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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Inluencer: An Overview

Influencer: The Power to Change Anything (McGraw Hill, 2008) by Kerry Patterson, et al. Reviewed by Steve Gladis, Ph.D., October 2010

If you’re a parent, sibling, teacher, manager, CEO—or anyone who, in the course of your daily life, has to persuade or influence the way others think or act—you are an influencer. And this book is perfect for you. As a longtime student and professor of communication and influence, I found this book easy to read, understand, and put right into practice. That’s the highest recommendation anyone can give a book. You’re likely to recall the string of authors—Patterson, Grenny, Maxfield, McMillan and Switzler— who brought you the bestseller Crucial Conversations. In this new book, they offer many compelling stories and experiments, as well as a six-part model of influence that not only makes sense but also is easy to practice. The model is based on a simple two-part premise: 1) People must believe that change is worth it; and 2) they can do all that’s required to make that change. Thus, value and ability are the cornerstones of this book.The six sources of influence are grouped into three areas as follows:

1. Personal motivation and ability
--a. Can you (as an influencer) make the undesirable, desirable?
--b. Can you get people to surpass their perceived limits?
2. Social motivation and ability
--a. Can you harness peer pressure?
--b. Can you find strength in numbers (by showing how others are doing it already)?
3. Structural (systemic) motivation and ability
--a. Can you design rewards and demand accountability?
--b. Can you change the environment to accommodate change?

The authors practice what they preach. They tell some compelling stories, offer experimentation (that a layperson can understand), and provide just the right amount of documentation. Thoughtful readers of this book can use this information to become more active influencers in their families, professions and communities.

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