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The Art of Woo: Using Strategic Persuasion to Sell Your Ideas


The Art of Woo: Using Strategic Persuasion to Sell Your Ideas Mario Moussa, Ph.D., MBA Co-Director, Wharton Strategic Persuasion Workshop Senior Fellow, Leonard Davis ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Art of Woo: Using Strategic Persuasion to Sell Your Ideas

The Art of Woo Using Strategic Persuasion to
Sell Your Ideas
  • Mario Moussa, Ph.D., MBA
  • Co-Director, Wharton Strategic Persuasion
  • Senior Fellow, Leonard Davis Institute of Health
    Economics, The University of Pennsylvania

Why Woo?
  • Even experts constantly focus on improving their
  • Woo is a relationship-based selling process.
  • Now more than ever, it is important to hone your
    relationship-building skills by reflecting on the
    assumptions that drive your work-related behavior.

Two success factors.
  • Self-Awareness
  • Situational Awareness

Some of my most challenging negotiations involve
the people I work with.
The Five Barriers You and your idea.
Why should I pay attention to you or your idea?
Beliefs and Values
Your Idea
Channels and Language
Professionals who have the skills to build
social capital are top performers.
  • Higher social capital (measured as more
    connections outside their division) Average of
    15 more earning power than those with lower
    social capital.
  • Seen as having better ideas.
  • Enhanced performance
  • 31 more were evaluated as Far Exceed
  • 43 more were promoted to a higher rank
  • 51 less left the company

Source Ronchi, D., Cross, R., Burt, R.
Unpublished studies and consulting work.
EQ or IQ?
  • Earn as much as five times more.
  • More effective than the disciplined technical
  • IQ?

Not Important
Very Important
Sources Harvard Professor Lawrence Katz, quoted
in The Populist Myths on Income Inequality,
David Brooks, New York Times, 9/7/06 Daniel
Pink, A Whole New Mind.
Collaboration involves cross-cultural
Source Deborah Dougherty
What is corporate culture?
Strategies, goals, vision and mission statements
How the company is organized, how people do their
work, what norms govern behavior
Taken-for-granted beliefs, perceptions, thoughts
and feelings about how to run a successful
Based on Schein, Edgar H. The Corporate Culture
Survival Guide. Jossey-Bass Publishers San
Francisco, 1999.
Organizations are political.
  • 95 of all organizations are political to some
    extent. Nearly half are political to a very
    great or fair extent.
  • Political skills strongest predictor of
    performance ratings, outstripping by far both
    intelligence and personality traits.

Politics the ability to sell ideas
Sources How Frequent is Organizational
Political Behavior, Wickenberg Kylen
Political Skill at Work
Especially on boards, formal authority has limits.
  • When you run General Electric, there are 7 to 12
    times a year when you have to say, youre doing
    it my way. If you do it 18 times, the good
    people will leave. If you do it three times, the
    company falls apart.
  • Big decisions require, on average, consultation
    with twenty people. Little decisions require
    consultation with eight.

Source Jeff Immelt quoted in Joe Nocera,
Running G.E., Comfortable In His Skin, NYT, C1,
What language do you speak?
A. Authority (emphasis on using formal position
or rules) B. Rationality (emphasis on using
reasons) C. Vision (emphasis on organizational
goals, purposes, and aspirations) D.
Relationship (emphasis on liking, similarity, and
reciprocity) E. Interests/Incentives (emphasis
on using trades and compromises) F. Politics
(emphasis on managing perceptions and building
Adapted from influence research conducted by
David Kipnis and Gary Yukl, and other sources.
Your toolbox.
Wooing is a four-step process.
  • Survey your situation What is my idea, and how
    is it better than the alternatives? Who are the
    decision makers and influencers? What is my
    stepping stone strategy?
  • Remove the BRICCs Beliefs, Relationships,
    Interests, Credibility, Channels.
  • Make your pitch Use PCAN (because meaning
    matters). Make your pitch memorable.
  • Secure your commitments Target key individuals.
    Manage the politics. Create a snowball effect.

Survey Your Situation and Remove Barriers
Influence the influencers.
Target people who live in different cultures.
  • A restructured group at a bank included three
    practices business process reengineering,
    information technology, and database management.
  • Conflicting assumptions about the work
  • Business process -- highly defined 6-step
    engagement methodology
  • IT one-off, flexible, and customized approaches
  • Value differences becomes labels for the other
    group inflexible vs. inattentive to deadlines.
  • Solution Find Tom, who works with both groups
    and understands how to bridge differences.

