What can Poochie the Dog teach us about Persuasion?

Have you watched The Simpsons cartoon?

In Season 8 of The Simpsons, the Itchy and Scratchy Show decides they need a new character. There’s a meeting of the animators. The boss asks them to come up with a name for the new dog character.

“The rest of you writers start thinking up a name for this funky dog; I dunno, something along the line of say… Poochie, only more proactive,” he says before slamming the door.

“So, Poochie OK with everybody?” is the result of the meeting.

Great episode and this scene shows us how influence from authority can limit our creative thinking.

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If a boss or somebody of higher authority than you presents a solution to a problem, your subconscious will shut down. You’ll see that authoritative idea as the winner. You won’t reach a state of flow.

I call this the Poochie Effect If you want your influence to decide an outcome, this works in your favor. It’s not the best move for a healthy environment, however. It limits creativity and reduces trust.

This is the case in the office, at home, with friends, everywhere.

If you want your influence to give people freedom to innovate and improve your company (or even to create better weekend plans), it’s essential to step back. Don’t influence people’s direction with your own preferred solution. Give people freedom to come up with ideas outside of your own. You’ll get more ideas, and possibly better ideas, without removing your solution (which you can add later). That’s leadership.

Additionally, giving people freedom will engender trust between you.  This leads to rapport and ultimately increases your influence in that relationship.

Have you experienced the Poochie Effect in your own life? Share your story with us in the comments below.