How Trust Affects Creative Collaboration


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Control freaks and psychological safety — We brought Eric Olive on the podcast as a guest to talk about the science of decisions and we ended up talking about control and safety. How do you create an environment of psychological safety? And how does that encourage creative collaboration?

Eric has also offered a list of articles and books for more reading which we’ve added below.

You can reach Eric at:

uiuxtraining.com
eric@uiuxtraining.com

Articles

A Leader’s Framework for Decision Making by David J. Snowden and Mary E. Boone HBR November 2007

Fooled by Experience by Emre Soyer and Robin M. Hogarth

Leaders as Decision Architects by John Beshears and Francesca Gino— Harvard Business Review. Structure your organization’s work to encourage wise choices.

“Organizing and the Process of Sensemaking”, Organization Science, vol. 16, no. 4, pp. 409-421.

“The Identification of Solution Ideas During Organizational Decision Making,” Management Science 39: 1071–85. Paul C. Nutt (1993),

“Surprising but True: Half the Decisions in Organizations Fail,” Academy of Management Executive 13: 75–90. Paul C. Nutt, 1999.

Only for HBR (Harvard Business Review) Subscribers

Before You Make That Big Decision by Daniel Kahneman, Dan Lovallo, and Olivier Sibony. Harvard Business Review.

The Hidden Traps in Decision Making by John S. Hammond, Ralph L. Keeney, and Howard Raiffa. Harvard Business Review, January 2006.

Books

A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger

Beyond Greed and Fear by Hersh Shefrin

Decisive by Dan and Chip Heath

Educating Intuition by Robin Hogarth

Focus by Daniel Goleman

How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer

Intuition at Work by Gary Klein

Nudge by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein

Seeing what Others Don’t by Gary Klein

The Art Of Thinking Clearly by Rolf/Griffin Dobelli

Winning Decisions by J. Edward Russo and Paul J.H. Schoemaker’

 

Human Tech is a podcast at the intersection of humans, brain science, and technology. Your hosts Guthrie and Dr. Susan Weinschenk explore how behavioral and brain science affects our technologies and how technologies affect our brains.

You can subscribe to the HumanTech podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, or where ever you listen to podcasts.

How do you build a culture of trust?


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How’s the trust quotient where you work? Or in the country where you live? How do you build a culture where people trust each other?

We talk about the research on cooperation, punishment and trust in this episode of Human Tech.

For more details on the topic after you listen to the podcast, you may want to check out the blog post and video post on the same topic.


Human Tech is a podcast at the intersection of humans, brain science, and technology. Your hosts Guthrie and Dr. Susan Weinschenk explore how behavioral and brain science affects our technologies and how technologies affect our brains.

You can subscribe to the HumanTech podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, or where ever you listen to podcasts.

Your Brain On Stories

Drawing of a brainOne day, many years ago, when I was early in my career, I found myself in front of a classroom full of people who didn’t want to be there. Their boss had told them they had to attend the class I was giving. I knew that many, even most, of them thought the class was a waste of their time, and knowing that was making me nervous. I decided to be brave and forge ahead. Certainly my great content would grab their attention, right?

I took a deep breath, smiled, and with a strong voice, I said  “Hello everyone. I’m certainly glad to be here.” More than half the class wasn’t even looking at me. They were reading their emails and writing out to do lists. One guy had the morning newspaper open and was reading that. It was one of those moments where seconds seem like hours. I thought to myself in panic, What am I going to do?

Then I had an idea. “Let me tell you a story,” I said. At the word “story” everyone’s head jerked up and all eyes were on me. I knew I only had a few seconds to start a story that would hold their attention. “It was 1988 and a team of Navy officers on the ship Vincennes in the Persian Gulf, were staring at a computer screen.  Something had just appeared on the radar in protected air space. They had orders to shoot down any hostile aircraft. Was this a hostile aircraft? Was it a military plane? Was it a commercial airliner? They had 2 minutes to decide what to do.”

I had them! Everyone was interested and riveted. I finished the story, which nicely made my point about why it’s important to design usable computer interfaces, and we were off to a great start. The rest of the day flew by, everyone was interested and engaged, and I got some of my best teacher evaluations ever.

Everyone likes stories. We like to listen to stories, read stories, watch stories (movies, TV, theatre) and tell stories. In fact, stories are our normal mode of information processing. Stories are so normal to us that we don’t even stop to think about why that is.

Let’s say you are listening to me give a presentation on the global economy. I’m NOT telling a story, but giving you facts and figures. If we had you hooked up to an fMRI machine we would see that your auditory cortex is active, as you’re listening, as well as Wernicke’s area of the brain where words are processed. If you were reading a newspaper article on the same topic then we would see, again Wernicke’s area as well as your visual cortex as you are reading.

