We are usually only motivated by what is top of mind.
So, if you want to give or receive more referrals, do more one-on-ones or attain a particular goal (like more sales) your chances of achieving a successful outcome depends on keeping that goal top of mind.
However, it’s not unusual to document goals or make mental notes about something, only for it to be forgotten in the general rush of work and life. For example, many members forget about BNI when they walk out of their weekly meeting – until the next meeting.
Fortunately there are some easy ways to keep important goals or activities top of mind to improve your overall success.
Priming for success
One effective method is called ‘priming’.
Lashley (1951) coined the term priming in psychological literature (cited in Latham, Stajkovic & Locke, 2010, p. 239). Priming, as described by Bargh & Chartrand, involves “the temporary subconscious activation of an individual’s mental representations by the environment and the effect of this activation on various psychological phenomena” (2000, cited in Latham et al., 2010, p. 239).
In other words, a visual stimulus in the environment can keep certain goals top of mind, improve performance or change behaviour.
One example of this is a study by Shantz & Latham, which used two sets of call centre employees to raise money for a charity – as a means of testing how placing a ‘prime’ in the environment could affect performance.
The only variation between the two groups was that one group received a photograph of a woman winning a race printed on the background – this served as the ‘prime’, showing an achievement goal.
Apart from the ‘prime’, that is the photograph variable, conditions were identical and neither call centre was aware that they were participating in an experiment.
In the end, the group with the photograph raised significantly more donor money in their 4-hour call centre shift.
Thank you for closed business
This year BNI New Zealand is encouraging chapters to adopt ‘thank you for closed business’, so that individual members can measure how much money they generate for each other.
One way to motivate the chapter to keep its total ‘turnover’ goals top of mind is to have a graphic representation of a barometer that is visible and updated every meeting.
You can also do this with your personal goals.
Another visual stimulant may be taking three business cards of one person in the chapter that you really want to find a referral for.
Put his or her business card on your desk where you can see it, on the dashboard of your car and on your bathroom mirror. Leave it there until you find them that referral.
Try it and let me know how it goes.
What are some other ways you can change your environment to bring about a change in behaviour or the achievement of a goal?