According to Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, and Andrew Shimberg, any one source of influence in isolation is not enough — a whole mutually reinforcing arsenal of influence sources must be used together.
Clearly, the main variable in success or failure is not which source of influence leaders choose. By far, the more important factor is how many.
They studied many leaders, and only a few combined at least 4 sources of influence. But those few who did were 10x more influential than the rest.
According to Grenny, Maxfield, and Shimberg, what are the sources of influence?
Personal motivation and the trained skills to execute on them
The key to personal motivation is to help people see the true implications of their actions and choices by connecting the new behaviors to deeply held values.
Successful leaders understand that new behaviors can be far more intellectually, physically, and emotionally challenging than they appear on the surface. In truth, many problems stem from a lack of ability. Individuals often simply don’t know how to do what’s required.
The key to personal ability is to overinvest in skill building […] extensive practice in the toughest, most realistic settings. Results show that a robust training initiative is at the heart of almost all successful influence strategies.
Harness peer pressure and let opinion leaders lead the way
When senior physicians don’t wash their hands before treating patients, less than 10% of their residents wash up.
The key to effective social motivation is to get peer pressure working for you instead of against you.
Start every intervention by first identifying opinion leaders and then involving these opinion leaders in the change process.
Align rewards, ensure accountability, change the environment
Put your money where your mouth is.
Creating incentives is often the only real way senior leaders can separate serious priorities from pipedreams. The CEO might stick his neck out and say, “Starting now, at least 25 percent of our incentive pay should be contingent on achieving these new measures.” This statement will instantly redirect the focus of senior managers.
The key to changing an organization’s mental agenda is to change the data that routinely crosses people’s desks.
An example of changing the environment
Although the firm met all of its internal customer metrics, an alarming number of customers were defecting to competitors. Puzzled, the vice president of quality explored how the customer metrics were calculated. He found that customers requested to receive their deliveries within two days. At which point, the salesperson responded with, “Sorry, we can’t do that—how about four?” Frequently, the customer would say that was okay.
When the company tracked whether packages were indeed delivered within four days, their record was nearly perfect. However, many customers still wanted two-day deliveries. Rather than measure the actual delivery date against the promised delivery time, the VP began tracking the delivery time against the customers’ preferred delivery time. Using this metric, performance fell to below 50 percent—explaining their high customer-defection rate. While this performance metric was discouraging, it reset the mental agenda and motivated the organization to revamp the fulfillment system.