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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batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
9/13/2014 | 11:34:05 PM
Re: Nice comparison, but ...
yes, but this day candy do not cover any longer they expect to see money in the candy box... sad reality of corraption in russia for all level of gov... 
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
9/13/2014 | 5:09:36 AM
Re: Nice comparison, but ...
"yes, I think it depends on the Country and traditions... like in Russia you must bring candy to the gov. worker - who works on your file..."

Batye, that's also a type of bribe, am I right. it may create a situation where they won't work; if you hadn't provide them candy.
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
9/11/2014 | 11:57:54 AM
Re: Nice comparison, but ...
yes, I think it depends on the Country and traditions... like in Russia you must bring candy to the gov. worker - who works on your file...
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
9/11/2014 | 12:04:55 AM
Re: Nice comparison, but ...
"but it could be also other factors in play... like country/location/traditions/customs ..."

Batye, wherever it is it has only one meaning; they need the business and some favors for that.
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
9/10/2014 | 12:15:14 AM
Re: Nice comparison, but ...
but it could be also other factors in play... like country/location/traditions/customs ...
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
9/1/2014 | 4:03:01 AM
Re: Nice comparison, but ...
"Good observation. I am sure you are correct that most people do not want to do illegal activities in the workplace, but find themselves in compromising positions."

staceyE, nothing illegal; but deviating to favors others.
StaceyE
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StaceyE,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/31/2014 | 5:16:12 PM
Re: Nice comparison, but ...
@ Gigi3

Good observation. I am sure you are correct that most people do not want to do illegal activities in the workplace, but find themselves in compromising positions.
StaceyE
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StaceyE,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/31/2014 | 5:14:08 PM
Re: Nice comparison, but ...
Unless of course you work for the government...but that's another topic all together... ;)
batye
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batye,
User Rank: Ninja
8/11/2014 | 12:55:35 AM
Re: Free Pizza
No problem, :)
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
8/11/2014 | 12:33:05 AM
Re: Free Pizza
" I agree fully and there is nothing more that"

Batye, thanks for the clarification.
Page 1 / 11   >   >>
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