Have you ever offered advice only to find that it’s duly ignored? Makes you feel kind of cruddy, right? Especially given that, in your mind, it was probably exactly what the recipient needed to hear? Here’s an inside secret…no one really likes being told what to do (even if they came to you asking for advice…weird, quirky, but true). Further, and I’m sure you’ve experienced this, when people come to their own conclusions, they are more satisfied, motivated and inspired. And when they land on their own solution…BING BING BING…they’re more likely to follow through in action.

The coaching profession accounts for this by basing its work on the assumption that every person is naturally creative, resourceful and whole. Everyone has the answers to their life’s problems within them…they just need someone to help them to pull it out. And when expert advice is really required, clients will have the motivation to find that, too.

I just let you in on Coaching 101. It may sound a little abstract (perhaps), a little ungrounded (I assure you that it is not) and a little woo-woo (at times, sure). But the idea of building your own something and loving it more than something you were just handed is called “The Ikea Effect”. An article in the Harvard Business Review points to the phenomenon that “labor enhances affection for its results”. You-fab vs. pre-fab means you’ll find it more fab.

Intrinsically, I believe this to be true. I am most fond of the art in my house that my husband and I have created ourselves. We encourage our daughter to make her own mistakes rather than handing her the answers. And I’m certainly finding my own way in business as an entrepreneur (with some support systems in place) more so than when I was “corporate”. Ask around…you’ll see what I mean. Stacie Maier, very cool owner of Uprise Careers points to her favourite tattoo…a cute and simple paw print. It’s not the same caliber of the others that adorn her frame, but she did it herself (told you she was cool…and a GREAT person to talk to if you’re late-20’s and “not cubicle friendly”).

Where the Ikea Effect can be worrisome is in the power of “I'm righteousness”. We’ve seen this too, haven’t we? People who actually use and BELIEVE such 80’s phrases such as: “my way or the highway”. The HBR article points out:

Managers should keep in mind that ideas they have come to love because they invested their own labor in them may not be as highly valued by their coworkers – or their customers.

In building Ikea furniture, we all know one thing: lose the Allen key and your Galant desk will never come together. No duct tape can help you there.

Further, in coming to your own decisions, if you’ve asked for advice, please appreciate the perspective from which it came, listen to the offering for resonance with your own values and go from there. Assuredly, no duct tape will be required.

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