Parts and Chapters
Part One: Authenticity
1 - Pursuing Win-Win-Win Scenarios
We all have goals of influence, to change the thoughts and behaviors of others. The trouble is that we often think our strong beliefs should change and that our even stronger exhortations to that effect should be enough to do the trick. But they aren't. Our beliefs and behaviors don't exist in a vacuum - they're built on a latticework of beliefs and behaviors that can be peeled back in layers. To paraphrase John Green, it's behaviors and beliefs all the way down. The key, then, is to meet people where they are with the beliefs that they already hold and behaviors that they already exhibit, and build from there. That's why one-size-fits-all education (or sales, or influence, or client work) isn't where the best results will ever be found. The trick is to personalize the experience to meet each individual where they are, and help them move forward.
2 - Recovering Human Judgment
3 - Recovering Choice in Human Interactions
I was impressed with how well the scenarios prompted me to think deeply. I was automatically transported back to similar, personal scenarios I had gone through in the past and instantly reflected on how I coped and reacted to the situation compared to the suggestions in the book.
4 - Adjusting to Hear and Be Heard
5 - Respecting the Game
Part Two: Immediacy
6 - Leveraging Momentum and Context
When I was young, there was the notion of a career existing for many students in the classroom which did not yet exist—that future has arrived! Today, my world feels very much like the one Richards and Valentine describe: a fluid, ever changing environment in which the advantage goes to individuals who are able to quickly adapt and leverage their network of tools and people to outperform.
7 - Generating Immediacy for Others
8 - Rebuilding Teaching around Immediacy
The only classes I remember taking as a student were the ones that pushed me to think in new and different ways than what I was used to. This chapter accurately describes the aspects of what makes a memorable teaching and learning experience. Be a connector, get and give immediate feedback and focus on active learning. There's no time like the present.
9 - Rebuilding Training around Immediacy
The topic of immediacy is foundational for effective learning. Too much of on-the-job training happens by giving team members lectures and videos and expecting them to passively learn. I know this all too well, as I’ve personally attempted to train people in this manner and seen the subpar results (to say nothing of the discouraged, disengaged team members suffering through the training).
Learners need an opportunity to experience the rocky road from blissful "unconscious incompetence" to uncomfortable "conscious incompetence" to the ever-wobbly-but-promising "conscious competence." Too many educational experiences focus on information delivery without the opportunity to actually apply the knowledge in a meaningful way. Creating learning situations that get people as close to real-world application as possible can't be overstated; it's the only way learners can effectively contextualize what they're learning and actually integrate new behaviors.
10 - Communicating with Immediacy
11 - Selling with Immediacy
12 - Getting Immediacy Right
Part Three: Delight
13 - Identifying the Conditions for Delight
At our school, we use human-centered problem solving as a foundational strategy for understanding the world around us and prototyping solutions to challenges big and small. We teach our learners to start with this - seek first to understand and then to be understood. Understanding the person who will use what we ultimately are designing means talking with them and paying attention to their behaviors and actions. Then, over time, we develop insights that lead to solutions that really meet the needs of our users. Taking such an approach, we find that the learners find delight in solving real problems that really matter to people. We also find that the users of the end design feel delighted that their needs were met because someone truly understood their situations and conditions.
14 - Offering Choice
This chapter resonated with me, having come from a publishing industry that for decades imposed content on its readers, much like the teacher who assigned specific passages to the student.
Newspapers and magazines have evolved since then, moving from physical to digital formats that provide audiences with more control over their experience — the content, the format, the type size, etc. In doing so, publishers have been forced to cater to an audience that is accustomed to having it their way. Netflix forever changed the relationship between consumers and content, empowering audiences to watch what they want when they want where they want. Television networks had no choice but to follow suit.
The same holds for business, where companies do their best to engage employees and customers. The takeaways from this chapter as they relate to the corporate world, both for training and selling:
1. Recognize that attention must be earned. You can’t force someone to care.
2. Cede control to the audience wherever possible, even in small ways. Choice turns passive audiences into active participants.
3. Embed moments of serendipity or surprise that keep the audience engaged. What makes content consumption contagious is not knowing what comes next.
15 - The Power of Engagement
As a student in a high pressure high school, I remember what felt like fierce competition for the best grades in class. The focus of many students was solely on that reward — the coveted top grade — which further amplified what my family and friends described as what it meant to be a successful person.
The good news is that my outlook has changed for the better. I now apply and study human-centered design as a methodology to address healthcare challenges. Design focuses on process, and in my opinion, teachers are master designers.
In this chapter, Richards and Valentine explore choice, internal motivation, and delight as it relates to performance management. Delight, to me, is particularly fascinating because part of my design process involves thinking about what will delight my users. Be wild, be open, and design for delight — these are values I think we can all live by!
16 - Novelty Is Not Your Friend
Fashion is fleeting, but Style is forever.”I’m not sure who said that, but it brings to mind the notion that Novelty is ephemeral, but Delight has legs.
We are confronted with choice, bombarded with arresting visuals, customized copy, special offers based on what an algorithm has optimized to offer the most appeal based on preference and proximity. This elaborate orchestration and set of manipulations is highly functional for marketers, but unless what is presented generates an emotional connection, it’s a blip, a quick thumb-swipe into the ether. Delight is the magic that cuts through the noise. And when you get the magic right, the math takes care of itself. Delight is emotional relevance, elevated to the point of eliciting and spreading joy. And who doesn’t want more of that in the world?
17 - Boredom Is Not Your Enemy
18 - The Unit of Delight
A unit of delight, experienced in relation with a product or service is a brief, ephemeral instance that escapes attempts of quantification. Yet, in the process of learning, it is a component with the power to produce a change or fail in the attempt. This is absolutely crucial if the change is centered on a paradigm shift within the receiver's experience. We tend to value existing solutions or systems for their reliability and will continue to use them even if they fail to satisfy our senses. But a delight, or as authors write, "an invitation to participate," might ultimately end with the transformation of an existing habit. A complex world spurs complex invention. The resulting sophistication invites imperfections which inventors can only overcome by maintaining the intrinsic motivation of early adopters through the use of delight. From a product innovator's perspective, a tiny taste of delight is an insurance policy to maintain a user's engagement with the product or service, granting the time necessary to remove imperfections.
19 - After Delight
20 - An Invitation