Influencer: The Power to Change Anything

Search for Vital Behaviors

Search for behaviors

Focus on behavior, don’t let experts pass off outcomes as behaviors.  You already know what you want to achieve, find what to DO.

Search for Vital Behaviors

A few behaviors can drive big change, look for those that create a cascade of change.

Test Your Results.

Changing Minds

People will attempt to change their behavior if

  1. They believe it will be worth it.
  2. They can do what is required.

You can use persuasion, field trips, or narratives.  Narratives should be powerful as to create a vicarious experience you’re not able to let them experience.

Intrinsic Satisfaction

“So Heath didn’t sell; he listened.  He spent weeks interviewing employees at all levels.  He tried to understand their needs, frustrations, and aspirations.  When he finally began issuing orders, he framed them in ways that honored the needs, concerns, and goals of his colleagues. His influence didn’t result from merely confronting problems, but from listening to people.”

With individuals who believe that the required behavior won’t be pleasurable, simply immerse them in the activity. With our out-of-shape and overweight friend Henry, for example, he’ll learn to like certain healthier foods and take pleasure in certain means of exercise only when he gives them a fair chance.

Revel in achieving for the sake of achieving.  Tap into people’s sense of pride and competition.  For long-term achievement, link into people’s view of who they want to be.

When the activity is rarely 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 the individuals are currently either supporting or violating.

Help them reconnect their actions to their sense of morality by fighting moral disengagement when people slip further into inappropriate behavior.  Don’t let people minimize or justify their behavior by transforming humans into statistics.

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.

Personal Ability

Remember the good news here.  Overcoming habits or developing complex athletic, intellectual, and interpersonal skills are not merely functions of motivation, personality traits, or even character.  They all tie back to ability.  Develop greater proficiency at deliberate practice as well as the ability to manage your emotions, and you significantly increase the chances for turning vital behaviors into vital habits.

Social Support

Sometimes it takes the support of “the right one” – an opinion leader – to propel people to embrace an innovation.

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. Ignore those who seek silence instead of a healthy dialogue.

Some change efforts are so profound that they require the help of everyone involved to enable people to make the change.

As it turns out, it’s the desire to be accepted, respected, and connected that really pulls at human heart strings.

Social Ability

“Since you can’t know everything, it’s essential that you find people who can make up for tyour blind spots.  A whole host of recent studies reveals that today’s most successful employees have networks of people they can go to for expertise, as well as networks of people they can trust with sensitive requests.  Successful people not only refuse to see themselves as islands, but they carefully reduce their personal vulnerability by ensuring that they’re valued members of hyperconnected networks.”

Since rarely does any one of us have all that’s required to succeed with thte complex tasks we face every day, we desperately need to build social capital.  Savvy influences know better than to turn their backs on social capital.  They are quick to consider what help, authority, consent, or cooperation individuals may need when facing risky or dauting new behaviors.  Then they develop and influence strategy that offers the social capital required to help make change inevitable.


“Earlier we learned that it’s best to take complex tasks and turn them into small, achievable goals.  Now we’re adding another concept. Reward small improvements in behavior along the way.  Don’t wait until people achieve phenomenal results, but reward smal improvements in behavior. “

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 choose to employ extrinsic rewards, make sure that they are linked to vital behaviors.  Take care to link rewards to the specific actions you want to see repeated.  Do your best to reward behaviors and not merely outcomes.  If you end up having to administer punishment, let people knwo what’s coming before you drop the hammer.

Change the Environment

Think about propinquity.  Think about things, not just people, and how to better place and use things in order to achieve your goals.