The Halo Effect is the idea that our overall impression of a
person can be based on one trait about them. However, For example, if someone
has a likeable personality, people might find that person’s other qualities
In a recent experiment, a man made two videos for a dating
website. In the first video, he read the script in an upbeat manner, whereas in
the second, he read the same script in a more melancholy fashion. The first
video was given to a one group of girls and the second was given to another
group, who watched the video in a separate room. The girls who watched the
upbeat video found the man to be likeable, while the girls who watched the
second video found the man to be unpleasant, even though he had read the exact
However, this halo effect can also be applied to things and
is heavily used in the presentation of products as well as people, using a lot
of style to either detract from or cover up the substance. For example, the
picture above of a group of smiling women. Very happy, laughing, studying,
chatting and generally having a good time. Interestingly, this is the main
image used on the www.yarlswood.co.uk
Yarl’s Wood is a secure Immigration Detention Centre in the
UK where people who have been arrested for being illegally in the UK are taken
and held under lock and key before they are deported.
Style over substance favours how things look and a general
feeling of happiness over anything else. It is synonymous with the outside
world where celebrity and presentation has grown to outshine any fundamental
value. The whole world seems consumed with how things look.
“It’s not what you say but how you say
This trait generally means that no one wants to rock the
boat and differences of opinions and confrontations are to be avoided at all
costs - regardless of the detriment to the Enterprise.
If people are mediocre, ineffective or inefficient at their
jobs, then this tends to be tolerated so long as they are always happy and get
on with people, smile a lot and are the “life and soul of the party” (of course
there are limits but the general point stands) but if someone points this out
(and by doing so annoys them) then this is not tolerated.
Do people in your Enterprise
favour style over substance?
Can you think of examples
where this has happened in the past?
Who were they? What was the
impact? Why do you think they acted in this way?
What needs to change to reduce
the likelihood of it happening in the future?
Who needs to drive that