Think about something you’ve expended energy and time to develop. Maybe it was putting together a piece of furniture or maybe it was developing a new business presentation. Either way, research shows you place a higher value on the product you created because you feel personally invested in it.
No wonder this bias has been dubbed “The Ikea Effect.” It not only influences your feelings, but also can help you influence others. I’ve seen this strategy tip sales decisions in favor of my clients over their competitors. What’s more, “The Ikea Effect” is a powerful tool for change management, employee engagement and problem solving. In each of these areas, inviting stakeholders to partner with you to create solutions tends to increase their commitment and enthusiasm for the plan.
I heard an interesting example about this bias from a consultant who had a successful track record helping U.S. prisons resolve inmate problems. Not a job for the faint of heart. He told me that he always started by forming an inmate committee to look at changes, and he purposely included the biggest complainers alongside those who modeled good behavior. He even gave the complainers leadership positions and responsibilities for deliverables. I was surprised to hear that the former complainers became the biggest advocates – and enforcers – of the new policies. Why? Because for the first time, they had a voice in the development of those policies, so they really valued them.
In thinking about your work, how could “The Ikea Effect” help you gain buy-in? Can you share any business examples where co-created solutions were more successful than those that were forced down from the top?