On Sunday, as I was driving home after a Memorial Day picnic, I found myself behind two motorcycles each with two riders. They looked like two Harley couples out for a weekend ride; though to be honest, I couldn’t tell a Harley from a . . . actually I don’t even know another brand of motorcycle.
Every few miles or so, the two drivers would stick their left hands out low, like they were pointing at 8 o’clock, and I slowed down, expecting them to turn. The only hand signals I know are the ones I use when I ride by bicycle. Motorcycles don’t have turn signals? I thought to myself. But each time, the bikes continued on at their same rate of speed and didn’t turn. I was confused.
Eventually, I realized that each time they stuck out their arm, another motorcycle was passing us in the opposite lane. Apparently, I had stumbled onto some sacred ritual of Harley riders: the subtle wave.
So I started watching the left hands of the bikers in front of me, anticipating when they would lift them. And then, I started looking at the left hands of the oncoming riders. Sure enough, the wave was coming at me from both lanes. Most of the time, at least. I did see one passing biker who didn’t even lift a finger; he must have been riding the other brand of bike.
After several miles of anthropological observance, I turned and my bikers continued on. It was probably just as well. With the holiday traffic, I really should have been paying attention to all of the vehicles around me, not just the Hogs with their hand gestures.
I thought of these bikers and their secret signal as I was reading this week’s selection from Guy Kawasaki’s Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions. In chapter 7, Kawasaki says that an important way to get customers or followers to remain enchanted with your product or idea is to move them from conformity to internalization. And the process passes right through identification.
When people identify with members of a group, they see commonality and shared interests. No one is forcing them to conform.
Ironically, Kawasaki specifically mentioned the Harley Davidson brand when he talked about the importance of creating an “ecosystem” (a community that complements your cause) to help your enchanting concept endure. When members of the HOG – Harley Owners Group – organize rides, donate to causes, recommend customizations, they are increasing their own enchantment and encouraging enchantment in others of the whole Harley way of life.
The black leather pants are pretty enchanting, too.
As enchanting as this book is, I’m still working through how I would apply these concepts to my own life. In what way am I trying to enchant people? Do I want to be more enchanting in my work, in my writing, in my worship?
What about you? In what ways are you trying to enchant others?
Photo by Michael Guntsche from Flickr, used with permission under the Creative Commons License.