Strategic CIO // IT Strategy
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5/30/2014
10:25 AM
David Wagner
David Wagner
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Pizza & Leadership: 4 Lessons

If you want to be a good leader, treat your team members in a way that makes them want to buy you a pizza. Allow us to explain.

If you're reading this during lunch, you might find it useful for two reasons: You might get free pizza out of it, and you could learn to improve your leadership skills.

A Stanford research team recently examined social media sites, particularly the Reddit community Random Acts of Pizza, to determine successful strategies for inspiring altruistic behavior in online communities. What does this research have to do with leadership? Leaders in every line of work need to inspire altruistic behavior at times in order to inspire their teams.

According to Harvard Business Review, organizations with a higher level of employee enthusiasm report 22% higher productivity than their less-involved counterparts. Such companies also can be more innovative, more collaborative, and more successful than those that have low employee-morale scores.

[IT admins aren't happy with their jobs. Read IT Pros Stressed Out, Looking To Jump Ship.]

Think of it like this: You might have the power to order your team to burn the midnight oil to finish a project, but you know that the project will be more successful if your team is happily participating. Where does the pizza fit in? It doesn't hurt to order some for your team the next time you work late, but it's more than that.

The Random Acts of Pizza community on Reddit is devoted to giving pizza to people in need. People who are struggling, financially or otherwise, tell the community why they need help and hope that a kind community member will send them pizza based on their pitch. The pizza requesters on the site range from students seeking a midnight snack to the long-term unemployed fighting to make ends meet.

The Stanford team examined the posts from various perspectives, including politeness, length of post, wording, gratitude, and time of post, to see which communication strategies worked best. What they found out serves as a primer for more than how to nab free pizza. It's a guide for IT leaders who want to boost morale by appealing to their workers' sense of altruism.

Try incorporating these four lessons next time you need your team to go the extra mile:

1. Show evidence of need.
Successful pizza requests usually explain the need in detail (lost jobs, hungry kids, unexpected bills), according to the Stanford study. The longer the request, the more likely it was to be fulfilled. It also helped to add pictures, especially if they were of hungry kids or of cars needing to be fixed.

This shouldn't be surprising, and yet it's easy for leaders to hide behind seemingly arbitrary concepts, such as deadlines, rather than explain

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David has been writing on business and technology for over 10 years and was most recently Managing Editor at Enterpriseefficiency.com. Before that he was an Assistant Editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, where he covered a wide range of business topics including IT, ... View Full Bio
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Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
10/9/2014 | 1:34:32 AM
Re: Nice comparison, but ...
"but Indian gov is on the right path, with bright future do you agree ???"

Batye, hope so. Let's wait and see.
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
10/8/2014 | 12:14:08 AM
Re: Nice comparison, but ...
but Indian gov is on the right path, with bright future do you agree ???
Gigi3
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0%
Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
10/7/2014 | 4:27:28 AM
Re: Nice comparison, but ...
"Education and true freedoom is a right way to better gov. and better economy... please correct me if I'm wrong... but India economy is do grow at good pace... as Indian gov. trying hard to get right people in right places..."

Batye, right people at right place is important. If everyone works in right mode; there won't be any need for bribe or gifts. Now Indian government has introduced certain rights like "Rights to Information", "Right to get service" etc to enhance the responsibility & deliverability of government employees.
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
10/7/2014 | 4:23:21 AM
Re: Nice comparison, but ...
"But, rewarding coworkers by buying pizza or donuts doesn't really fall under "devious favors", I don't think. "

Stacey, rewarding within the company or department wont comes under the purview of bribe. But when it takes from external peoples for a favor, it becomes bribe.
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
10/1/2014 | 12:55:32 AM
Re: Nice comparison, but ...
@Gigi3 thank you, I'm not saying all Russians gov. offices are bad... it just under this bad regime... office people follow each other... as they do not know any better way... 

if you have right educated people in place - thing do improve... as let say India after Indian gov. run hard program to convince Westen Educated youth to go back to India... and spend money to bring people back... things in India gov. offices did improve... and it a big step... towards new right way... - How I see it... (my best friend Dripen now is back home... but he did spend 10 years in Canada... and he have good ideas about right way of life...) Education and true freedoom is a right way to better gov. and better economy... please correct me if I'm wrong... but India economy is do grow at good pace... as Indian gov. trying hard to get right people in right places...
StaceyE
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StaceyE,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/30/2014 | 1:49:15 PM
Re: Nice comparison, but ...
@ Gigi3

I am sure there will always be instances of individuals being devious in the work force, or doing favors for others, and even illegal activity. There will be individuals who do these things by choice and there will also always be people who unknowingly or unwillingly are made a part of these activities. But, rewarding coworkers by buying pizza or donuts doesn't really fall under "devious favors", I don't think. 
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
9/30/2014 | 2:46:43 AM
Re: Nice comparison, but ...
"I do tip service people... - but it's my choice... - No one demand my money... - like in Russia...but in Mother Russia - where I must give and have no choice... Not a right way... - in my books... as We are born free... but in Russia under KGB/Putin rule corruption is a way of life..."

Batye, giving gifts voluntary and somebody asking for gifts are very different. The first one is a reward for their service and the second one is a bribe to get the things to be done. In fact the second one is in a sad thing which can spoil the entire office ecco sytems.
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
9/26/2014 | 12:15:40 AM
Re: Nice comparison, but ...
in Russian gov. offices, when I enter I always play stupid Canadian :) and never let them know I do speak Russian... while I wait - I listen... hard work of drinking coffee and gosip about each other... and waiting for you to bring gift with envelope - thank you card with money inside...  - give me the rest... I do hope one day to see Russia adopt American way of life... and American values... I'm not saying North American way of life is a best one... but for me it normal/proper way of life... - How I see it... but for now for poor Mother Russia - Putin way of life is corraption to the bone... plus killing political oposition... or invading Ukraine...

ps:in Canada - I do give gift (Tim Horton prepaid coffee card) to my postman, ups/fedex/purolator delivery man  during holiday season for they hard work with my delivery/mail..- but in appreciation... and it my choice to give...

I do tip service people... - but it's my choice... - No one demand my money... - like in Russia...

but in Mother Russia - where I must give and have no choice... Not a right way... - in my books... as We are born free... but in Russia under KGB/Putin rule corraption is a way of life...
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
9/25/2014 | 8:04:44 PM
Re: Nice comparison, but ...
"yes, but they call it gift for they hard work... go figure... :("

Batye, i dont know......it has to be compensted by rewards
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
9/19/2014 | 2:00:01 PM
Re: Nice comparison, but ...
yes, but they call it gift for they hard work... go figure... :(
Page 1 / 12   >   >>
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