Source Rob Cross
Practice strategic relationship-building.
  • Prepare
  • Build trust
  • Apologize if you break it
  • Ask for favors reciprocity
  • Ben Franklin
  • Match styles similarity
  • Trump and his lawyer
  • Make an effort to be friendly
  • Slight attentions often bring back reward as
    great as it is unlooked for.
  • Meet face to face when the stakes are high
  • Parsons and Icahn

Set your goals carefully.
  • Types of goals
  • Idea-polishingAsking for input no agreement
  • AccessRequesting an introduction to an
  • AttitudeLooking for the Hmm, good idea!
  • AuthorizationGetting approval and even resources
    to take the next step.
  • EndorsementSeeking active support in public or
    behind the scenes.
  • DecisionSecuring formal sign-off.
  • ImplementationEmbedding your idea in policies
    and procedures.

Credibility It depends on your context.
  • Expertise
  • Competence
  • Trustworthiness

It takes time to change beliefs.
Jody Thompson and Cali Ressler
Driving change at Newell Rubbermaid.
  • Newell needed
  • A sharp marketing focus. (Galli was a top sales
    person at BlackDecker, rising to lead its global
    power tools unit.)
  • Strong cost cutting measures executed swiftly in
    order to absorb Rubbermaid. (He had cut costs
    aggressively at Amazon.)
  • Executive drive (He was known as a hard-charging

Image from Wall Street Journal
I felt speed was essential. - Joseph Galli
Career advice about organizational culture
  • Work with it when you can You need to look for
    the informal power of the corporation, not
    necessarily the way the organization looks.
  • Think politically Establish allies with the
    real movers and shakers in the organization
    because thats the way you will be the most
  • Pay attention to beliefs and values You can
    never succeed on your own. Make things in a way
    thats acceptable to the norms and values of the
    corporation that you work in.

Linda Hudson, BAE Systems
Source NYT, 9/20/09, Corner Office interview
with Linda Hudson, President of land and
armaments group at BAE.
Cognitive perspective-taking.
  • If there is any secret to success, it lies in
    the ability to get the other persons point of
    view and see things from that persons angle as
    well as your own. Henry Ford
  • Historical studies Lenin vs. Trotsky, Castro vs.
    Che Guevara, Robert E. Lee vs. Ulysses S. Grant.

People make their decisions based on what the
facts mean to them, not on the facts themselves.

Communicate Simply and Memorably
What is this person trying to say?
Heres how a well-known executive answered a
question about his plans for a potential merger
Forgetting the business logic and the price,
there will be options down the road there, I
would answer your question about capable and that
we weren't really quite capable yet because our
army was doing all the other stuff we had to do,
particularly the systems conversions. The army
will be capable to do other stuff sometime next
year, which is reasonable. Doesn't mean we will.
Are you tapping?
Source Made to StickWhy Some Ideas Survive and
Others Die
If you have a simple problem, you can offer a
simple solution. But most organizational
problems are complex. So you either simplify the
problem and offer a solution, or embrace the
complexity and do nothing -- adapted from Dan
Source NYT, October 17, 2010, Week in Review
Define the problem Eat a healthier diet.
  • Chronic and preventable health conditions, such
    as obesity and type 2 diabetes, account for the
    vast majority of U.S. medical costs.
  • One-third of the U.S. population is obese, and
    two-thirds are overweight. In terms of dollars
    and cents, the price tag for this problem is
    enormous. According to one study, the annual
    direct health care costs associated with obesity
    in the United States are 80 billion.
  • Goal Motivate your staff to eat a healthier
  • Define eat a healthier diet.

Sources Population Health Creating a Culture of
Wellness Switch
You are what you buy.
  • 18
  • 35

Think PCAN .
  • Problem A short, concise statement that defines
    the problem your idea solves (or the need it
  • Cause An explanation of the cause of this
    problem or need.
  • Answer Your solution (or answer) for the
  • Net benefits A summary of why your answer is
    the best available, all options considered.

Source Ch. 7, The Art of Woo
Align your evidence with the situation.
  • Data-based statistics
  • Should Yahoo run ads next to news stories?
  • Specific examples
  • Abraham Lincoln Never ask an argument to do
    what an illustration can do more easily.
  • Direct experience demonstrations and tangible
  • Should Intel invest in a new semiconductor chip?
  • Personal testimony
  • Should you take the medicine recommended by your
  • Social consensus
  • Everybody knows . . .

