Influencer: 6 Sources of Influence

Think about a time when you had to introduce a new process, concept, or project to a friend, a manager, or an entire team. How did it go? What were the challenges? To carry out the change management process in an organization, you often have to effectively influence others.

There are many books on influence, one that is at the top of the list is called Influencer. The authors of INFLUENCER: The New Science of Leading Change studied companies and individuals who were successful or unsuccessful with implementing change, and they identified six sources or factors that were correlated with successful change.

When determining how to influence your target audience to create change, you should consider using all of these sources to increase your chances of success. You may even consider prioritizing these based on your knowledge of your audience. For example, some target audiences may be most swayed by financial incentives, while others may be more incentivized by social justice impacts.

Here are the six sources uncovered by the authors in their research:

  1. Personal motivation: Are the individuals motivated internally to engage in the new behavior? Can you help them “love what they hate”?
  2. Personal ability: Are the individuals capable of performing the behavior? Do they have the ability, knowledge, and skills to “do what they can’t”?
  3. Social motivation: Are there social contacts or networks encouraging or discouraging this new behavior?
  4. Social ability: Does the team have resources within their social network to help them carry out the new behaviors?
  5. Structural motivation: Are there rewards or incentives that they will receive if they perform the new behaviors?
  6. Structural ability: Are there environmental factors at play that either deter or support the new behavior? Can you make the incorrect behavior harder to do than the correct behavior?

I was reminded of the concepts of this book recently as I’ve been coaching a pair of executives on change management. Part of their challenge is they’re taking on a new strategy going forward, and they want to implement a more robust customer service program which would help their organization satisfy their clients more and do it more efficienty.

They want to avoid getting too complex and get to the nitty gritty of change. I tell them that change is leadership. It’s about influencing others, not just getting others to follow their orders; but really influencing. I highly recommend Influencer!

Check out Source of Insight for a more in depth breakdown of the sources of influence.