On Influencer

I recently finished reading Influencer – The Power To Change Anything – by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler.

Below are key excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful:

1- “The promise of this book is that almost all the profound, pervasive, and persistent problems we face in our lives, our companies, and our world can be solved. They can be solved because these problems don’t require solutions that defy the laws of nature; they require people to act differently. And while it’s true that most of us aren’t all that skilled at getting ourselves and others to behave differently, there are experts out there who do it all the time.”

2- “Since our ineffectiveness at influencing others stems from a simple inability rather than a character flaw or lack of motivation, the solution lies in continued learning;. We can become powerful influencers. We don’t have to wait for everyone else to miraculously change. We won’t have to constantly seek serenity.”

3- “Before you can influence change, you have to decide to focus on behaviors. They’re universally firm on this point. They don’t dive into developing influence strategies until they’ve carefully identified the behaviors they want to influence. And now for the big idea: A few behaviors can drive a lot of change. The breakthrough discovery of most influence geniuses is that enormous influence comes from focusing on just a few vital behaviors.”

4- “Search for Behaviors. Take care to ensure that you’re searching for strategies that focus on behavior. Don’t let experts pass off outcomes as behaviors…Search for Vital Behaviors. Master influencers know that a few behaviors can drive big change. They look carefully for the vital behaviors that create a cascade of change. No matter the size of the problem, if you dilute your efforts across dozens of behaviors, you’ll never reach critical mass…Search for Recovery Behaviors. People make mistakes, and yet some find a way to quickly get back on track rather than sink further into despair…Test Your Results. Finally, if you’ve conducted your own research and found candidates for what you think are high leverage vital behaviors, test your ideas. Implement the proposed actions and see if they yield the results you want. Don’t merely measure the presence or absence of the vital behaviors; also check to see whether the results you want are happening.”

5- “The great persuader is personal experience.”

6- “CHANGING MINDS…People will attempt to change their behavior if (1) they believe it will be worth it, and (2) they can do what is required. Instill these two views, and individuals will at least try to enact a new behavior nr perhaps stop an old one. To change one or both of these views, most people rely on verbal persuasion. Talk is easy, and it works a great deal of the time. However, with persistent and resistant problems, talk has very likely failed in the past. and it’s time to help individuals experience for themselves the and it’s time to help individuals experience for themselves the benefits of the proposed behavior. It’s time for a field trip. When it’s impossible to create an actual experience, it’s best to create a vicarious experience. For most of us, that means we’ll make use of a well-told story. Stories provide every person, no matter how limited his or her resources, with an influence tool that is both immediately accessible and enormously powerful. Poignant narratives help is being spoken and into the experience itself Because they create vivid images and provide concrete detail, stories are more understandable than terse lectures. Because they focus on the simple reality of an actual event, stories are often more credible than simple statements of fact. Finally, as listeners dive into the narrative and suspend disbelief, stories create an empathic reaction that feels just as real as enacting the behavior themselves. Tell the whole story. Make sure that the narrative you’re employing contains a clear link between the current behaviors and existing (or possibly future) negative results. Also make sure that the story includes positive replacement behaviors that yield new and better results. Remember, stories need to deal with both “Will it be worth it?” and “Can I do it?” When it comes to changing behavior, nothing else matters.”

7- “With the new question, Miller discovered that the best way to help individuals reconnect their existing unhealthy behaviors to their long-term values was to stop trying to control their thoughts and behaviors. You must replace judgment with empathy, and lectures with questions. If you do so, you gain influence. The instant you stop trying to impose your agenda on others, you eliminate the fight for control. You sidestep irrelevant battles over whose view of the world is correct.”

8- “INTRINSIC SATISFACTION: Helping people extract intrinsic satisfaction from the right behavior or feel displeasure with the wrong behavior often calls for several influence strategies. With individuals who believe that the required behaviors won’t be pleasurable, simply immerse them in the activity…As you experiment with new actions, focus on the sense of accomplishment associated with the result. Revel in achieving for the sake of achieving. Tap into people’s sense of pride and competition. And when it comes to long-term achievement. link into people’s view of who they want to be…When dealing with activities that are rarely satisfying or unhealthy activities that are very satisfying, take the focus off the activity itself and reconnect the vital behavior to the person’s sense of values. Don’t be afraid to talk openly about the long-term values individuals are currently either supporting or violating…As people slip further into inappropriate behavior—even causing severe damage to themselves or others—help them reconnect their actions to their sense of morality by fighting moral disengagement. Don’t let people minimize or justify their behavior by transforming humans into statistics. Finally, when facing highly resistant people. don’t try to gain control over them by wowing them with logic and argument. Instead, talk with them about what they want. Allow them to discover on their own the links between their current behavior and what they really want.”

