I just finished reading a book that all change agents should have on their shelves: Influencer: The Power to Change Anything by Kerry Patterson et al. By the same authors of another great book, Crucial Conversations, Influencer says that people ask themselves two questions when deciding whether to try a new or different behavior: 1) Will it be worth it? and 2) Can I do it? If the answer to both questions is yes, then they will try it.
The book further subdivides Motivation (Will it be worth it) and Ability (Can I do it) into three categories – Personal, Social and Structural – that form a framework for how to influence change:
- Personal Motivation: Make the behavior desirable.
- Personal Ability: Provide training to show how to perform the behavior properly.
- Social Motivation: Use peer pressure and existing power structures.
- Social Ability: Enlist the help of others.
- Structural Motivation: Extrinsic rewards and punishment.
- Structural Ability: Alter the physical world to make the behavior easier or inevitable to perform.
The authors feature several stories that run throughout the book and demonstrate how these six sources of influence work individually and in combination to change deep-rooted behaviors. It’s a definite must-read for change agents!