’ve done what you asked, be sure to warmly thank them for helping you out. This is one of the marketing communication strategies used by airlines when they say, “We know that you have a lot of airlines to choose from, so we want to thank you for choosing us.” Like Franklin’s fellow legislator, we all tend to think that if we’ve chosen to do something, it must be a good idea. So, getting a truculent associate to assist you in some way will often warm him or her up to helping you in the future. It can at least get the ball rolling in the right direction.

What further creative steps can you take to forge partnerships with previously unhelpful faculty members and coworkers? You’ll find the answer in “Getting Cooperation from Faculty and Colleagues - Part Two.”

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Getting Cooperation from Faculty and Colleagues – Part One

Cooperation between admissions officers and faculty members can be crucial to a college’s strategic marketing efforts. This is particularly true when transfer credits need to be approved, when accepted students or their parents have detailed questions about academics and when yield events are taking place on campus. But developing collaborative relationships with faculty members may not be the easiest of tasks. Some colleagues may be stubborn and difficult. How can you develop a beneficial alliance with a colleague who doesn’t want to cooperate?

Set the Stage for a Mutually Supportive Relationship

Before trying to persuade a difficult person it’s important to prepare your mind. Persuasion expert and bestselling author Robert Cialdini, PhD makes this recommendation: ‘First, think of qualities and traits of this person that you can like and admire. Reflecting on these will cause you to like that person (at least a little bit). Studies show that people can instinctively sense when others like them, and when they don’t. We tend to like those who like us,’ so if your colleague senses that you appreciate him or her, they will be inclined to like you in return. Cialdini concludes, ‘We are much more easily persuaded by those we like.’

Next, Get your “Foot in the Door”

Now that you’ve set the stage you’re ready to take the next step in getting your colleague on your side. In order to get cooperation, people will often argue with those who block their efforts or make obvious attempts to “butter them up.” This can backfire and leave you in a worse position.

If the one you’re trying to influence is stubborn or resistant, you may need to take another step first. The Foot-in-the-Door technique can effectively warm up relations – and a spirit of collaboration with faculty members or other colleagues. Benjamin Franklin discovered this when America was still a British colony. His experience was analyzed by Dr. Elliot Aronson, a social psychologist voted to the list of The 100 Most Influential Psychologists of the Twentieth Century and coauthor Carol Tavris, PhD. They wrote: “While serving in the Pennsylvania legislature, Franklin was disturbed by the opposition and animosity of a fellow legislator. So he set out to win him over. He didn’t do it, he wrote, “by paying any servile respect to him” – that is, by doing the other man a favor – but by inducing his target to do a favor for him – loaning him a rare book from his library” In Franklin’s own words:

He sent it immediately and I returned it in about a week with another note, expressing strongly my sense of the favor. When we next met in the House, he spoke to me (which he had never done before), and with great civility; and he ever after manifested a readiness to serve me on all occasions, so that we became great friends, and our friendship continued to his death. This is another instance of the truth of an old maxim I had learned, which says, “He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another than he whom you yourself have obliged. 

Franklin’s experience illustrates, as Dr. Aronson observes, that the favor a difficult colleague has done you conflicts with any negative feelings about you he or she may have in mind. Minds don’t rest until such conflicts are resolved. Controlled experiments have replicated Franklin’s experience – that those who do a favor for another usually justify their actions by feeling that the recipient deserved their generosity. That can warms things up considerably.

Use Ben Franklin’s strategy to jumpstart a spirit of partnership

So, to get a stubborn faculty member or colleague to stop blocking your efforts and start cooperating with you, why not use a communication strategy endorsed by luminaries like Ben Franklin and Elliot Aronson? Start by asking him or her to accommodate you in some small way. Make it a request that would be hard to refuse. Then, once they’ve done what you asked, be sure to warmly thank them for helping you out. This is one of the marketing communication strategies used by airlines when they say, “We know that you have a lot of airlines to choose from, so we want to thank you for choosing us.” Like Franklin’s fellow legislator, we all tend to think that if we’ve chosen to do something, it must be a good idea. So, getting a truculent associate to assist you in some way will often warm him or her up to helping you in the future. It can at least get the ball rolling in the right direction.

What further creative steps can you take to forge partnerships with previously unhelpful faculty members and coworkers? You’ll find the answer in “Getting Cooperation from Faculty and Colleagues - Part Two.”

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Defeating "Digs" and Personal Attacks

It can occur in any organization, but especially in teams made up of a number of capable businesspeople. It can happen when you’re one-on-one or in a group.  It can be as small as a subtle “dig” or an outright assault on your capabilities or character.  It is a personal attack. But no matter when it happens, it can bring consequences.  Now, you might well wonder why someone from The Allied Group, a company that specializes in effective marketing communications strategies and full service fulfillment services would tackle a subject like this. But this is a problem that nearly every man or woman in business has to deal with on an all-too-regular basis. Personal attacks can make you feel badly and can make you look bad in front of your colleagues, your friends or even your boss. But just as there are effective techniques to stop a physical assault, there is a way to successfully neutralize a verbal attack that can leave you looking and feeling good.  It can dissuade your opponent from doing it again – and help you gain respect.  How can you do it? 

