7. Give a Dog a Good Name: Give Them a Fine Reputation to Hold Up
Henry Henke, a service manager for a large truck dealership in Lowell, Indiana, had a mechanic whose work had gotten worse over time.
Instead of chewing him out, he called him into his office to have a quiet heart-felt talk:
“Bill, you are a fine mechanic. You have been in this line of work for a good number of years. You have repaired many vehicles to the customers’ satisfaction. In fact, we’ve had a number of compliments about the good work you have done. Yet, of late, the time you take to complete each job has been increasing and your work has not been up to your own old standards. Because you have been such an outstanding mechanic in the past, I felt sure you would want to know that I am not happy with this situation, and perhaps jointly we could find some way to correct the problem.”
Bill replied that he hadn’t realized he was getting lax in his duties. He assured his boss that the work he had lately was not too difficult for him and that he would try to improve in the future. And, he did. Once again, he was a fast and thorough mechanic. Knowing that Henke had such a high opinion of his skills and work ethic, he didn’t want to do anything less than live up to his own high reputation.
Bill Parker, a sales representative for a food company in Daytona Beach, Florida, was upset when the manager of a large supermarket declined to carry a new line of his company’s products in his store. After thinking it over all day, he returned that night to try again. He said to the manager, “Jack, since I left this morning, I realized I hadn’t given you the entire picture of our new line; and, I would appreciate some of your time to tell you about the points I omitted. I have respected the fact that you are always willing to listen and are big enough to change your mind when the facts warrant a change.” Jack could not refuse to give him another hearing without hurting his great reputation.
Dr. Martin Fitzuh, a dentist in Dublin, Ireland, was surprised when a patient pointed out that his metal cup holder for paper cups was tarnished. He decided to write a note to his cleaning woman who came twice a week:
“My dear Bridget,
“I see you so seldom, I thought I’d take the time to thank you for the fine job of cleaning you’ve been doing. By the way, I thought I’d mention that since two hours, twice a week, is a very limited amount of time, please feel free to work an extra half hour from time to time if you feel you need to do those ‘once-in-a-while’ things like polishing the cup holders and the like. I, of course, will pay you for the extra time.”
Dr. Fitzuh explained what happened next: “The next day, when I walked into my office, my desk had been polished to a mirror-like finish, as had my chair, which I nearly slid out of. When I went into the treatment room, I found the shiniest, cleanest, chrome-plated cup holder I had ever seen, nestled in its receptacle. I had given my charwoman [cleaning woman] a fine reputation to live up to; and, because of this small gesture, she outperformed all her past efforts. How much additional time did she spend on this? That’s right. None at all.”
The old saying “Give a dog a bad name and you may as well hang him” may be true. See what can happen when you give a dog a good name. Ruth Hopkins was a fourth grade teacher in Brooklyn, New York. Carnegie wrote: “In her class this year, she would have Tommy T., the school’s most notorious ‘bad boy.’ His third-grade teacher had constantly complained about Tommy to colleagues, the principal, and anyone else who would listen. He was not just mischievous, he caused serious discipline problems in class, picked fights with the boys, teased the girls, was fresh with the teacher, and seemed to get worse as he grew older. His only redeeming feature was his ability to learn rapidly and master the schoolwork easily. [¶] Mrs. Hopkins decided to face the ‘Tommy problem’ immediately. When she greeted her new students, she made little comments to each of them: ‘Rose, that’s a pretty dress you are wearing,’ ‘Alicia, I hear you draw beautifully.’ When she came to Tommy, she looked him straight in the eyes and said, ‘Tommy, I understand you are a natural leader. I’m going to depend on you to help me make this class the best class in the fourth grade this year.’ She reinforced this over the first few days by complimenting Tommy on everything he did and commenting on how this showed what a good student he was. With that reputation to live up to, even a nine-year-old couldn’t let her down. And, he didn’t.”
8. Make the Problem Seem Easy To Fix: Use Encouragement; Make the Problem Seem Easy to Fix
A 40-year-old bachelor friend of Dale Carnegie’s got engaged and needed to take dancing lessons for the wedding. Here is his story of how he finally learned to dance from a teacher who encouraged him by making it seem easy for him: “The Lord knows I needed dancing lessons for I danced just as I did when I first started 20 years ago. The first teacher I engaged probably told me the truth. She said I was all wrong. I would just have to forget everything and start all over again. But, that took the heart out of me. I had no incentive to go on. So, I quit her. [¶] “The next teacher may have been lying; but, I liked it. She said nonchalantly that my dancing was a bit old-fashioned perhaps, but the fundamentals were all right, and she assured me I wouldn’t have any trouble learning a few steps. The first teacher had discouraged me by emphasizing my mistakes. The new teacher did the opposite. She kept praising the things I did right and minimizing my errors. ‘You are a natural-born dancer.’ Now, my common sense tells me that I always have been, and always will be, a fourth-rate dancer. Yet, deep in my heart, I still like to think that maybe she meant it. To be sure, I was paying her to say it; but, why bring that up? [¶] At any rate, I know I am a better dancer than I would have been if she hadn’t told me I had a natural sense of rhythm. That encouraged me. That gave me hope. That made me want to improve.”
