The Science of Collaborating and Influencing

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:

  1. Our brains don’t differentiate between social threats and rewards and physical ones, it treats them the same.
  2. Our ability to collaborate with others is reduced by a threat response, and increased under a reward response to something.
  3. To successfully collaborate with others you need to reduce or eliminate threat responses and increase the chances of reward responses.
  4. Five things drive threat and reward responses, they are: Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness and Fairness.
  5. Status is about how we view our own level of importance versus others.
  6. Certainty is about being able to know what going to happen.
  7. Autonomy provides a sense of control over events.
  8. Relatedness is a sense of safety with others, of friend rather than foe.
  9. 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.