We all need to be able to collaborate and influence others. These are vital skills to get anything done in our professional and personal lives. To do it successfully, it’s a good idea to understand the underlying motives of those you are seeking to influence. A guy called Dr. David Rock has studied this for quite a while and has summarized his findings in a model he calls SCARF. I’ll attempt to summarize it here:
- Our brains don’t differentiate between social threats and rewards and physical ones, it treats them the same.
- Our ability to collaborate with others is reduced by a threat response, and increased under a reward response to something.
- To successfully collaborate with others you need to reduce or eliminate threat responses and increase the chances of reward responses.
- Five things drive threat and reward responses, they are: Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness and Fairness.
- Status is about how we view our own level of importance versus others.
- Certainty is about being able to know what going to happen.
- Autonomy provides a sense of control over events.
- Relatedness is a sense of safety with others, of friend rather than foe.
- Fairness is a perception of fair exchanges between people.
So, a perceived threat to our status activates a threat response and a perceived increase in fairness activates the same reward circuitry as receiving a bonus. Bear these in mind the next time you are to collaborate or influence.