Tag Archives: change

Social Sources of Influence

“Great things in business are never done by one person.

They’re done by a team of People.”

-Steve Jobs

 

We are continuing a series focused on getting leverage on yourself to make personal changes. This week, we will focus on the third and fourth of the sources of influence that Patterson, Grenny, Maxfield, McMillan, and Switzler’s (2011) identifed in Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success.

Change anything

 

The Six Sources of Influence

The six sources of influence are listed below. I will describe each of them in some detail over the next few weeks, but for now, here is a list:

Source 1 – Personal motivation (What do you need to do to “love what you hate?”)

Source 2 – Personal ability (How will you “do what you can’t?”)

Sources 3 & 4– Social motivation & social ability (What must you do to “turn accomplices into friends?”)

Source 5 – Structural motivation (How will you “invert the economy?”)

Source 6 – Structural ability (What will you do to “control your space?”)

This week, we will talk about Source 3 and Source 4.

 

Sources 3 & 4– Social Motivation & Social Ability

The authors talk about these sources of influence as turning “accomplices” into “friends.” Friends are those who support you as you pursue your objective. Accomplices, on the other hand, are the people who conspire with you in making poor choices. They are the loved ones who urge you to have a small piece of cake when they know that you are watching your weight. They urge you to go shopping when they know you are trying to save money. As the authors explained, “Bad habits are almost always a social disease—if those around us model and encourage them, we’ll almost always fall prey. Turn ‘accomplices’ into ‘friends’ and you can be two-thirds more likely to succeed.”[i]

The good news is that you can often convert accomplices into friends. A loved one who stops eating cake in front of you and regularly asks about your weight loss becomes a powerful force in your change effort. Converting accomplices into friends is like removing an adversaries from the battlefield by converting them into allies who fight on your side. Now, these friends enable us to accomplish our goals.

You convert accomplices to friends by having a conversation with them. Tell them what you need from them. Ask them to help you as you pursue your goal.

You can gain extra leverage on yourself by making your goal public. Then everyone knows that your goal what your goal is. When you put your reputation on the line, you feel more compelled to complete your goal. I did this as I pursued my goal. I told my class that I would learn 7th grade Latin while they were conducting their change projects and I gained additional leverage with the following announcement.

I made myself publicly accountable to the entire class. I did this to give myself social motivation. I do not want to tell my students to do something and look like a hypocrite if I cannot do it myself. In the process, I have converted a number of students into friends. You can also ask me about my progress over the next three months (new friends). That is additional accountability.

 

That is how you get by with a little help from your friends.

 

What About You?

What is your goal this year? How can you put these two social sources of influence to work for you?

References

[i] Patterson, K., (2011). Change anything: The new science of personal success. New York: Business Plus. (p. 17).

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gerdes

Dr. Darin Gerdes is an Associate Professor of management in the School of Business at Charleston Southern University. All ideas expressed on www.daringerdes.com are his own.

This post was originally created for Great Business Networking (GBN), a networking organization for business professionals where Dr. Gerdes is the Director of Education.

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The First Two Sources of Influence

“Assume a virtue, if you have it not.
…. Refrain to-night,
And that shall lend a kind of easiness
To the next abstinence: the next more easy.”
-Hamlet, Act III, Scene IV

We are continuing a series focused on making personal changes. Patterson, Grenny, Maxfield, McMillan, and Switzler’s (2011) identified six sources of influence in Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success.

Change anything

The Six Sources of Influence

The six sources of influence are listed below:

Source 1 – Personal motivation (What do you need to do to “love what you hate?”)

Source 2 – Personal ability (How will you “do what you can’t?”)

Sources 3 & 4– Social motivation & social ability (What must you do to “turn accomplices into friends?”)

Source 5 – Structural motivation (How will you “invert the economy?”)

Source 6 – Structural ability (What will you do to “control your space?”)

In this lesson, we will talk about source1 and source 2.

 

Source 1 – Personal Motivation

The authors sum up personal motivation as the ability to learn to “love what you hate.”[1] If you are trying to lose weight, but you hate green vegetables, what would happen if you learned to love kale? Did you know that it takes more calories to eat celery than are contained in the celery?[2] What if you learned to like eating celery and hummus instead of nacho chips and cheese sauce?

If you hated school but you need certifications to advance, what if you could learn to love learning? Would that increase your odds of success?

 

Source 2 – Personal Ability

Sometimes the issue is not motivation but ability. As the authors explained,

Every time you try to do what you know is right and you fail, there’s a good chance that your failure can be traced in part to a gap in knowledge or a missing skill. Knowledge and skill can be just as important as will in any personal change program. (p. 67)

The authors call this “doing what you can’t.” It might be better to say that you can’t do it yet, but with training or practice, you will be able to do it.