Tell people they are stupid, dumb, no good at something, or are doing it all wrong, and you will kill their desire to improve. But, do the opposite—give a lot of encouragement, make it seem easy, and tell them you believe they can do it, that they have an undeveloped talent for it, and they will practice all night long to get better faster.
9. Make the People Glad To Do What You Want: Make the Other Person Happy about doing the Thing You Suggest
In 1915, after the outbreak of the Great War, President Woodrow Wilson wanted to send a peace emissary to Europe to meet with the leaders of the warring nations to see if peace could be had. He appointed his close friend and advisor Colonel Edward House for this important mission.
However, the Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan, a vocal peace advocate, would be offended if he learned he was not the one to go. House had to break the news delicately to Bryan, and he wrote about it in his diary: “Bryan was distinctly disappointed when he heard I was to go to Europe as the peace emissary. He said he had planned to do this himself … [¶] I replied that the President thought it would be unwise for anyone to do this officially, and that his going would attract a great deal of attention and people would wonder why he was there.”
House was telling Bryan, though not in so many words, that he was just too important to go, and Bryan was satisfied.
Carnegie wrote that people said Napoleon was childish “when he created the Legion of Honor and distributed 15,000 crosses to his soldiers and made eighteen of his generals ‘Marshals of France’ and called his troops the ‘Grand Army.’ Napoleon was criticized for giving ‘toys’ to war-hardened veterans; and, Napoleon replied, ‘Men are ruled by toys.’ [¶] This technique for giving titles and authority worked for Napoleon, and it can work for you. For example, a friend of mine, Mrs. Ernest Gent of Scarsdale, New York, was troubled by boys running across and destroying her lawn. She tried criticism. She tried coaxing. Neither worked. Then she tried giving the worst sinner in the gang a title and a feeling of authority. She made him her ‘detective’ and put him in charge of keeping all trespassers off her lawn. That solved her problem. Her ‘detective’ built a bonfire in the backyard, heated an iron red hot, and threatened to brand any boy who stepped on the lawn.
“The effective leader should keep the following guidelines in mind when it is necessary to change attitudes or behavior:
“1. Be sincere. Do not promise anything that you cannot deliver. Forget about the benefits to yourself and concentrate on the benefits to the other person.
“2. Know exactly what it is you want the other person to do.
“3. Be empathetic. Ask yourself what it is the other person really wants.
“4. Consider the benefits that person will receive from doing what you suggest.
“5. Match those benefits to the other person’s wants.
“6. When you make your request, put it in a form that will convey to the other person the idea that he personally will benefit.”
RECAP OF BE A LEADER
If you are a leader whose job includes changing people’s attitudes or behavior, try these suggested methods for achieving your desired results:
1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
2. Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.
3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
5. Let the other person keep their pride.
6. Praise every little improvement. Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.”
7. Give them a fine reputation to hold up.
8. Use encouragement. Make the problem seem easy to fix.
9. Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.
LETTERS THAT PRODUCED MIRACULOUS RESULTS
Ken Dyke was the advertising manager for Colgate-Palmolive Peet Company and Chairman of the Board of the Association of National Advertisers. He said that letters he used to send to dealers asking for marketing information rarely resulted in more than 5 – 8 % responses. He considered 15% extraordinary. And 20%, if it ever happened, miraculous. But, after Dyke took a Carnegie course, he wrote a letter that resulted in 42 ½%! Nor was it an isolated incident because Dyke was able to continue getting similar responses with subsequent letters.
Dyke explained: “This astonishing increase in the effectiveness of letters occurred immediately after I attended Mr. Carnegie’s course in ‘Effective Speaking and Human Relations.’ I saw the approach I had formerly used was all wrong. I tried to apply the principles taught in this book—and they resulted in an increase of from 500 to 800 percent in the effectiveness of my letters asking for information.” The letter Dyke wrote focuses on the reader and makes him feel important by asking a small favor:
“Dear Mr. Blank:
“I wonder if you would mind helping me out of a little difficulty?
“Last year, I succeeded in convincing our company that what our dealers needed most to help increase their re-roofing sales was a year ‘round direct-mail campaign paid for entirely by Johns-Manville.
“Recently, I mailed a questionnaire to the 1,600 dealers who had used the plan and certainly was very much pleased with the hundreds of replies which showed that they appreciated this form of cooperation and found it most helpful.
