Influencer: The Power to Change Anything
By: Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David
Maxfield, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler. (McGraw-Hill)
Today more than 5 million HIV cases have been prevented. 14,000 harden criminals have been transformed into productive citizens, and more than 122,000 lives have been saved in American Hospitals. These successes have come from leaders who understand how to influence. The book Influencer: The Power to Change Anything use these and other cases to show you how you can use these same skills, what he authors call “vital behaviors” to have influence on yourself, family, community, work. They have studied some of the world greatest influencers and have broken down what they are doing to build sustain change in organizations and communities. Influencer looks at how do people who are capable of influencing profound persistent highly resistant problems. And help you as the reader see a different way to change others minds.
In today’s world the issues are becoming more complex as our society grows to 7 billion in population. Our organizations, cities, towns, countries are larger and with scale comes complexity. Many leaders look for the silver bullet the one thing that will be the secret weapon. This is really difficult especially when we as humans get hooked into habits that persist. Influencer will help you understand that change does not come from a power point presentation it is about how you hook into the hearts and minds of the people that will be involved in changing these deep habit formed behaviors. One way that they suggest is harnessing peer pressure. An example used is when a company identified who the opinion leaders were in their massive organization and helped them see the importance of the change and allowed them to create the change that was needed.
To really get the message of the book the authors recommend you think deeply about a current problem you’re having and begin to read. The connection points will become clear and useful to you in helping you form a solution to the problem via influence. The authors in the second part of the book will offer you six areas of influence: personal, motivation and ability, social motivation and ability, and structural motivation and ability. You will learn about each one of these influencing behaviors and use them alone or collectively. It is when you engage all of these that the magic of influence will truly come to life.
In reading the book the authors support most if not all of their examples with strong academic research. Much of the supported research you will have seen in other bestselling books and there are a few new ones that will be really helpful. When you get the book Google some of the research it really is eye opening!
Many of their discoveries line up quite nicely with Ronald Heifetz Harvard Professor on leadership and bestselling author of Leadership On The Line. Heifetz talks about leaders needing to both be on the balcony to have a wider view of the issues and then going down on the dance floor with their folks to look closer at the issue together to shine light on the issue and change their cognitive maps of both the leader and the co-workers.
The authors see that there is a flaw in the idea that people are resistant to change. They see it as the person has two ideas going on in their mind, either they can’t do it or it is not going to be any good for them. Influencers show you how to deal with these really well by focusing on motivation and ability problems. This concept is supported by Authors, Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey in both their books, How the Way We Talk can Change the Way We Work and Immunity to Change. Take the book out for a spin and see how you can put it to use. If you do – let me know what you think at Gary@JustAskLeadership.com or post a comment today!