Thursday, February 04, 2010

Favor Balance!!

Realized today that interactions with other beings specially with whom you have a professional relationship results in a game of "Favor Balancing". (read something similar in an article long time ago. but can't find a link to it)
It means that if some one has done you a favor, there is an instinct to return that favor.

Now favor balancing can be short term or long term.
In short term, we sometimes call it a tip or to chose a harsher word - a bribe. e.g. there is a scene in the movie Rocket Singh where the Sales Representative tips/bribes the watchman with a pack of cigarettes. He later on charms a receptionist - which can also be painted in similar colors - the latent need of the receptionist to be praised/getting attention is fulfilled against the favor she is doing of letting them an easy access to the boss.

In long term relationships like friends, colleagues, customers, subordinates, seniors that favor done keeps your Favor Account in positive and may be redeemed some time in any time in future. The other person becomes obliged to return your favor in some form or the other. Many times it is in form of 'Gifts'.
Strangely, Gifts are socially acceptable while bribes are not!

Another associated side effect is that once this fact is realized, people manipulate their actions - deliberately trying to emphasize that a favor is being done, hence adding weight to their side of the favor balance.
It will be wrong to judge this as right or wrong because may be most of us must have done this at some point - knowingly or unknowingly. An example of this can be found in a statement like - "There is problem x, Y, Z but OK.. Let me see what can be done". "Its really tough to do it..but no problem yaar.. I will do it..just for you my friend!!"

This can be found in organizational setups where it can help build brand loyalty. A customer facing representative initially shows that a particular request cannot be complied with or is tough to execute. The customer naturally pushes a bit and then the solution is put forward with a show that something impossible has been achieved - thus burdening the customer with a fact that he has been done a special favor. The customer, having made feel special thus unknowingly becomes a fan of that particular entity/brand. If it is a case of subordinates or superior - the return can be improvement in your personal brand.

In life, there are only a few people - family and a set of close friends who do favors for you without thinking it as a favor but because they actually love to do it - may be because they genuinely like you. In this complex world of balances and imbalances it is important to cherish those 'un'favorable people!! :)

1 comment:

New Heights of Customer Involvement « 360 degrees said...

[...] focused company, a call was made to the lineman who had installed the land line at the house. The favor balance had been made heavy at the time of installation with the proverbial chai-nashta. So he suggested to [...]