Big Think - The Hormone That Will Revolutionize Your Business
April 8, 2011
Question: Can neuroeconomics work for individual businesses?
Paul Zak: There are direct applications for organizational leaders on how you design an environment in which you can be both profitable, productive and have very fulfilled employees. So one way to do that is to lead by fear. So if your business is about exploiting individuals, taking advantage of people, making the biggest profits possible, this is the kind of "greed is good" model, then you kind of just want to whip people into doing things that are not fun, not interesting, it’s a nine to five job. If instead, the oxytocin research is correct, that individuals normally connect with each other, that’s our motive being as social creatures as human beings, and it means that if business is about service to others then business itself is a virtue – you are engaging in a virtuous activity by serving the needs of somebody else. When you do that, when you serve the needs of your employees, of your customers, you will induce oxytocin release and they will want to reciprocate. So can you say, “Customer loyalty?” This is how you do it. Okay, so if you can induce this oxytocin rich environment, if you can create this environment, then you have a way to drive productivity and drive individual satisfaction for being part of this organization. We have a purpose, we are here to serve others and we see this as some endeavor that we do together. When do it together we feel good about ourselves and about the people that we’re helping. So what this means is that in the old model, "greed is good," the measurement technique is: lead with fear. In the model, empower individuals to be the best they can be in an organization with purpose, you’re going to lead with love. So if you lead with love then you have this oxytocin environment that will motivate people going beyond, exceeding expectations and leading to delighting the customer, delighting the people around me. And delight is what we really want from a customer experience.