But what if I started telling you a story about a family in South America that is being affected by changes in the global economy – a story about the father going to work in a foreign country to earn enough for the family, and the mother having to drive 100 kilometers for health care… what’s going on in your brain now?  the Wernicke’s area would be active again, as well as the same auditory or visual cortices, BUT now there’s more activity. We would see many other parts of your brain light up. If, in my story, I described the sharp smell of the pine forest high in the Andes where this family lives, your olfactory sensory areas of the brain would be active as though you were smelling the forest. If I described the mother driving over rutted muddy roads, with the vehicle careening from side to side, your motor cortex would be lighting up as though you were driving on a bumpy road. And if I started talking about the devastation the family felt when their young son died before he could get medical treatment, then the empathy areas of the brain would be active.

Which means that you are literally using more of your brain when you are listening to a story. And because you are having a richer brain event, you enjoy the experience more, you understand the information more deeply, and retain it longer.

Paul Zak, a professor at Claremont College and author of The Moral Molecule: How Trust Works, researches the role of oxytocin. Oxytocin is a neurochemical in the brain that Zak says gives the “it’s safe to approach others” signal in the brain. In his research he has discovered that:

  • If you develop tension in the story you will sustain attention.
  • If you sustain attention then it is more likely that the people hearing the story will start to share the emotions of the main characters in the story.
  • If people share the emotions of the main characters then they are likely to mimic the feelings and behaviors of the characters when the story is over.
  • Listening to a character story like this can cause oxytocin to be released.

And if oxytocin is released then it is more likely that people will trust the situation and the storyteller and more likely that they will take whatever action the storyteller asks them to take.

What do you think? Do you use stories purposely to increase engagement when you communicate?

365 Ways To Persuade & Motivate: #1 Direct Eye Contact Is Not Always Best

Photo of Presidents Clinton and Ford looking at each other

We’ve all been told how important it is to make eye contact when interacting with other people. Direct eye contact makes you seem trustworthy, confident, and interested in the topic you are discussing, right? All those things are true BUT new research shows that direct eye contact can lessen the effectiveness of your message in one critical situation:

Frances Chen researched people listening and watching videos of other people talking about controversial social and/or political topics. Participants watched videos with speakers discussing topics with a strong viewpoint that was opposite to what the participants believed. Some participants were asked to watch the speaker’s eyes, and others were asked to watch the speaker’s mouth. Participants who watched the speaker’s eyes were LESS likely to change their opinion on the topic than the participants who watched the speaker’s mouth.

Why would this be true? Chen’s hypothesis is that direct eye contact can be seen as threatening.

Implications?:

  • If you are talking to people who agree with you, and trying to get them fired up to take action, then use direct eye contact.
  • But If you are talking to people who don’t agree with you, then you may want to minimize the amount of direct eye contact you have.
  • If you are making a video and you believe that people will agree with you, then look right into the camera lense.
  • If you are making a video and you think people don’t agree with you, then look off to the side instead of into the camera.

What do you think? Have you experienced this difference between eye contact and whether you agree with the person speaking?

Here’s the research citation:

Chen, F.S., Minson, J.A., Schöne, M., & Heinrichs, M. (in press). In the eye of the beholder: Eye contact increases resistance to persuasion. Psychological Science.

To learn more check out our 1 day seminar on The Science of Persuasion.

100 Things You Should Know About People: #73 — 1st Screening About Trusting A Website Is Based On The "Look And Feel"

The word TrustThere isn’t a lot of actual research on trust and website design. There are a lot of opinions, but not necessarily much real data. Research by Elizabeth Sillence and team (2004) provides some solid data, at least in regard to health websites. Sillence researched how people decide whether and which health websites to trust. Participants in the study were all patients with hypertension. (In previous research Sillence used the topic of menopause, and found similar results). In this study participants used websites to look for information about hypertension.

Design is the first filter — When participants in the study rejected a health website as not being trustworthy, 83% of their comments were related to design factors, such as an unfavorable first impression of the look and feel, poor navigation, color, text size and the name of the website.

Content is the second filter — Once the first filter was applied, if the website hadn’t been rejected, then participants mentioned content rather than design factors. 74% of the participants’ comments were about content being important in deciding whether they found a site trustworthy (after the initial design impression). For example, if the sites were owned by well known and respected organizations, advice written by medical experts, and sites that were specific to them and that they felt were written for people like themselves.

A One-Two Punch — People use both design factors and content in deciding whether to trust a website, but the design impression comes first. If the design is not professional and deemed trustworthy they’ll never see the content.

What do you think? Do you find that you do that initial first impression based on design?

