In my sales and marketing classes, I often ask the participants, "What percentage of human decision making is rational and what percentage is emotional?"
Most people answer "80/20" or "90/10." I then complete the exercise by pointing out that people are 100% emotional. Human beings, including yourself, decide emotionally and then justify logically. We make emotional decisions instantaneously, sometimes with a single glance or a single piece of information, and then we often spend several hours or months underpinning our emotional decision with logical justifications.
I then ask, "What is the basic emotional drive behind all human action and behavior?"
After a few random answers such as "money," or "fear of loss," "desire for gain," or even "love," everyone finally agrees that the most powerful single motivator is the "desire to be happy."
Aristotle talked about this in his Nichomachean Ethics. He said that behind every human motive there is a further motive until you finally arrive at the basic motive for everything, and that is to be happy.
The reason that people buy things is that they feel that they will be happier after buying the item than they were before. People buy in anticipation of how they think they will feel as the result of the buying decision. The goal of the salesperson or marketer is to sell "hope." It is the hope of greater happiness rather than lesser happiness that causes every human action, including buying decisions.
The most important question in business is: "If the purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer, what is the most important goal you must achieve with each customer if you want the person to buy and buy again?"
And the answer is simple: Make the customer happy that he did business with you. Make the customer happier doing business with you, from the beginning of the buying experience through to the customer service experience afterward, than he would be if he had bought from someone else. Happiness is the key.
The logical extension of this line of questioning for managers is: "How do you get the best out of each person who reports to you?"
How do you get people to willingly contribute their highest levels of physical, emotional, and mental energies to you, and to do their jobs in the very best way possible? How do you get people to be committed, loyal, and dedicated to you and the company? How do you get people to work together harmoniously and continually seek ways to do their jobs better and faster, and at lower cost?
And the answer is, make them feel happy. Organize the work, from the first step in the hiring process through to the final step in the retirement ceremony, so that people are happy with you, their work, their coworkers, as well as in their interactions with your customers, suppliers, and vendors, and in everything they do that has an effect on your company.
Throughout the centuries, wise men, researchers, and scientists of all kinds have sought a "unified field theory," a single umbrellalike principle that explains all other principles. Einstein's formulation of the general theory of relativity (E-mc2) was the breakthrough theory that superseded Newtonian physics at the beginning of the twentieth century, and it is still being applied and expanded upon today as others continue the search for the unified field theory of physics.
In the area of management and motivation, "make them feel happy" is the unified field theory, the principle that explains all other principles.
Excerpted, with permission of the publisher from Full Engagement! Inspire, Motivate, and Bring Out the Best in Your People By Brian Tracy. Copyright 2011, Brian Tracy. Published by AMACOM. For more information, visit www.amacombooks.org