Influencer: A Book Review
I read Influencer: The new science of leading change by Grenny, Patterson, Maxfield, McMillan and Switzler (2013). The authors believe that, with the right strategies, anyone can affect change. In order to be an influencer, one must focus on the specific, measurable outcome that he or she wants. One must then discover the “vital behaviors” that will cause the most amount of change (2013). Last, and most complicated, one will need to “engage all six sources of influence” in order to achieve the desired goal (2013). These six sources are personal motivation, personal ability, social motivation, social ability, structural motivation and structural ability. As demonstrated through the use of numerous examples in a variety of fields all over the world, in order to cause long-lasting change it is essential that influencers have a goal, measure it, figure out the the vital behaviors and use all six sources. This takes much thought, commitment and perseverance but the results are astounding.
Grenny et al. (2013) claim that by following their researched approach anyone can be an influencer. They don’t pretend that this approach is easy. One must be deeply committed to change and comfortable with adjusting tactics when needed. The authors’ strengths are that they give you a tried and true method for creating change and that they support their method with an abundance of research and real life examples. The research intrigues while the examples inspire. Grenny et al. are able to make you want to go change the world and make you believe that you can actually succeed. Their one weakness may be that their examples are so impressive. Although they do give theoretical suggestions for marriage and parenthood, the majority of their proof does not come from normal, everyday citizens. At times it is a little overwhelming and makes you wonder if YOU could actually do the same thing. That being said, their method seems scalable and motivate you to go out and try to affect change in your life.
The description of Influencer (2013) claims that it doesn’t matter who you are, if you read this book you will be able to influence others. Although Grenny et al. (2013) do not give many examples of influencers in education, their approach could be replicated by leaders in a school, a district or in government. Integrating technology into education can be a hard sell for some stakeholders. However if schools have a key influencer who is able to set a measurable goal, figure out the vital behaviors and use all six of the sources of influence, almost anything could happen. One limitation for me at my current school is that I would need to be in a position of leadership in order to become a true influencer. Although I may only be able to take baby steps right now, I can share the book and its ideas with those in leadership positions at my school. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone. Even though it was a book I was reading for school, it was incredibly pleasurable and I found myself not being able to put it down. Grenny et al. did a fantastic job of inspiring me and giving me the personal ability to affect change. As our school works out the kinks of a 1:1 program, I hope to be able to subtly use my new-found influence to help guide us. The more people in our organization that read this book, the more socially motivated and able I will be to cause much needed change.