The six sources of influence model is a powerful model for change. I first learned about the Six Sources of Influence from my Influencer Training at Microsoft. The Influencer Training is based on the book, Influencer: The Power to Change Anything , by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler. The more I walk through the model, the more I appreciate it.
One of the main things I like about the model is that it’s easy to remember and it’s easy to whiteboard. When I whiteboard it for people, I simply make a 2-column table. The one column is motivation and the other is ability. I then slice the table into 3 rows: personal, social, and structural. That’s it. That’s all it takes to frame out and analyze your worst problems that you want to change.
The model scales up and down from changing yourself to changing the world. I’ve included an example of using the Six Sources of Influence to lose weight at the end of this post to help show the model in action. Keep in mind I’m still learning and testing the model, and the best thing is always test things for yourself. You can just use me as a springboard
Six Sources of Influence
Here is a tickler list for thinking about the six sources of influence:
- Source 1 – Personal Motivation – whether you want to do it.
- Source 2 – Personal Ability – whether you can do it.
- Source 3 – Social Motivation – whether other people encourage the right behaviors.
- Source 4 – Social Ability – whether other people provide help, information or resources.
- Source 5 – Structural Motivation – whether the environment encourages the right behaviors.
- Source 6 – Structural Ability – whether the environment supports the right behaviors.
Here is a tickler list of the key strategies organized by each of the Six Sources of Influence:
|Source 1 – Personal Motivation||
|Source 2 – Personal Ability||
|Source 3 – Social Motivation||
|Source 4 – Social Ability||
|Source 5 – Structural Motivation||
|Source 6 – Structural Ability||
You can find out more on the strategies from my earlier notes on Influencer Training Day 2.
Analyze and Execute
Before you make an action plan, you can analyze the Six Sources of Influence. To do so, you simply walk each source and ask relevant questions. Similarly you can execute against each source. This table summarizes how to analyze and execute against the Six Sources of Influence:
|Source 1 – Personal Motivation||Do I enjoy it?||Make the undesirable desirable.|
|Source 2 – Personal Ability||Am I personally able?||Surpass your limits.|
|Source 3 – Social Motivation||Do others motivate?||Harness peer pressure.|
|Source 4 – Social Ability||Do others enable?||Find strength in numbers.|
|Source 5 – Structural Motivation||Do “things” motivate?||Design rewards and demand accountability.|
|Source 6 – Structural Ability||Do “things” enable?||Change the environment.|
Example – Losing Weight with Six Sources of Influence
Here is a quick example of analyzing losing weight using the Six Sources of Influence.
|Source 1 – Personal Motivation||Do you want to lose weight? For example, if you don’t really want to lose weight, you’re not really going to try. It can’t just be for other people. It has to be for you.|
|Source 2 – Personal Ability||Do you have the skills, knowledge and techniques that work for you? Chances are, you may know the patterns that work for you, or at least the patterns that don’t work.|
|Source 3 – Social Motivation||Do your friends want to go out drinking every night or encourage you to eat a lot at your favorite haunts?|
|Source 4 – Social Ability||Is there somebody in your social circle that might have the knowledge or resources you need to get an edge?|
|Source 5 – Structural Motivation||When you go home, are you greeted by a big bowl of candy or a big bowl of fruit? Your environment can motivate you in a good way or a bad way.|
|Source 6 – Structural Ability||Do you have a way to workout at home? This can give you a big advantage in the long run.|
I hope this example helps you see the power of the Six Sources of Influence. You can substitute whatever resistant or persistent problem you want to change. Walking the frame will help you quickly see where you can get your best leverage or where you might be stuck the most. The more you leverage multiple sources the more you set yourself up for success.