And for those of you who like to read the research:

Sillence, Elizabeth, Briggs, P. Fishwick, L., & Harris, P. (2004). Trust and mistrust of online health sites. CHI’04 Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference On Human Factors In Computer Systems. New York: ACM.


 

100 Things You Should Know About People: #72 — Trust Is The Best Predictor Of Happiness

 

Book Cover of The Geography of BlissIf you want to know who is happiest, then figure out who feels the most trust.Which country has the happiest people? — Eric Weiner traveled all over the world in search of answers to the questions: Which countries have the happiest people and why? His answers surprised him and they surprised me too. Based on research, Iceland comes out towards the top of the pile, and Saudi Arabia towards the bottom.

Happiness factors — Here is some of what he discovered and writes about:

Extroverts are happier than introverts.

Optimists are happier than pessimists.

Married people are happier than singles, but people with children are the same as childless couples.

Republicans are happier than democrats.

People who go to church are happier than those who don’t.

People with college degrees are happier than those without, but people with advanced degrees are less happy.

People with an active sex life are happier than those without.

Women and men are equally happy, but women have a wider emotional range.

Having an affair will make you happy, but not if your spouse finds out and leaves you.

People are least happy when they are commuting to work.

Busy people are happier than those with too little to do.

Trust is the best predictor — But the best predictor of happiness is trust. If people trust the people around them, friends, and family, and if they trust their government, then they will score highest on the happiness surveys.

What do you think? Why is trust such a big predictor?

Eric Weiner’s book is a informative, but it’s also a fun read, filled with interesting stories as he travels all around the world. I highly recommend it, and here’s a link for the book at Amazon:

 

 

 

Do You Know The Trust Quotient of Your Organization?

Avis Button: We Try HarderLast week I gave the keynote talk at the Big D conference in Dallas Texas. (It’s a great conference and I suggest you check it out next year.) The conference was Friday and Saturday, although I could only go to the very beginning of day 2. I had to leave in the morning to go to the airport and catch my flight home.

Problem #1: I’m one of these “nervous” travelers, so I always make sure to leave plenty of time to get to the airport. I left the conference building on the deserted campus of Southern Methodist University, and walked to the parking garage where my Avis rental car was parked. As I went to get in I saw that I had a flat tire — completely flat. The question now was, could I deal with the flat tire and still get to the airport on time?

Thus began an hour and one half long very frustrating journey into voice interface hell. I called the number on my Avis paperwork, and went from voice tree to voice tree to voice tree. I was trying to get help with the tire, as well as find out if I could leave the car and get a cab to the airport. I would try one branch of the voice tree be on hold for 15 minutes. I would call another branch and talk to someone who would transfer me back to the same place I had been 30 minutes ago. I made at least 15 different phone calls and talked to at least 12 different people.

I will admit that there were times when I was sobbing into the phone, and although a few of the people on the other end sounded sympathetic, there appeared to be no way they could help me. At one point I decided to change the tire myself and just drive to the airport, but then discovered that, although there was a spare tire and a jack, there were no other tools (lug wrench?) in the trunk.

After 90 minutes of this, I did manage to talk to someone who was going to come tow the car. I gave him directions to where it was, hoped he’d be able to find it, left the keys in the car, and called my hotel (that I had already checked out of) and asked them to send a taxi. The taxi driver obliged my request to drive really fast, and I even made my plane home. I have no idea if Avis ever got the car. I sure hope they did! Of course I have not heard from them.

Apple vs. Avis: Let’s contrast that experience with what happened when I discovered that I had a large crack in my beloved iPad screen. I’ve had the iPad for a few weeks now, and am definitely attached to it. Imagine my dismay upon discovering a huge crack. I called Apple (I always buy apple care for my apple products) and was transferred to a person in about 2 minutes. He actually wasn’t sure what to do (said it was the first time anyone had called in with a cracked screen to him). After first asking if the crack was sharp and would hurt me (it wasn’t, but I appreciated his concern), he asked if they could call me back. Which of course they promptly did. We then discussed options (go to a store, but there is no store near me, or send it in by fedex, or have them send me a new one and then I send it in etc), I picked an option, and the whole thing was taken care of in a matter of minutes.

I know that an iPad is not the same as a rental car. But the real difference here is that Apple wants to take care of problems and has created a support system to do so, and Avis has not. I pay to have “apple care” and they do care. Apple has put the customer/user experience high up on their list of priorites. Avis, on the other hand,  is a confused conglomeration of support around the world. I’d pay extra to have “avis care” but there is no such option. At this point, the slogan, “we try harder” is merely a slogan without any teeth behind it.

