Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Book Review: Influencer-The New Science of Leading Change

If you are seeking a book that explains how to influence groups you may desire to pick up a copy of the New York Times best seller Influencer. The book will give some instruction and methodology on how to change poor group behavior to more productive behavior. The methodology offered is beneficial regardless of whether you are working in social improvement or business related situations. 

The Influencer discusses important aspects of influencing others to achieve goals. Influencing is seen as a social process that strikes at the heart of behavioral change. Those leaders who can change behavior can create sustainable patterns of group behavior that improve situations for long-term growth and development. It is not enough to simply change the rules without changing the behavior as adjustments will be short-term and often counterproductive.

The authors believe there are three things that influencers do better than others. 1.) They understand the results they want to achieve and are clear about how they will measure them.  2.) They focus on a small about of behaviors to change. 3.) They use six sources of influence that motivate and enable the desired behaviors. 

Within this model it is possible to see the personal, social, and structural aspects of influencing group behavior. Personal behaviors relate to ensuring that the changes are meaningful to the individuals that exist within the group. Social behaviors include creating social pressure to enforce and change behaviors. Structural factors include the concepts associated with clarity of goals, paths, rewards and expectations. 

It is believed that there is motivation and ability that allows for the changing of group behavior. Motivation is the desire to change and include a whole host of reasons ranging from economic to personal desires. The ability to change means changing the ability to change specific behavior behavioral patterns. A person must desire to change and then have the ability/skill to make that change. 

Across the three factors of personal, social and structural change the motivation and abilities of participants are vital. The individual must change, the group must change, and new paths should be developed. All of this relates to a more comprehensive strategy about change. It is not enough to simply outline what an organization or group desires to do without figuring out how to have individual “buy-in”. 

Leaders who desire to change group behavior and influence their environments should read this book. It offers an opportunity to formulate an approach that moves from the strategic concepts to the actual implementation. We know that human behavior is complex but the book explains such concepts in relatively simple terms that allow people to formulate approaches. It is the use of these approaches that help transform poor work patterns and behaviors to higher levels of individual, group, and organizational development.

Grenny, et. al. (2013). Influencer. McGraw Hill; NY, USA. ISBN 978-0-07-180886-6
Pages: 310

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