Charlotte Blank, Chief Behavioral Officer at Maritz, says her job is 'selling science.' In this interview, held immediately before our meetup gathering in Minneapolis in February 2018, Charlotte describes research she conducted with Leslie John, Tami Kim, and Kate Barasz to create a recent HBR article titled "Ads That Don't Overstep." Their work yielded two very simple and important messages about communication: 1. Don't talk behind someone's back,  2. Don't make assumptions. In the world of big data, machine learning and algorithm-driven communication, marketers need to pay close attention to these.

An early part of our discussion was on Charlotte's fascination with Franz DeWaal's work with monkeys, bonobos and the mysterious octopus! This led to a discussion about fairness as a key principle in program design and if you're not familiar with DeWaal's seminal work with capuchin monkeys, check it out here

We discussed the now-famous Target advertising case where the company promoted pregnancy-related products to young women based on their buying habits and in one case, neither the woman nor her parents knew she was pregnant. There's a line to pay attention to and it has to do with the two guidelines noted above. 

Charlotte also mentioned a couple of excellent books that she's recently read: Melissa Dahl, publisher of Science of Us, has a new book called "Cringeworthy, A Theory of Awkwardness" and Seth Stephens-Davidowitz's new book called "Everybody Lies" are top picks for those curious about human behavior. 

The theme music in this episode, like all the other Behavioral Grooves music, is composed and played by Tim Houlihan. We are grateful to Jon James allowing us to use his work "Transfiguration" during intro and outro of the interview.  

Chris Dobyns, the Human Capital Strategic Consultant in the Office of Human Resource Strategy & Program Design at the NSA (the National Security Agency), joined us to discuss how the NSA is engaging their workforce more than ever. Let it be known that the US Federal government cares about employees!

He discussed some of his recent research to understand loss aversion and status quo bias among employees by analyzing how large a raise would be required to accept a different job. The conversation culminated in the fascinating idea of how - at some point in the future - employers could adjust the employee value proposition (EVP) on a monthly, weekly or even real-time basis. In this scenario, employees' changing needs due to life events, work situations and personal goals could be addressed by the employer to support and engage the employees where they're at. What an amazing concept!

Of course, we also talked about music and discussed books in our grooving session including Daniel Pink's "When," Carol Dweck's "Mindset" and even a fantasy book to allow our creative minds to drift! Listen and enjoy.

Many firms use rewards and incentives to motivate their reps. However, it was only when a complete audit of all the rewards and recognition tools in place at a large pharmaceutical firm did the realization come that they were leaving motivational power on the table. In this interview, James Brewer, Director of Commercial Operations at Eli Lilly & Company, tells us how Lawrence & Nohria's 4 Drive Model acted as a foundational tool to discover what was working and what was missing from Lilly's rewards and recognition models. 

In a fascinating and in-depth interview into the challenges and outcomes of James' work, we unpeeled the traditional views of how to get the best out of sales reps. At one point, at about the 45-minute mark, James stopped us and said, "We need to talk about outcomes." It was an excellent discussion. We hope you enjoy. 

Link to James Brewer on LinkedIn.

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