“On the strength of this, we have just released our new direct-mail plan, which I know you’ll like still better.
“But, this morning, our president discussed with me my report of last year’s plan; and, as presidents will, asked me how much business I could trace to it. Naturally, I must come to you to help me answer him.
“What I’d like you to do is (1) to tell me, on the enclosed postcard, how many roofing and re-roofing jobs you feel last year’s direct-mail plan helped you secure, and (2) give me, as nearly as you can, their total estimated value in dollars and cents (based on the total cost of the jobs applied).
“If you’ll do this, I’ll surely appreciate it and thank you for your kindness in giving me this information.
“Sincerely, KEN R. DYKE, Sales Promotion Manager”
When Benjamin Franklin was still a young man, he invested all his savings in a small printing business. He got himself elected clerk of the General Assembly in Philadelphia, which gave him the job of doing the official printing. The only problem was one of the most powerful men in the Assembly strongly disliked him and even denounced him in a public speech. Franklin knew he had to win this man’s friendship to keep his profitable position with the Assembly. He thought about how he could do it. If he tried to do him a favor, that would be too obvious and might turn him further against him. So, he did the opposite. He asked the man for a favor, but not just any favor, a favor that would appeal to the man’s pride in his own knowledge and achievements. Franklin wrote:
“Having heard that he had in his library a certain very scarce and curious book, I wrote a note to him, expressing my desire of perusing that book and requesting that he would do me the favor of lending it to me for a few days. [¶] He sent it immediately; and, I returned it in about a week with another note expressly strongly my sense of the favor. [¶] When we next met in the House, he spoke to me (which he had never done before) and with great civility; and, he ever afterwards manifested a readiness to serve me on all occasions, so that we became great friends. And, our friendship continued to his death.”
This technique still works as well now as it did then. Albert Amsel, a plumbing and heating materials salesman, had been trying to get the business of a plumber in Brooklyn. But, this plumber was rough, tough, and nasty and proud of it. He sat behind his desk with a big cigar in the corner of his mouth and snarled at Amsel when he walked in the door, “Don’t need a thing today! Don’t waste my time and yours! Keep moving!”
One day, Amsel tried something different. His firm was negotiation the purchase of a new branch store in Queens Village on Long Island. The plumber knew the neighborhood well because he did a lot of business there. Amsel said to the plumber, “I’m not here to sell you anything today. I’ve got to ask you to do me a favor, if you will. Can you spare me just a minute of your time?
“Hmm. Well,” said the plumber, moving the cigar around in his mouth. “What’s on your mind? Shoot.”
“My firm is thinking of opening up a branch store over in Queens Village. Now, you know that locality as well as anyone living. So, I’ve come to you to ask what you think about it. Is it a wise move or not?”
For years this plumber had been getting his sense of importance from snarling at salesmen and ordering them to keep moving. But, this was a new situation! This salesman was begging him for advice.
“Sit down,” he said, pulling forward a chair. For the next hour, he talked in detail about the special advantages of the plumbing market in Queens Village. He not only approved the location of the store, he outlined a complete plan for the purchase of the property, the stocking of supplies, and the opening of the business. He enjoyed telling a wholesale plumbing company how to do their business. From there, he began talking about his personal life. He became friendly and even told Amsel about his family problems.
Amsel reported the final results: “By the time I left that evening, I not only had in my pocket a large initial order for equipment, but I had laid the foundations of a solid business friendship. I am playing golf now with this chap who formerly barked and snarled at me. This change in his attitude was brought about by my asking him to do me a little favor that made him feel important.”
Here is another “miraculous” Dyke letter, this one to architects and engineers that resulted in an credible 50% rate of responses:
“Dear Mr. Doe:
“I wonder if you’ll help me out of a little difficulty?
“About a year ago, I persuaded our company that one of the things architects most needed was a catalogue which would give them the whole story of all J-M building materials and their part in repairing and remodeling homes.
“The attached catalogue resulted—the first of its kind. But, now our stock is getting low; and, when I mentioned it to our president, he said (as presidents will) that he would have no objection to another edition provided I furnished satisfactory evidence that the catalogue had done the job for which it was designed.
“Naturally, I must come to you for help; and, I am therefore taking the liberty of asking you and forty-nine other architects in various parts of the country to be the jury.
“To make it quite easy for you, I have written a few simple questions on the back of this letter. And, I’ll certainly regard it as a personal favor if you’ll check the answers, add any comments that you may wish to make, and then slip this letter into the enclosed stamped envelope.
“Needless to say, this won’t oblige you in any way; and, I now leave it to you to say whether the catalogue shall be discontinued or reprinted with improvements based on your experience and advice.
“In any event, rest assured that I shall appreciate your cooperation very much. Thank you!
Sincerely yours, KEN R. DYKE, Sales Promotion Manager”