This idea is so good, I wish it were mine.
But I’m happy that it’s out there.
This simple idea plays to our human desire to win — at business and at life.
It’s difficult to succeed at any endeavor without allies. You need people behind you who want to see you win.
How do you motivate people who with you and for you to over-deliver? How do you gain allies in a hyper-competitive landscape?
The answer is simple.
You have to give more in order to win more.
Psychology of Motivation
This really isn’t too much different from the philosophy Dale Carnegie laid out in How To Win Friends and Influence People eighty years ago.
Carnegie emphasized being genuinely interested in people, listening to them, being empathetic to others, and building people up as opposed to tearing them down.
In order to make people want to help you, they have to have some sort of motivation for doing so.
Most people, whether they realize it or not, evaluate situations by weighing whether it will benefit them to go out of their way to help you.
This applies to the employee who ponders whether they should go above and beyond the call of duty, and the colleague or acquaintance whom you approach for an potential alliance.
The majority of people ask themselves, “What’s in it for me?”
Making It Worthwhile
People continually weigh the cost of their extra effort against the potential benefit to themselves.
As advanced as we are, we are still primarily motivated by a need to survive.
We comply with requests from bosses, or people in a position of authority or power over us. We are dismissive towards those with no power over us, or if we feel they cannot harm us.
We follow orders or take requests when we believe the benefits outweigh the repercussions.
We are also motivated to give extra effort to those we feel affinity or loyalty to. Those people who have been kind to us in the past, we feel good about giving more of time and effort towards. We reward people who we like.
Motivating People We Work Alongside
A few months ago — marketer, author and agency owner Gary Vaynerchuk was asked, “How do you push your team beyond their best?”
Gary’s answer was interesting, and it’s one he’s reiterated several times since then.
Give 51% of the relationship to the other person, and they will give the other 49% back to you.
From the video, starting at 9:41 in:
The only way to get someone to over-deliver is to attack their own selfishness. Theirs.
You’re selfish because you want more out of your team, to help you.
Well, the best way to get that to happen is to over-deliver against their selfishness.
The single best way to win is to give 51% of the relationship.
If there was a jury of five hundred people — that they would all agree you’ve given 51 percent of the relationship. And you have to be good enough to know what to do with the other 49.
So I would attack their own selfishness. I would make it so good for them that you’ve guilted them into delivering.
You’ve got to be up front. You’ve got to be fair. You’ve got to know when you’re setting up people for victory, and when [you’re] not.
You’ve got to do that, and then you get to judge. Not beforehand.
Way too many of you are making this mistake yourself. You didn’t train [people]. You didn’t put the person in a position to succeed. You’re not communicating properly on what you expect. You’re not shooting it straight. You’re scared to hurt feelings. You’re too much of a dick.
It could be a million different reasons why it’s not happening.
But it is always going to be the greatest form of meritocracy that you can create. And it starts with your ear, but it finishes, in my opinion, on a second-step move on you actually delivering on that.
Here’s what I got out of this:
When you truly believe you’re good at what you do, you don’t feel the need to suppress or belittle people in your organization. You give them the tools they need to succeed. You communicate clearly and honestly, and set expectations.
When you give everyone you meet 51% of the relationship, they feel obligated to give you the other 49% of the relationship. That’s the Law of Reciprocity.
You just have to be willing to give more than you get, in the faith that more often than not, you will get the rest of the relationship. This is how you build loyal employees and allies.
Help enough people get what they want, and you will always get what you want.
What If I’m Not An Employer?
You can still apply this 51-49 principle to your other relationships, and sow that relationship equity that will later bear fruit.
Even if you’re just a normal person, you can be helpful to other people.
Know two people who have common interests or complementary businesses? Introduce them to each other.
Have friends who are trying to promote their business or cause? Help spread the word to people who may be interested.
Run across some information or an article that may be a big help to someone you know? Share it with them.
There are hundreds of ways to help others, even when you think you don’t have a lot of power.
Generosity is a choice. How you treat other people is a choice.
You have more power than you think, to motivate people, to change your destiny, and the destiny of others.