Paul Zak is a researcher who studies oxytocin, also known as the connection hormone or the love hormone. Oxytocin is secreted by nursing mothers and babies and also during sex. It connects us. When we are under the effects of oxytocin, we feel a lot of trust, closeness, and cooperation. This is necessary for our survival. When Paul Zak gave oxytocin to research subjects, their trust levels went up.
He also studied the opposite of oxytocin, which is testosterone. Testosterone is the mistrust hormone, the selfish hormone, the uncooperative hormone. Keep in mind that men have ten times the testosterone as women. Also, under times of stress, testosterone goes up and oxytocin goes down. Can you think of a male dominated industry that is highly stressful? Maybe construction?
So could all of this lack of cooperation and adversarial relationships in the construction industry be due to too much testosterone and not enough oxytocin? Perhaps. And Paul Zak has a solution to this problem, which has earned him the nickname “Doctor Love”. He said to increase oxytocin, he recommends at least eight hugs per day.
When I spoke recently at the National COAA (Construction Owner’s Association of America), I told them about this research and Paul Zak’s solution. I also told them that I looked forward to the day when we had owner mandated hugs on all projects.
After my speech, the person who introduced me gave me a big hug. Then another guy gave me a hug. People were hugging all over the place. One guy would give me his hug count every time he saw me during the conference.
Could it be that simple? Give it a try and see what happens.