You may need to develop particular skills in order to be successful. Take an inventory to determine if you have the skills or if you need to develop new skills that will help you achieve your goal.

Perhaps you have not had the willpower to keep from snacking. Are there steps you can take to prevent it (or alter your approach so that you snack on celery and hummus)?

As you practice, you will get better. Perhaps you need to break your efforts down to smaller, manageable pieces. Alcoholics anonymous has adopted the slogan “one day at a time.” The idea is to focus on being successful now instead of being overwhelmed by the idea of a lifetime without alcohol.

Quantify your efforts. Measure yourself against a standard. If the goal is to not eat sugar, check the box every day you avoid sweets, and expect disappointments. They are part of the process. You are not perfect and you have probably been doing things the same way for a long time. You will not course correct overnight, but you will change over time if you learn how to make a series of new choices.

 

What About You?

What is your goal this year? How can you put the first two sources of influence to work for you?

Source 1 – Personal motivation (What do you need to do to “love what you hate?”)

Source 2 – Personal ability (How will you “do what you can’t?”)

 

References

[1] Patterson, K., (2011). Change anything: The new science of personal success. New York: Business Plus. (p. 47).

[2] Hughes, T. (2016, June 10). Eating celery really does burn more calories than it contains. Daily Mail. Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3636165/Eating-celery-really-DOES-burn-calories-contains.html

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gerdes

Dr. Darin Gerdes is an Associate Professor of management in the School of Business at Charleston Southern University. All ideas expressed on www.daringerdes.com are his own.

This post was originally created for Great Business Networking (GBN), a networking organization for business professionals where Dr. Gerdes is the Director of Education.

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Willpower is Not Enough

“Pessimism never won any battle.”

-Dwight D. Eisenhower

 

 

In our last lesson, I talked about making personal changes this year and the success my students have had when they followed Patterson, Grenny, Maxfield, McMillan, and Switzler’s (2011) Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success.

Change anything

In my business networking group, I offered to work with anyone who was interested in the change process. If you are interested in taking on a personal change project, you need to find at least one other person who is interested in making a change. You don’t need me. There is nothing magical about my presence, but I will do my best to guide you through the change process through each lesson over the next month.

 

Willpower

Let’s begin with the concept of willpower. Willpower is a good starting point. As Eisenhower said, “Pessimism never won any battle.” Nevertheless, willpower isn’t a magic bullet. It is a necessary, but not sufficient condition for change.

The authors argue that the reason you fail is that you do not realize how much the odds of change are stacked against you. Many people rely on willpower only to be outmatched as the other sources of influence conspire to overwhelm them. They wrote:

The willpower trap keeps them in a depressing cycle that begins with heroic commitment to change, which is followed by eroding motivation and terminated inevitably by relapse into old habits. Then, when the built-up pain of their bad habits becomes intolerable, they muster up another heroic but doomed attempt at change. We feel as if we are ascending a summit when in fact we’re simply walking a treadmill: Lots of effort; no progress. That’s the willpower trap.[1]

Ego scire Latine

I am not sure that my translation is correct, but it should read: “I will learn Latin.” I am just learning.

Since students in my Organizational Behavior class are taking on a change project, I decided that this year I would learn 7th grade Latin so that I could help my daughter when she gets into it next year. We homeschool, and our curriculum will have her translating large sections of the Iliad by her senior year. I need to be able to help her. I realized that, despite my best intentions, I have not learned any Latin last year. I had the Latin books sitting on my desk for the better part of a year, and I told myself that I would do it every day, but despite my desire, I have not learned Latin. Over the last year, I read the first three pages of the book. And this is the point: Willpower is not enough.

Now, I have fully embraced the change process and I have gained leverage on myself using the six sources of influence. As I write this lesson, I have completed 2 & ½ of 15 lessons covering 39 exercises and 42 pages of the First Year Latin book. I have completed this in 16 days.

How did I do it? It wasn’t a fresh burst of willpower; I did it by harnessing the six sources of influence outlined below. If we can get these sources on our side, we significantly increase the odds that we will be successful.

 

The Six Sources of Influence

The six sources of influence are listed below. Over the next three weeks, I will describe each of them in greater detail, but for now, here is a list:

Source 1 – Personal motivation (What do you need to do to “love what you hate?”)

Source 2 – Personal ability (How will you “do what you can’t?”)

Source 3 – Social motivation (What must you do to “turn accomplices into friends?”)

Source 4 – Social Ability (What must you do to “turn accomplices into friends?”)

Source 5 – Structural motivation (How will you “invert the economy?”)

Source 6 – Structural ability (What will you do to “control your space?”)

Three months from now, we will look back and see how much we have changed.

 

What About You?

