Business Psychology is defined as the study and practice of improving the working experience. In practice, we combine the science of human behaviour with our experience of the working world, and in doing so, we gradually move closer to understanding how to attain and sustain high performance levels from both individuals and businesses.
Before we discuss the benefits of using Business Psychology, we first need to understand that it is indeed an applied science. Simply put, Business Psychology is pragmatic. It focuses on gaining insight and knowledge from a series of practical considerations rather than theoretical considerations. Business Psychologists use both qualitative and quantitative methods of research to gather data, and they consider both methods equal in value. As Business Psychology is an applied science, this research information is gathered, interpreted, analysed and then reapplied back into the working world.
The benefits and applications of Business Psychology are extensive. There are various well established sectors, such as; coaching, leadership development, employee engagement, development, change management and problem solving. We will be touching base with a few of these sectors over the next few articles:
Self-Evaluation is vital to the success of any business. Everything you ever do goes through a circular process. You start with an idea, you implement your idea, you monitor the outcome and ultimately you draw conclusions based on what the outcome was. Then you start again. Does the phrase, “we learn from our mistakes” come to mind? Sometimes, you will need to ask yourself some challenging questions in order to grow your business.
Everyone will tell you that evaluating the success of your employees is important, but how many people will reiterate the importance of you evaluating yourself as the business owner? During your self-evaluation, you will consider all the elements of your business’ activities and operations. You will have to collect information and reach conclusions based on your strengths and weaknesses. Remember, any self-evaluation that you do will ultimately inform your future decisions and in turn, lead to the growth of your business.
Did you know that you can use various psychological principles to increase your sales? The idea is fairly simple to understand. People make emotional purchases – they tend to justify the reason for their purchase afterwards. However, there is a portion of the purchase-decision that is analytical, and requires critical thinking on behalf of the consumer. If you apply psychological sales principles coupled with an understanding of the science behind consumer decisions, your sales are guaranteed to skyrocket.
It is well known that employees who feel strongly connected to their jobs are more productive and are generally geared towards producing better results. An enthusiastic employee will happily provide their input and ideas for a project, because they genuinely feel like they bring something significant to the table. Remember, money is not necessarily everything to your employees. They want to be part of the team and feel appreciated. You need to ensure that you understand your employees (including their strengths and weaknesses) and make sure they feel fulfilled. Job retention is often a massive problem for many companies – make sure you don’t form part of this statistic and keep your employees happy.
Change: Nightmare or Opportunity?
Some may cringe at the thought of having to re-do systems, marketing material and personnel procedures, but change is both good and necessary. Without change, your business would lose its competitive edge and likely dwindle away. The economy, customer needs and technology are only some of the reasons we embrace change. Imagine if we were still sending our customers letters via post, and if we hadn’t bothered to integrate email and internet into our businesses? Customers’ technological needs are evolving, for example, and it’s all about who has the latest-and-greatest gadget.
Nokia is a good example of how failing to embrace change can damage your business. At the peak of its prime, which was in 2007, Nokia held 41% global market share. This is huge considering that Samsung and Apple both hover at about 20% each at any given time. Unfortunately for Nokia, they were the ‘moguls’, and nobody could touch them. Eventually, a horde of cheaper basic phones emerged and forced Nokia into a chaotic new development – the Lumia. Unfortunately, by this stage, it was already too late to recover.
The Importance of Problem Solving
Firstly, what is a problem? A problem can be defined as a gap between the existing standard or expectation, and the goal expectation. The common perception of a problem is that it is a bad thing; however, successful business owners know how to manipulate a problem into a positive. Remember, every problem you encounter is an opportunity for improvement, which means that you will ultimately be in a better position once you have solved it. You may notice a problem because of a new awareness, for example; a process that perhaps isn’t running as smoothly as you believe it could or you might be struggling with new business referrals. Either way, the problem presents an opportunity for you to improve an aspect of your business. The more problems you solve the better, as this will develop your critical thinking ability. In our article about problem solving, we will be reviewing the psychological processes you go through when faced with problems, as well as how to go about solving them.