jen spencer coaches

Six Sources of Influence

I just finished Change Anything, by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield and Ron McMillan. This book chronicles a series of scientific studies around change and lays out the 6 sources of influence that it takes to make real change in your life.

I’ve outlined a few of the critical elements they discovered through months of research and interviews. In sum? To change one big thing, you have to change in six different ways to make that shift happen.

This is the Jen Spencer version of Cliff Notes to get you started:

Step 1. Find your Personal Motivation.

No one else can create motivation for you. Others may be able to inspire this change, but no one can name why it matters to YOU, which is why understanding why you want to create this change is imperative.

Why does it matter? What’s the value for you? And how NOT CHANGING impact your life, work, and relationships 5 years, 10 years or even 20 years from now?

Step 2. Figure out your Personal Ability by identifying what tools you have (and the ones you need).

Take inventory of where your skills are for this personal change. If you are wanting a new role at the office, are there certain skills that you might need to develop to be considered? Identify where your expertise is and where you’d like to develop it. Big change often requires learning new skills (or ending old habits). What little changes are you willing to make to increase your ability to achieve this change?

Step 3 and 4. Friend or Foe? Asses your Social Motivation + Social Ability to make change.

What people in your life are making this change harder for you (an accomplice), and which are the ones that make change easy (friends)? I once asked a successful friend (great kids, great job, great health) how she did it. She said, “Easy. I removed all toxic people from my life.” When you are looking to make big shifts, accomplices can become cancerous and barriers to success – the foe!

Are you clear about who are your friends and who are your foes? Who abets, approves and supports that behavior that you want to change? Who champions the transformation you are hoping to create? Can you turn those accomplices in to supporters? Having a “transformational conversation,” asking people in your life to help support you in change, creates the social ability (and support system) for you to meet your goals.

Step 5. Create Structural Motivation within your own life.

How do you incentivize yourself? Did you know that “we are far more motivated to avoid loss than we are motivated to receive an equivalent gain?” Use that to your advantage! Create some ‘carrots’ and the fear of losing them as a way to set up a rewards systems for achieving your goal. Five dollars going to the political organization you can’t stand may be more incentive than five dollars toward something you want.

Beyond rewards, you can use structural motivation to help break down the big goals into smaller, achievable ones. Ten weeks worth of small goals can feel much less overwhelming than one, big goal.

Step 6: Identify the Structural Ability that influences your chances to make real change.

Take an inventory of your environment both at work and at home. What are the physical cues that are encouraging you to avoid or embrace change? If you want to cut down on spending, that stack of catalogues by your bed isn’t helping. On the flip side, having a picture of that dress you want to fit in to on your fridge can discourage mindless snacking.

The repetition of seeing visual cues can help keep you connected to your motivation. When you realize that you are doing the good stuff, figure out ways to make these habitual or automated in your life. This is anything from having an app that tracks progress or a weekly call with coach/therapist/trainer who will hold your feet to the fire.
Change Anything, a new book by the dynamos that created Crucial Conversations, gives a step by step process on how to achieve change with old-standing habits. Pulling from familiar principles, their unique research and approach, works with all kinds of change including work/career, relationships, food and weight, addiction, money, you name it!

The full recap will be available via newsletter or on this blog mid-January.

Happy New Year!

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