How to have Influence
- A Sloan Management Review article by J. Grenny, D. Maxfield and A. Shimberg


Model for implementation


Do you want to find the "Successful Change Strategy"?
Forget it. The solution is several parallel strategies...

The authors of the article "How To Have Influence" - Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield and Andrew Shimberg - conducted three studies to evaluate what is "best practice" when it comes to running successful change projects and sorted out the different strategies for influencing people in six groups.

The first study asked 900 managers and supervisors how they worked with problems such as district thinking and poor responsibility in their organizations, and whether they had been successful in that work.
  • The study showed that those managers and supervisors who relied solely on a strategy to influence had been successful in 4% (!) Of their change projects, while
  • the managers and supervisors who worked with several parallel strategies (four or more) had been successful in 40% of their projects.
The second study focused on task-critical initiatives (such as internal reorganizations and quality or productivity improvements).
  • It showed that the large group of managers who only relied on one strategy were only successful in 14% of the projects.
  • Those who used several parallel strategies (four or more) were successful in 63% (!) Of their change projects.
 The third study focused on individuals who tried to break their own (bad) habits.
  • This study also showed that those who tried to do this by using several strategies were four times as successful as those who only used one strategy.
Article can be ordered via Sloan Management Review¶

"How to have influence" - Six strategies for influence (and change)

Authors Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield and Andrew Shimberg sort out different methods for influencing people into six strategy groups.
The main division is Motivation and Ability / Support, and the main groups are then divided into three different categories: Personal, Social and Structural.
The different strategy groups are:
1. Build personal motivation - Are employees motivated?
In cases where new behaviors require extra work, are more complicated or just different from the current routines, the project needs to build personal motivation for the change in the employees. This can be achieved, for example, by creating meaning with the change, linking the change to basic values, reinforcing positive emotions and initiatives, promoting involvement or feedbacking customer reactions.

2. Build social motivation - Does the environment (especially the managers) encourage "right" behavior and discourage "wrong" behavior?
Even if an employee has sufficient personal motivation to want to change their behavior, strong social influence from managers and colleagues can prevent or slow this down. People often need confirmation that they are "doing the right thing", either from colleagues or superiors. Managers and informal leaders / opinion makers often have a greater impact on employees' behavior than colleagues. By getting managers and opinion leaders involved in the change process (and living according to the new vision), employees' motivation for change can be maintained or increased.
3. Building Structural Motivation - Is "Right" Behavior Rewarded and "Wrong" Behavior Punished?
Structural motivation is about the company's various reward systems - that desirable behaviors are followed up, evaluated and finally rewarded. Examples of reward systems are salary setting and bonus systems, but can also be the attention of special efforts, internal competitions and more.
4. Develop personal ability - Do employees have the right skills?
In many cases, the desired behaviors require new or different skills than the current ones. It can be about knowledge, skills or personal qualities. 77% of the successful change projects included training as one of the strategies for change. Research also shows that training spread over a long period of time is more successful than an extensive, concentrated training effort.
5. Enable social support - Do others contribute support when needed?
Building social support is about providing support from others, for example in the form of coach and mentor conversations, answers to questions and access to the right resources, especially when you encounter challenges in the change work.
6. Develop a structural support - Is "right" behavior facilitated and "wrong" behavior made difficult in everyday life?
Structural support is about changing the environment to facilitate desired behaviors and make unwanted ones more difficult. It is also about maintaining the employees' direction towards the goal, for example through recurring feedback of customer feedback, benchmarking, etc.
The article can be ordered via Sloan Management Review¶

Suitable for...

  • As a checklist for general implementation projects
  • Deployment project - new IT system / new way of working

Less suitable for...

  • Basic values project
  • Mergers
  • Rationalization project

Keep in mind...

  • Before implementation using this model, the Change Project's platform needs to be developed
  • To facilitate implementation using this model, an involvement phase should precede the implementation phase
  • After implementation, the new working methods / roles / processes should be introduced in existing control documents
Read more about these steps here