Apple will continue to get my business. Avis will not. Assuming I rent a vehicle once a month for $250 each time, that’s about $3000 a year. Over a 10 year period that’s $30,000. You’d think that Avis would not want to lose $30k of business from a single customer.

It’s all about the customer experience. It’s all about what happens when something goes wrong. Things always go wrong. Have you researched your company? What happens when something goes wrong for your customers? Have you experienced what it’s like from their point of view? Have you put time and attention on customer care when there are problems? Your true business is not just the product or service that customers initially come to you for. It’s the relationship you have with them. It’s when things go wrong that you find out who your friends really are. And it’s when things go wrong that you find out which businesses you want to continue to have relationships with. People make decisions about what companies to work with, and they make those decisions largely unconsciously. They will decide to work with companies they trust. How you handle problems and mistakes has a huge impact on trust.

What is the trust quotient of your organization?

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Trust Lesson #2: Building Trust Is Not Enough

I choose the vendor I trust and have a “habit” for: I saw the movie Julie and Julia and now am reading the book. I got inspired, therefore, to try making a souffle and a quiche. Except I don’t own a souffle dish or a quiche dish. So, time to do my part for the economy, and actually purchase some kitchen wares. I happened to be in a Williams Sonoma store and even looked at and picked up both a quiche and a souffle dish. But I didn’t purchase them. I was thinking about a news story I had read recently that Amazon is positioning itself to be the major retailer of everything. I’m an Amazon fan (I actually bought their stock when they first went public and then stupidly sold it about 3 months later!), so I decided I’d buy my souffle and quiche dishes online at Amazon.

Uh, oh, something goes wrong: I quickly found what I wanted and ordered with “one click”. Two days later they arrive — each broken into little pieces.  Next I go online to let them know and get a refund. You can’t talk to anyone when you have a problem at Amazon, and the refund process is NOT easy. I have to find the right form online (took several tries). I have to fill out the form correctly (several more tries). I have to print labels (they want the broken dishes back). I have to send the dishes back separately. One has to go back via UPS and the other through the US mail (why is this?!?).

Trust is gone: I am a loyal Amazon fan. I buy hundreds of dollars worth of merchandise from Amazon each year. But I can tell you I will not buy anything breakable from them again, and I will think twice about buying anything that may have to be returned. This experience has eroded my trust, and not because the dishes arrived broken, but because it is so hard to get things rectified if there is a problem. Not being able to talk to a person makes me feel like Amazon doesn’t care about my experience as a customer.

Building trust isn’t enough: It’s one thing to miss out on an opportunity to build trust with a new customer. But it’s even worse to erode trust with someone who was loyal. Pay attention to the customers you have now. Make sure you evaluate your website, not only in terms of building trust, but in terms of keeping trust.

Trust Issues — A Sure Way to Kill a Marketing Campaign


Today I received a Linked In message from someone I don’t know describing a free assessment tool for using social media to generate leads. The word FREE was used 3 times in all caps, so it caught my attention, of course, (FREE is a trigger word), and I clicked on the link to the web page. The page itself had some good persuasive design, but Trust alarm bells started ringing, and before long the entire interaction had gone down the drain.

Three critical Trust factors were violated in this interaction:

Trust Issue 1: Insincerity — The original linked in email started with: “I think you attended one of our free training classes on Generating Leads using LinkedIN and or Facebook in the past.“… I don’t remember attending any training classes on this topic, and the author even says “I think”… so it’s an amazing testament to the word FREE that I even went the next step and clicked on the link. But my Trust alarms were activated by that first sentence, and that colored the rest of my experience.

Trust Issue 2: Mispellings and grammatical errors — At the web page itself there was a grammatical error and a mispelled word. I know this sounds small, but these are Trust issues. I was already on alert because of the original email, and seeing these errors in the copy of the web page made me wonder how legitimate these people were. STILL the copy at the web page was persuasive and I was willing to fill out the form for the free assessment. Willing, but not able! Read on…

Trust Issue 3: Usability issues and errors — I tried to fill out the form 4 times! There were numerous unexplained errors… One of them said that Field #6 requires numbers… well, none of the fields are labelled as Field #6, but I counted and I think this was the phone number field… I did have a number in it… Another error was that there was a text box labelled “Additional Request”. I had no idea what to put in there, but I got an error message saying it was required! I tried 4 times to fill out the form, but kept getting errors. Now my trust had eroded down to zero. Not only will I not be getting my free assessment, or buying their service for $199 — I will have a hard time trusting the company, and I even have written this blog post, passing on my trust issues to others.

Lesson — Make sure you aren’t violating trust. Although each of these trust issues is small on its own, together they create a Trust 3-alarm fire that chases away potential customers.