The National Learning Institute

Influencing Category


Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change

June 18, 2013 No Comments

Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change

Josephy Grenny, Kerry Patterson, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan and Al Switzlet. McGraw-Hill, 2013.

There are lots of books on influence and change – this is certainly amongst the better ones. The authors have developed a simple yet effective model for influencing change by looking at what successful change leaders have done around the world.

The book is engaging.  Short cases and stories from people who have made significant social, business and personal change have been used to illustrate and demonstrate the effectiveness of the model.  I particularly liked the way the stories are seamlessly integrated within the text to demonstrate key points. There are also numerous short cases separately boxed at appropriate points to read immediately or later.

At the heart of the success of this book is the focus on behaviour – what successful leaders do to influence others.  This makes it particularly easy for the reader to see how he or she could also apply these behaviours in their own situation.

The book is well set out in two parts.  Part One sets up the context for the model – what leaders do to successfully influence change.  Part Two then goes on to describe the influence model – the six sources leaders need to tap into.

The section on Structural Motivation – Change Their Economy (one of the six sources), was especially well handled.  Basically this section is about extrinsic rewards and their usefulness (or otherwise).  The use of rewards (particularly extrinsic) as a motivator has been written about by many authors.  Some say they work, others say they should be avoided as people are inherently intrinsically motivated.  In fact when introducing the topic, the authors themselves suggest “We’re about to step on dangerous ground”.  However, my fears were soon allayed when they continued with “In a well balanced change effort, rewards come third.  Influencers first ensure that vital behaviors connect to intrinsic motivation.  Next they line up social support.  They double check both of these areas before they finally choose extrinsic rewards to motivate behavior”.

This a great book on influencing change and should be read and used by all of us who are endeavouring to implement social, structural, business or personal change.

Business Improv

July 5, 2011 No Comments

In “Business Improv”, Val Gee and Sarah Gee have produced an excellent resource for trainers, facilitators and change agents. Based on their work in business, theatre and business schools, the book resonates with exercises that are inclusive, creative and above all, practical.

The basis of the book is that it is a “how to” manual for helping people improve the way they communicate, manage and lead. There is an extensive, although a little “waffly” introduction that explains the authors’ rationale. Although I found this a little basic (even for non-professional facilitators), the ideas are sound. I particularly liked the four “Rules of Business Improv”:

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Why Should Anyone Be Led by You?: What It Takes To Be An Authentic Leader

November 25, 2008 No Comments

At last someone has written a book on leadership! So many so called “leadership” books are actually dealing with management. However, Goffee and Jones with their description of “authentic leadership” have clearly defined the essential fundamental interrelationship between the person aspiring to lead and those who might decide to follow.

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Getting Things Done When You Are Not In Charge

November 24, 2008 1 Comment

I first came across “Getting Things Done When You Are Not In Charge” when my wife started in a new, corporate, “no power” position. Her new boss said “Here, this book might be helpful”. And helpful it certainly has been for it provides so many strategies and suggestions for getting things done through others in a practical manner that can be easily implemented.

Apart from all the good advice and tips Bellman provides, his key message is that when you are in a zero power job, your main purpose in life should be “helping others succeed”. “Getting Things Done When You Are Not In Charge” sets out a strategy for becoming a leader when you are not in a position of authority – probably one of the most challenging roles any manager can take on.

Many chapters have a step by step approach for implementing this leadership strategy, so along with the various scenarios, these steps make it easy for any manager to understand and apply.

Although it’s aimed at the manager who does not have line authority, this book is recommended for all managers who want to increase their personal power.