A little psychology can go a long way 

When under attack, our natural response is to retaliate or retreat.  Neither course will get us the result we want here.  Instead, understanding and applying some sound psychology can dramatically improve the situation. 

Eminent social psychologist Elliot Aronson, PhD is the only man in history to win each of the American Psychological Association’s top awards for research, teaching and writing. It’s considered the equivalent of the Nobel Prize. Dr. Aronson and coauthors Timothy Wilson and Robin Akert wrote, “During the past half-century social psychologists have discovered that one of the most powerful determinants of human behavior stems from our need to preserve a stable, positive self-image.”

This fact shows why, when under attack, we must resist the urge to retaliate. A cutting remark may embarrass our attacker and temporarily halt a verbal assault, but it will only prolong the war. As the research shows, we all need to view ourselves as good, intelligent, rational people.  Retaliation, then, only brings further attacks since one must defend his or her self-image.  But running away from a bully is not a good idea either.  It marks us as an easy target for future aggression.  Critics want to make themselves look and feel better by making us look and feel worse.  But there are ways to stop a critic in his tracks.  Please read on to "How to Stop a Harsh Critic in his Tracks."

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Positive results by the GPO - positive sign for industry?

There was important news released yesterday buy the U.S. Government Printing Office and it was pretty positive considering the state of our economy. The GPO has yet again reported another year with positive earnings; that's seven years in a row with positive earnings.  The financials show GPO completed the year with a net operating income of $7.9 million on total revenues of $928 million.

The GPO is the federal government’s primary centralized resource for gathering, cataloging,
producing, providing, authenticating, and preserving published U.S. government information in all its forms.

"As GPO begins to celebrate our 150th anniversary, I am proud to announce we have completed a seventh consecutive year of positive results due to the hard work and dedication of our employees," said Public Printer Bob Tapella. "GPO has re-engineered itself many times since 1861 to remain relevant and viable for the future.  It is through the efforts of our family of employees that GPO has transformed itself into a 21st century printing, digital media and secure credentialing facility."

This is great news for the print and full service fulfillment industries. The economy has taken it's toll on many organizations but this seems so be a step in the right direction.

Source: GPO - NewsRelease

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Does it Take More than Good Information to Enroll Students?

Admissions officials for both traditional and nontraditional programs have often heard that the fit between institution and student is most important factor in admissions. Getting good information out to prospective students has been seen as a primary tool for recruiting them. But in this difficult economy, institutions that would achieve success must do much more than just inform prospective students of the programs available to them.

College and university marketing departments often do an excellent job of disseminating information about their academic and extracurricular offerings. Marketing communication strategies follow a predictable pattern: Advertising by mass media, personalized direct mail or email often drives prospective students to the college’s website where they can get detailed information on the program of their choice. This can help traditional and nontraditional students who know they want to go to college find out the information they need to make an informed decision. 

Unfortunately, what it rarely does is persuade anyone to actually enroll. Researchers Herbert Hyman and Paul Sheatsley of the American Association for Public Opinion Research discovered years ago that information campaigns often fail to effectively impart ideas, much less inspire action. In fact, according to Stanford Graduate of Business Professor Chip Heath and his coauthor, information designed to persuade the intellect can actually deter prospects from taking action.

Detailed factual information can actually inhibit action

The authors described a controlled study. College students were paid five $1 bills for completing a task. Inside the envelope containing the money was a donation request from the Save the Children foundation. The study was designed to measure what kind of message would best move college students to action – in this case by donating some of the money they had just been paid. One letter outlined convincing facts and figures that showed the critical need to prevent malnutrition among African children. The other message was designed to appeal to the emotions. It described the serious problems facing one African child, Rokia, with a request to help her and others like her.  

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How to stop a harsh critic in his tracks

In "Defeating "Digs" and Personal Attacks" we spoke how critics will sometimes use subtle "digs" or verbally attack our work or character in order to make themselves look better by making us look worse.

The key, then, to defeating this behavior is to use your detractor’s need for a positive self-image to make him stop his verbal aggression.  According to Dr. Aronson and coauthor Carol Tavris, PhD in Mistakes Were Made (but not by me), “When you do anything that harms someone else – get them in trouble, verbally abuse them or punch them out – a powerful new factor comes into play:  the need to justify what you did.”

So, the one making an oral onslaught (however small or large) has to justify it in order to continue to feel good about himself. If he* cannot justify his behavior, he may experience significant cognitive dissonance (a form of emotional uneasiness).   And according to Dr. Aronson and his coauthors, “Dissonance produces mental discomfort, ranging from minor pangs to deep anguish; people don’t rest easy until they find a way to reduce it.” 

That’s another reason why retaliating doesn’t work. If you respond with a cutting remark or point out his flaws, your adversary will ignore his own unkind words and focus completely on what you said.  Your reply will give him the justification he seeks.  You will have let him off the emotional hook. He may, in fact, come to feel that you deserved his attack and will be more inclined towards another verbal assault in the future.

You can avoid all this by making it difficult or impossible for your opponent to justify what he did.  How can you prevent a critic from justifying his negative words?  A great way to do that was revealed by wise King Solomon, who wrote:

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