SOURCE: Authors Dan Gregory and Kieran Flanagan

January 08, 2015 08:00 ET

New Book From Authors Dan Gregory and Kieran Flanagan Reveals Truth About Human Nature: We're Selfish, Scared & Stupid

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Jan 8, 2015) - After years of perpetual workplace motivational "Ra-Ra," telling people that they're special, intelligent and fearless, nothing has changed; companies still struggle with underperforming staff and employees still struggle with motivation.

Behavioral strategists Dan Gregory and Kieran Flanagan of The Impossible Institute have worked with some of the world's best-known companies, including Coca-Cola and Vodafone. In their new book Selfish, Scared & Stupid, they provide practical solutions to motivational myths.

"The problem is that survival of the fittest has always favored the risk-averse and egotistical, so it's human nature that we are selfish, scared and stupid," say Mr. Gregory and Mrs. Flanagan.

"Instead of telling ourselves that we aren't disciplined enough to reach our goals, we need to put in place solutions that make it difficult NOT to reach our goals."

The book outlines the three most common human traits: selfishness, fear and a need for simplicity. To effectively increase influence and performance, whether it be in the workplace or at home, Mr. Gregory and Mrs. Flanagan break down these traits and provide implementable solutions and real-life examples that stem from extensive research and an impressive combined body of work.

1. Selfish - People are more likely to reach goals, work more efficiently or give time or money if there's something in it for them. For example, instead of arguing that women should be on the boards of companies around the world for the sake of equality, the argument should be around the statistics demonstrating that businesses with women on their boards have higher performing staff and a stronger bottom line.

2. Scared - Fear can actually be an incredibly motivating factor. The key is to align fears with undesired behaviors, and to remove them from the objectives or actions we want to encourage. For example, employees may be fearful of presenting to clients, a task that management would like them to master. Instead of simply forcing them in front of a crowd, incentivize each presentation that they do, so that the fear of not achieving a reward overrides their original fear of public speaking.

3. Stupid - Stupidity can actually be a trait of your best employees or workers, because stupidity is about finding the quickest and easiest ways to do things, with the least amount of effort. It's all about finding more efficient ways to do things, whether they are shortcuts or fewer steps in the process. To use the concept of stupidity to influence, the key is to make it harder not to do the right thing. Create barriers and hurdles around undesirable behavior, which will then lead people to naturally opt for the alternative. For example, a manager has asked each employee to spend time developing creative concepts for the brand, but he finds that at the end of the week, the concepts aren't to the caliber he was hoping. The problem is that it's human nature to leave this task to Friday afternoon, only after all the other pressing tasks are completed. And not many people think creatively at 5pm on a Friday afternoon! Instead, make employees spend the first 30 minutes of each day developing one creative idea before they begin their day-to-day activities. This makes it harder for employees not to do this task!

With materials relevant to business leaders, HR managers and creative professionals, as well as parents, employees and those looking to maximize their influence in everyday life, Selfish, Scared & Stupid argues that the key to success in business and in life is to design for reality.

Dan Gregory: A behavioral researcher and strategist, as well as an author, educator, international speaker and social commentator, Dan Gregory specializes in behaviors and belief systems -- what drives, motivates and influences us. One of the most respected voices in the industry, Dan has worked with some of the biggest brands in the world: Coca-Cola, Unilever, Vodafone, MTV and News Ltd.

Kieran Flanagan: A behavioral researcher and strategist, author, educator and corporate coach, Kieran Flanagan is one of the only female Creative Directors in the world of MadMen and has won awards around the world for creativity and effectiveness. Kieran is a TEDx Sydney partner and speaks to audiences including the UN in Singapore and Coca-Cola. She is a passionate advocate for the commercial power of creativity and a return to more human engagement, cultures and leadership.

Contact Information

  • Mr. Gregory and Mrs. Flanagan are currently available for live interviews nationwide.

    For booking, please contact:
    Erica Rutan
    TallGrass Public Relations
    908-229-0724
    erica.rutan@tallgrasspr.com


    View speaking reels, learn more about the book, its authors, and The Impossible Institute at: www.selfishscaredandstupid.com.

    For Speaking Engagements:
    Jay Kemp
    ODE Management
    jay@odemanagement.com
    828-891-8347