Mimicry, Motivation, And How Corporate Culture Gets Built One Face At A Time

This interesting article by Ron Friedman delves into how hiring someone who’s motivation is not parallel with a company’s culture can have a dramatic impact on the organization as a whole simply because of the way our minds are programmed. Amazon’s logo, which is an arrow with a smile, was intentionally designed to make you smile.

By extension, the company’s services are all geared towards making their customers happy. The brand has a strong corporate identity, according to the writer, simply because our minds are wired to mimic facial expressions. So when we see a smile, we’re more likely to smile ourselves.

Likewise, comedies are funnier when you watch them in a theater with other laughing viewers and sports are more exciting when you’re cheering on the stands with thousands of other fans. Emotions, in short, are contagious. Mimicry is an unconscious task that our mind performs. We’re programmed to imitate because doing so helps us feel in sync with our teammates. That’s why it is important to have bosses and employees who feel passionately about their jobs. If, even one worker is enthused about the task on hand, others can’t help but be positively affected by it. According to the writer, “The more people we see expressing a particular feeling, the more likely we are to adopt it ourselves, amplifying it in the process…Evolutionarily, it’s this bonding instinct that’s helped our species survive.”

In a series of experiments published in Motivation and Emotion, it was found that by simply placing participants in the same room as a highly motivated individual improved their motivation and enhanced their performance. But when participants were paired with a less motivated individual, their motivation dwindled and their performance dropped. This syndrome is called motivational synchronicity. By unconsciously mimicking the motivation of those around us, we better relate to one another.

That’s why it’s absolutely essential for a company to ensure that all of its employees—starting from senior and executive-level staff—are thrilled about the organization’s goals if it has to succeed in the future. Hiring a single person who doesn’t share your business’ motivation could have a detrimental ripple effect in the workplace and on end results.

So hire wisely!

Source: Ron Friedman | Mimicry, Motivation, And How Corporate Culture Gets Built One Face At A Time | JULY 25, 2012 | Fast Company

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