Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Influencer - The Power To Change Anything

This book is recommended by Jason LAURITSEN, a former human resources executive turned consultant and keynote speaker.

In a July 2012 post about Tranforming HR, Jason wrote :
"The fourth rule of transforming human resources is to study sales.  If I had one wish for human resources as a profession, it would be that every human resources professional would get some sales training.  The skills of influence, negotiation and relationship building that are commonplace in sales would truly transform the effectiveness of HR within our organizations."
I couldn't agree more. HR people manage very tiny departments, frequently amounting to 1% or less of an organization's workforce. Obviously then, we can't rely only on hierarchical power to have a significant impact across the company. If we want to be change agents, we need to master influence.

Here's a short video illustrating the importance of combining several sources of influence to fix a single problem.

Not Just Verbal Persuasion

In the authors' view, you can fix every human problem if you manage to (a) identify and (b) change a set of vital behaviors.

The authors insist that Influence requires much more than verbal persuasion. For people to change their behavior, they need ability and motivation. As ability and motivation can each be fostered at the personal, social and structural level, there are six sources of influence you should make use of:

  1. Personal Motivation
You want people to change the way they behave. However, the expected new behavior isn't necessarily one they find desirable. How do you lead them to change their mind?
  • Get people to try the new behavior: they might find they like it although they thought they wouldn't.
  • Make it a game: they'll find pleasure in the mastery of ever-more challenging goals.
  • Help them connect the behavior with their moral values.
  • Spotlight the human consequences of their behavior.

  1. Personal Ability
  • Abilities are much less innate than we commonly imagine. Even willpower, or the ability to delay gratification, can be learned.
  • Elite performers of just about any field stand out not because of their genetic abilities, but by deliberate practice.
  • Simple practice is not enough to improve one's abilities. For example, when it comes to elite status, there is no correlation between time in the profession and performance levels. (A proposition many HR professionals will certainly find challenging.) The book offers several tips about how to make practice efficient.
  • Emotional intelligence is an important aspect of personal ability. Like other types of skills, it is learnable.
  • Complex interpersonal abilities, like leadership skills, can also be learned through deliberate practice.

    1. Social Motivation
    • The presence and behaviour of others plays a great role in one's behavior. Even the presence of just one peer makes a difference.
    • Formal and informal leaders are obviously those you need to reach first if you want to have an influence on a larger group.
    • This is also true when you are trying to change your own behavior. If you make a commitment and then share it with friends or colleagues, you will be much more likely to keep it.

    1. Social Ability
    • Social capital is “the profound enabling power of an essential network of relationships”.
    • Social capital is a powerful lever you can use in a number of cases, like :
      • When bad behavior is reinforced by a web of players
      • When you need to innovate
      • When you need real-time feedback from an expert (a powerful way to learn)

    1. Structural Motivation
    • Structural motivation refers to how you set up the system, the organizational rules, to motivate people.
    • Extrinsic rewards come third: intrinsic satisfaction and peer pressure are much more powerful. (See Daniel Pink's “DRIVE” for a more detailed analysis on the topic of motivation.)
    • Rewards can backfire: you need to use them wisely.
    • Symbolic rewards can be just as powerful as material ones.
    • It's important to reward vital behaviors, not just results. Reward effort, not outcome.
    • Punish only when all else fails. 

      1. Structural Ability
      • You can use things, the physical environment, to facilitate good behaviors and to make the wrong behaviors more difficult to enact.
      • Propinquity is the impact of space on relationships. For example, the frequency and quality of human interaction is largely a function of physical distance. Bad news if your desk is miles away from your manager's.

      Jason LAURITSEN says that “Influencer” is one of the books that have shaped his abilities and thinking around sales. I think it can also be very useful to HR professionals: among other things, it teaches a lot about learning, motivation, and teamwork.

      Book Data

      1 comment:

      1. Influencer training program that draws on the best practices of many of the world's leading change agents and transformation processes.Regards Influencer Training