We just explained why your greatest source of power is your ability to change how people feel. We noted that one of the ways to use this power is to harness humankind’s hardwired aversion to loss—which makes us much more sensitive to losses than to equivalent gains. In short, one of the most effective ways to drive accountability is to make sure that people who aren’t doing what’s needed lose something that they value.
In this chapter we’ll expand on this concept, describing some proven techniques for leveraging loss aversion to make bad behavior more costly. We think it’s worth noting that with only one exception, these techniques don’t involve money, yet they all work.