Leadership is intentional influence. It isn’t the vacuous or mystical thing that so many writers claim. It is a systematic process of influencing human beings to achieve important results. It’s about mobilizing behavior in the service of valued goals. At the end of the day, if behavior isn’t changing, you aren’t leading.
Sixteen years ago my colleagues and I published a book called Influencer. It represented our best answer to the two most important questions we’ve ever asked.
- Why do people do what they do?
- How can you help them change?
The most important problems you and I face—as leaders, as family members, as citizens and as human beings—are influence problems. They are problems that will never be solved until some human or humans behave differently. The problem we hoped to solve in publishing Influencer was to better equip everyone to do what only a few special people seemed to be able to do: influence rapid, profound, and sustainable behavior change to achieve important results.
The book was the result of three efforts:
- Decades of research into the best of social science theory.
- Millions of miles of travel to study the work of those who have accomplished large-scale behavioral changes that few of us think are possible.
- Three decades of projects applying these insights in corporate settings.
We couldn’t be more gratified at the results. Since publishing Influencer, we’ve seen evidence that many of the hundreds of thousands of readers have achieved exactly what we hoped. For example:
- A PricewaterhouseCoopers executive increased retention and promotion of underrepresented groups in senior positions.
- The CEO of telecom giant MTN Group increased innovation in a workforce spanning Africa and the Middle East.
- Leaders at Fundación Paraguaya helped thousands in need increase their household income.
- VPs of HR and Learning at HCA Healthcare improved nursing retention during periods of high turnover.
- Newmont Mining site managers saved lives by increasing safety compliance.
- The Pakistani superintendent of police stemmed corruption and reduced traffic fatalities by 60%.
- Leaders at KIPP schools increased principal retention from 2.3 years to 4.7 years.
You might be tempted to ask, “After sixteen years and thousands of experiences like these, have you learned more about the crucial topic of influence?” I’m glad you asked!
We have. I’m pleased to announce that we have dramatically updated this seminal book under a new title: Crucial Influence: Leadership Skills to Create Lasting Behavior Change.
Sixteen years of additional living and learning have helped us make Crucial Influence a superior successor to the original book. Here’s what you’ll notice about the new edition:
- Streamlined. Years ago Kerry Patterson told me that a three-hour speech is what you give when you lack the skill to give a one-hour speech. There’s truth in that. Sixteen years of teaching and applying the model have helped us learn to communicate the most potent ideas far more effectively and efficiently.
- More immediately practical. We were so overcome at insights we gained from those who have influenced remarkable behavior change across massive populations that we focused much of the previous editions on these-large scale efforts. In this edition we add tactics that will help leaders address day-to-day challenges. Our goal was for every page to offer new ideas for solving immediate influence problems.
- For leaders at all levels. Crucial Influence will better serve the needs of leaders at all levels. Frontline leaders who are struggling to get people to retain and engage employees will find as much value as executives who need to pivot an entire organization.
- New stories. Finally, we’ve carefully selected stories from the shoeboxes we had filled with fun, riveting, and inspiring examples of influence in action.
Our deepest hope is to help make the world a better place by enabling people everywhere to think more effectively about the central work of leadership. We dare to hope that millions be more capable of making the world a better place as they increase their capacity to create rapid, profound, and sustainable behavior change.
We are grateful to the thousands who have allowed us to learn with them. And we are hopeful we have done justice to their remarkable contributions in this new edition.
You can pick up a copy at Amazon or wherever you buy books.