Well, here we are facing Brexit, and whether Britain will remain in the European Community. Disaster, of course, is being predicted either way by the Chicken Littles of the world. The polls seem to sway with the wind.
Funny thing about polls, whether the Scottish independence vote, Brexit, or an American primary election: People don’t always reveal the truth. They want to be seen by the media or friends in a certain light, even though they really intend to vote for the other side.There is no perjury penalty for lying to a pollster (and, in fact, there ought to be a medal).
The same phenomenon applies in business and society. If we put too much pressure on our peers (normative pressure), they will tend to conform in their response so as not to risk ostracism, and if we theaten them (coercion), they will conform so as not to be harmed. Yet when the actual vote or decision arrives, it is often surgent in the other direction. Often a prospect will say very quickly, “Yes, please send me a proposal,” and you’re not quite through patting yourself on the back when you realize that buyer just wanted to get you out of the office without having to call security.
The best way to gather momentum and lead a movement is to win people’s hearts and minds. You don’t do that by pressuring them or even threatening them, you do that by showing your plans are in their best interests.
“Over a twenty-year period, Elvis Presley evolved from the avatar of American cool to the embodiment of American excess. There is no better metaphor for the old American dream. With a few exceptions, we are all Elvis now.
— Kalle Lasn from Culture Jam: The Uncooling of America
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