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A Cold Response Could Be Quite Costly

19 August 2020

There was an experiment done at MIT in which students had a substitute professor for an economics class.

Before the class started the students were given a brief bio describing him, however there were two different versions of the bio handed out equally among the class. The versions differed by only two words, one described the substitute professor as ‘very warm’, the other ‘rather cold’.

At the end of the class each student filled out an identical questionnaire about the substitute instructor. The students that received the bio describing him as ‘very warm,’ loved him. The students in the ‘rather cold’ group thought of him as unsociable, unpopular, humourless and ruthless.

Even though the students all sat through the same lecture, with the same instructor, they had vastly different perceptions of him.

This highlights the importance of acting with integrity. If being described differently in two words can have such a profound impact on people, our actions and our character are surely creating lasting impressions on the people we interact with. Not only that, those impressions are being passed on – most likely in more than two words.

Integrity means telling the truth even if the truth is ugly. It leads us to seeing the world at face value. It can even lead us to seeing and valuing a person for who they are, beyond a brief description.

Some people will change their character depending on the people they are with, but when we act with integrity we are creating a unified version of ourselves. A version that is the same in public and in private, with friends and with family. A version that deals fairly in business, honestly with money and compassionately with people.

The cold weather can affect our temperament. Lockdown and tough economies can affect our temperament. And our mood can fluctuate with the seasons, but as long as our actions match our words (in alignment with our values), we are acting with integrity.

At SFP, we care about the level of service we provide and the validity of the solutions we advise. We are committed to providing you with the best solutions based on honest advice and sound moral principles.

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