Are you ready to commit to a personal change? Join us. Get the book. Find at least one other person in your group that will be an accountability partner, and choose a goal. Make sure that you can quantify that goal. Let’s get started.

 

References

[1] Patterson, K., (2011). Change anything: The new science of personal success. New York: Business Plus. (pp. 5-6).

References

[i] Patterson, K., (2011). Change anything: The new science of personal success. New York: Business Plus. (pp. 10-11).
-Darin Gerdes

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gerdes

Dr. Darin Gerdes is an Associate Professor of management in the School of Business at Charleston Southern University. All ideas expressed on www.daringerdes.com are his own.

This post was originally created for Great Business Networking (GBN), a networking organization for business professionals where Dr. Gerdes is the Director of Education.

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How Flexible Are You?

In business, a key to success is flexibility. Flexibility is necessary in any changing environment.  No where do we find better examples of the shifting sands of change than the battlefield.

41st Expeditionary Rescue Squadron

Photo courtesy of US Taxpayers

Change and Flexibility

Get your MBA Now from Charleston Southern UniversityBusinessmen operate in a turbulent environment. Since the 2008 recession, the speed of change has accelerated. Managers spout slogans like “change or die” or proverbs like “A rolling stone gathers no moss” (Publius Syrus) but rarely do they act on their own advice.

In reality, the more turbulent the environment, the more change and flexibility are necessary.

I read a lot. As I do, I actively think about parallels to business leadership. As I was reading American Heroes in Special OperationsI stumbled over this interesting passage about the 41st Expeditionary Rescue Squadron.

American Heroes in Special Operations[The 41st Expeditionary Rescue Squadron is] always in high demand. That’s because the “rescue warriors” are willing to go where other medevac units won’t to save the lives of Coalition forces and Afghan civilians alike. Red crosses—the universal symbol for medical personnel—are conspicuously absent from their aircraft. That’s because the Geneva Convention expressly forbids medical personnel displaying the symbol from carrying weapons. Not that any of that stops the Taliban—they’ll shoot at any helicopter regardless its markings.

But [they] will shoot back if they are shot at and they happily forego the “protection” of the red cross in exchange for the ability to do so. (p. 274)

Here the military was taking a page from Lao Tzu who wrote: “Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”

If the enemy will not honor the Red Cross  on your sleeve or on your helicopter, perhaps suppressive fire might be more persuasive. At any rate, it is sheer madness to rely on the symbol to protect you.

Change Requires Flexibility

Red Cross

This is the key to flexibility. The red cross logo was supposed to provide an advantage to the combat medic.  But since it was no longer honored, the military let go of an advantage that no longer worked in order to seize a new opportunity that would increase the likelihood of mission success.

How about You?

What advantages do you still cling to that don’t really work? If your business was built on direct mail, the bulk rate mail advantage is a liability if it is more profitable to wage a social media campaign.

Think about how your business landscape has shifted. Is it possible that by holding onto an advantage, you might be limiting success?


Darin Gerdes, Ph.D.


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Dr. Gerdes is the Director of the MBA Program at Charleston Southern University. All ideas expressed on www.daringerdes.com are his own.

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What is Leadership? – Part II [Video of short lecture – 10 Minutes]

In part II, I continue to discuss the nature of leadership based on a review of the academic literature. See Part I here if you missed the introduction.

Here we discuss the following:

  • Get your MBA Now from Charleston Southern UniversityRelationship
  • Emotional connection
  • Change
  • Leading by example

In the lecture I talked about a fantastic book, It’s your Ship I have linked it here.

Because he understood leadership, Captain Abrashoff  transformed one of the worst performing ships in the Navy into the best of its class. I highly recommend the book.

WARNING: As a sailor, Captian Abrashoff has a salty tongue, so the book gets a PG-13 rating. But, I recommend the book because he understood the fundamentally empowering nature of leadership. Here are a few brief passages to illustrate:

its_Your_ship

I found that the more control I gave up, the more command I got. In the beginning, people kept asking my permission to do things. Eventually, I told the crew, ‘It’s your ship. You’re responsible for it. Make a decision and see what happens.’ Hence the Benfold watchword was ‘It’s your ship.’ Every sailor felt that Benfold was his or her responsibility (p. 6).

I was determined to create a culture where everyone on board felt comfortable enough to say to me, ‘Captain, have you thought of this?’ or ‘Captain, I’m worried about something,’ or even ‘Captain, I think you’re dead wrong and here’s why.’ Yes-people are a cancer in any organization, and dangerous to boot (p. 89).

How much more effective would our organizations be if all leaders thought like this?  Have you ever worked for someone like Captain Abrashoff?

Darin Gerdes, Ph.D.


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Dr. Gerdes is the Director of the MBA Program at Charleston Southern University. All ideas expressed on www.daringerdes.com are his own.

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