Dale Carnegie’s book “How To Win Friends and Influence People” is a classic (1936) and has sold more than 16 million copies worldwide.
Carnegie was an expert in techniques for self improvement and he conducted corporate training to make people better with other people.
Dale Carnegie’s focus on the human capital side of management was a breakthrough in his day when many other management gurus like Frederick Taylor, Henri Fayol, Edward Deming and others were focused on the maximizing the production side of management through time and motion studies, functional specialization, and quality management.
Carnegie recognized that to really get things done in the organization or out, first, we need to be able to get along with others–make friends and influence people.
His ideas are principles that are as true today in the age of social media and telework as in the days of line production.
Some examples and how these might apply today:
1) “Don’t criticize, condem, or complain”–It’s easy to put somebody or their ideas down, but it’s infinitely more difficult to be constructive by offering alternatives or a better way. Today, we try to focus on contributing something positive and being solutions-oriented whether through crowdsourcing, answering questions where you are a subject matter expert, innovating improved business processes or technical solutions, or even just rating or liking what you think is a positive idea or share.
2) “Become genuinely interested in other people”–It’s easy, especially today, to become self absorbed in the world of social media, putting out new pictures of yourself, slideshows from your work, videos of your doings, and newsflashes from every moment of your life, etc. However, as Carnegie would point out, this will not make you popular or influential. Rather, use the social web to learn about others, interact with them, and build relationships. In the end, it’s not about you, but about building more “we” and “us”.
3) “Begin with praise and honest appreciation”–I remember learning in one of the oodles of management and leadership classes that I have been fortunate to participate in that we should always sandwich criticism between two layers of praise. Unfortunately, the praise in this context is usually not of the highest quality and sincerity, or deeply felt. But today, in an age of social media, I think we are learning to all be more open and honest with each other. Heaping praise on people, products, and services that are outstanding and putting criticism where it is due to hold unscrupulous vendors and poor quality products to answer publicly online.
4) “Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires”–It is not always easy to see things from some else’s vantage point. We all walk in our own shoes and usually can’t stand the smell of someones else’s. But in the age of sharing and collaboration, it is not really enough to put your ideas out there and always be right; instead we need to look at things from multiple perspectives, vet ideas, put them to the test, let others improve upon them, and build a better “widget” or decision collaboratively. By sympathizing with where others are coming from and looking for the merits of their points of view and why it is important to them, we can better negotiate a solution that is a win-win for all.
In a sense, I think this is really what Dale Carnegie was trying to get across when it came to winning friends and influencing people, it’s not creating a win for me, but about creating a win-win for each other, where we all walk away from the table feeling good that we were not only heard, but also understood and worked with. Then, we all own a piece of the solution; we have skin in the game, and we can work together to implement it as a team of one.
(Source Mind Map: here)