9- “PERSONAL ABILITY: When it comes to complex tasks that matter a great deal to you in your quest to resolve persistent problems, don’t suffer from arrested development. Demand more from yourself than the achievement levels you reach after minimal effort. Instead, set aside time to study and practice new and more vital behaviors. Devote attention to clear, specific, and repeatable actions. Ensure that the actions you’re pursuing are both recognizable and replicable. Then seek outside help. Insist on immediate feedback against clear standards. Break tasks into discrete actions, set goals for each, practice within a low-risk environment, and buffed in recovery strategies. Finally, make sure that you apply the same deliberate practice tactics to physical, intellectual, and even complex social skills. Many of the vital behaviors required to solve profound and persistent problems demand advanced interpersonal problem-solving skills that can be mastered only through well-researched, deliberate practice. With instinctive demands and quick emotional reactions. don’t let the “go” system take control from your “know” system unless you’re facing a legitimate risk to life and limb. To regain emotional control over your genetically wired responses, take the focus off your instinctive objective by carefully attending to distraction activities. Where possible, completely avoid the battle to delay gratification by making the difficult easy, the averse pleasant, and the boring interesting. When strong emotions take over because you’ve drawn harsh, negative conclusions about others, reappraise the situation by asking yourself complex questions that force your frontal lobe to wrest control away from the amygdala.”

10- “SOCIAL SUPPORT: People who are respected and connected can exert an enormous amount of influence over any change effort. Under stressful and ambiguous circumstances, the mere glance from what appears to be a respected official can be enough to propel people to act in ways that are hard to imagine. Fortunately, this “power of one” can also be used to encourage pro-social behavior. When a required behavior is difficult or unpopular or possibly even questionable, it often takes the support of “the right one”—an opinion leader—to propel people to embrace an innovation. Learn how to identify and co-opt these important people. Ignore opinion leaders at your own peril. Sometimes change efforts call for changes in widely shared norms. Almost everyone in a community has to talk openly about a proposed change in behavior before it can be safely embraced by anyone. This calls for public discourse. Detractors will often suggest that it’s inappropriate to hold such an open discourse, and they may even go so far as to suggest that the topic is undiscussable. Ignore those who seek silence instead of healthy dialogue. Make it safe to talk about high-stakes and controversial topics. Finally, some change efforts are so profound that they require the help of everyone involved to enable people to make the change. When breaking away from habits that are continually reinforced by a person’s existing social network, people must be plucked from their support structure and placed in a new network, one where virtually everyone in their new social circle supports and rewards the right behaviors while punishing the wrong.”

11- “SOCIAL ABILITY: In an interdependent, turbulent world, our biggest opponents—the mortal enemy of all families, companies, and communities—may well be our inability to work in concert. Since rarely does any one of us have all that’s required to succeed with the complex tasks we face every day, we desperately need to build social capital…Savvy influencers know better than to turn their backs on social capital. They’re quick to consider what help, authority. consent, or cooperation individuals may need when facing risky or daunting new behaviors. Then they develop an influence strategy that offers the social capital required to help make change inevitable.”

12- “REWARDS: Administering rewards and punishments can be a tricky business. Consequently, when you look at the extrinsic motivators you’re using to encourage or discourage behavior, take care to adhere to a few helpful principles. First, rely on personal and social motivators as your first line of attack. Let the value of the behavior itself, along with social motivators, carry the bulk of the motivational load. When you do c choose to employ extrinsic rewards, make sure that they are immediately linked to vital behaviors. Take care to link rewards to the specific actions you want to see repeated. When choosing rewards, don’t be afraid to draw on small, heartfelt tokens of appreciation. Remember, when it comes to extrinsic rewards, less is often more. Do your best to reward behaviors and not merely outcomes. Sometimes outcomes hide inappropriate behaviors. Finally, if you end up having to administer punishment, first take a shot across the bow. Let people know what’s coming before you drop the hammer.”

13- “CHANGE THE ENVIRONMENT: When it comes to developing a change strategy, we just don’t think about things as our first line of influence. Given that things are far easier to change than people, and that these things can then have a permanent impact on how people behave, it’s high time we pick up on the lead of Whyte, Steele, Wansink, and others and add the power of the environment to our influence repertoire. And who knows? Someday an everyday person may even be able to say the word propinquity in public without drawing snickers.”


Omar Halabieh



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