Make your message memorable.
  • Make it vivid Use physical and mental pictures.
  • Use demonstrations and symbolic actions.
  • Put your heart into it.
  • Tell a story.
  • Personalize it Use your own experience.
  • Make it a puzzle.
  • Build bridges with analogies and metaphors.

Source Ch. 8, The Art of Woo
Persuasion Styles
Self vs. Other
More Other-Oriented
More Self-Oriented
Secure Commitments
The Psychology of Commitment.
  • Cognitive Dissonance.
  • Consistency Principle.

Sources Cialdini C.A. Kiesler
Mind and Body What you say vs. what you do
  • Planning Fallacy/Bias.
  • Neuroeconomics Planner (Cold) vs. Doer
  • Will power Radishes and Cookies.
  • Self control is a limited resource.
  • Can you force behavior change?

Sources Nudge Switch Wansik
Change the situation behavior change.
  • How do you get people to eat less?
  • What lies behind resistance
  • Situation
  • Lack of clarity
  • Exhaustion

Source Brian Wansik, Mindless Eating Switch
Be a choice architect.
  • Prime commitment by walking through next steps.
  • The flu shot lecture
  • Make the ask.
  • Youre going to ask him for the order, right?
    (consistency principle)
  • If the answer is no, then explore what lies
    behind the answers conflicting beliefs or
    interests, lack of similarity, etc.
  • Have another credible person hear the commitment
    (social pro pressure).
  • Exploit the mere-measurement effect.
  • Promote easy-to-repeat habits. Habits are the
    enormous fly-wheel of society.
  • Look right!

Source Nudge
Take advantage of positive deviance.
I enter a patient's room to take care of her
trach (breathing tube) and to provide suctioning.
Her son states, "Watch Miss Denise." Of course I
feel like I am on camera. When I am finished, he
comments to his mother Did you notice what she
does that the nursing home personnel is not
doing? She is washing, using gel, gloves and she
uses gel again when completed He states to me
that everyone who has been involved in his mom's
care from ICU to GMF, on 2 different admissions,
are the best and that ALL employees wash, gel and
have gloved EVERY TIME and that maybe people from
our team should go to the affiliated Nursing Home
and teach them.
"Once you find deviant behaviors, don't tell
people about them. It's not a transfer of
knowledge. It's about changing behavior. You
enable people to practice a new behavior, not to
sit in a class learning about it. -- Jerry
Source Sternin, Jerry and Robert Choo. The
Power of Positive Deviancy, Harvard Business
Review, 2005.
Create pull by focusing on the interests of the
right people.
  • Handwashing in hospitals triangulating to
    create pull
  • The problem. Failure of hospital workers to wash
    their hands between patients is by far the
    biggest cause of infections that patients pick up
    in hospitals.
  • The intervention. Patients were taught the risks
    and instructed to ask doctors, nurses and others
    Did you wash your hands? They received stickers
    and buttons as prompting aids.
  • The result. 57 asked caregivers (90 asked
    nurses 32 physicians.) Soap use rose 34.
  • Source LDI Issue Brief, Volume 7, No. 3, Nov.

Securing commitment to your ideas the
action-oriented approach
  • Using priming Express your idea in the
    simplest terms that describe highly specific
    behaviors. (Buy 2 milk vs. eat a healthier
  • Shape the context Make it easy for others to
    take a small step and become develop new habits.
    Over time, habits become commitments. (Use
    smaller popcorn containers.)
  • Align your idea with ongoing activities and
    interests Use pull rather than push. (For
    example, ask patients rather than physicians to
    promote hand-washing. When you can, highlight
    positive deviant behaviors in which people are
    already engaging.)
  • Build momentum Create a political base for
    your idea. (Ressler and Thompson built support
    among managers and employees.) Produce a band
    wagon effect so that it is hard to say no.
  • Win support before using formal authority Lock
    in agreements only after you have secured

Source Ch. 9, The Art of Woo
Start with small steps.
Use woo.
  • Survey your situation What is my idea, and how
    is it better than the alternatives? Who are the
    decision makers and influencers? What is my
    stepping stone strategy?
  • Remove the BRICCs Beliefs, Relationships,
    Interests, Credibility, Channels.
  • Make your pitch Use PCAN (because meaning
    matters). Make your pitch memorable.
  • Secure your commitments Target key individuals.
    Manage the politics. Create a snowball effect.

Raise your perspective-taking IQ.
Which barriers are the biggest?
What is your pitch?
How do you create momentum?
Is this rocket science?