August 16 2021
By: Shawn M. Galloway
Advice is a powerful form of feedback, when it is asked for. When asking for the opinions of employees and management on how best to improve something, is the feedback you receive helpful or is more like criticism? Influence expert and psychology professor, Robert Cialdini, has a powerful recommendation. Having spent several decades on the science of persuasion, to ascertain what leads people to say yes, ask for advice.
On CNBC, Jade Scipioni interviewed Cialdini, where he offered, "When you ask for someone's opinion, you get a critic." His research shows that when you ask for opinions, there is a psychological impact, mentally prompting the person to "step back from you." However, when asking for their advice, "they take a step towards you."
Language shapes culture, so the words used are important. Try this small change in vernacular the next time you are seeking involvement or ownership in efforts to improve both performance and culture.
"If it's free, it's advice; if you pay for it, it's counseling; if you can use either one, it's a miracle." — Jack Adams
Shawn M. Galloway is CEO of the global consultancy ProAct Safety. He is a trusted advisor, professional keynote speaker and author of several bestselling books on safety strategy, culture, leadership and behavior-based safety. He is a monthly columnist for several magazines and one of the most prolific contributors in the industry, having also authored over 650 podcasts, 200 articles and 100 videos. Shawn has received awards and recognition for his significant contributions from the American Society of Safety Professionals, National Safety Council's Top 40 Rising Stars and Top Ten Speakers, EHS Today Magazine's 50 People Who Most Influenced EHS, ISHN Magazine's POWER 101 - Leaders of the EHS World and their newest list: 50 Leaders for Today and Tomorrow and Pro-Sapien's list of The Top 11 Health and Safety Influencers.