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How to Become an "Influencer"

Posted by: Diane Brady on October 26, 2007

Joseph Grenny thinks anyone can learn to influence people in the workplace. The co-author of Crucial Conversations and Crucial Confrontations makes getting there the subject of his latest book, Influencer: The Power to Change Anything.

To Grenny, an influencer isn’t just someone who gets his or her way at a meeting. It’s a person who “can turn around an organization; turn criminal lives into productive ones”. The key, he said in a recent Video View, is to “educate their eyes. Complex behavioral problems won’t be solved with a silver bullet. There are multiple sources of influence in a habit.”

Influence is such a critical skill in business. Many try to lead by example. Others think the most important factor is charisma, or the position you hold in an organization. (Hard to deny, after all, that the CEO holds sway)

But what if you’re in the trenches, and not at the top of the pyramid? How much influence can you have then?

A lot, Grenny insists. The first thing to do is to frame what needs to change — customer service, safety, etc. Then you have to work with opinion leaders in the organization and figure out what is going to influence the hearts and minds of the people whose behavior you’re trying to change. Influence doesn’t come through Power Point. And it rarely comes through inspiring fear.



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