Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Influence is More Than Creating Motivation

Whether we're talking about sales or change management or just pure leadership, influence is important. Too often we focus on the motivation aspect of it, and think we're done with our part of the bargain. Now, if only they'd get with the program, it'd be smooth sailing.

Joseph Grenny at a recent leadership summit outlined a matrix around influence. It confirmed what a lot of us knew. I've been involved in community-wide efforts to improve health. I noticed that peer pressure plays a big part in creating and maintaining good habits. Not only peer pressure, but a support structure is important--if I'm eating salad, it's helpful if everyone else is too and not grinding down greasy bacon cheeseburgers in front of me. I've also learned that changing organizational structures to encourage the new behaviors is important. Eli Goldratt talks about creating an offer that can't be refused because it cuts to the core need of your customer. Historically, Cortes scuttled some ships and sent the others back to Spain to eliminate an option of retreat for his men. I've changed policies that reduce the probability that people will do the less-effective actions. Insurance companies and the government are good at changing organizational structures to get the right thing: they're called payroll deductions. On the motivation side, we're great at providing incentives.

Grenny points out it's more than finding personal and structural motivation, creating a social network that helps and changing organizational structures. You also need to provide the means to acquire the personal skills to take advantage of the change.

In the personal, social and structural elements, we as leaders need to provide the motivation and the abilities in those areas to be successful.

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