Influencer’s Three Keys to Successful Behavior Change

In any organization, deviating from the norm creates havoc. People are either going to love it or hate it. You get a little bit of both. So, what do you do with those who hate it?

It is not enough to state your why for the cause of change; you also have to change people’s behavior towards this new project. According to Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change, influencers count on three keys to successfully create rapid, profound, and sustainable behavior change (Grenny et al., 2013). I have applied these three keys to success towards my initiative of implementing project-based e-learning in K-12 classrooms (more specifically, the K-5 classrooms within the elementary school I work at).

1. Focus and measure.
According to Grenny et al. (2013) “Influencers are crystal clear about the result they are trying to achieve and are zealous about measuring it” (p. 13).

This is the result I want to achieve:

Seventy-one percent of all grade levels within an elementary school will implement a project-based e-learning plan in their classroom by the beginning of the 2018-2019 academic school year.

And these are the measures that I will use to track the progress of my initiative:

-Lesson plans (horizontal teams)
-Weekly meetings (horizontal and vertical teams)
-Surveys and reflections in Google Apps (everyone)
-Monthly meetings (everyone)

But most importantly, I cannot forget those who are involved in my efforts to kick off my initiative:

-Assistant Principal
-Instructional Facilitator
-Horizontal (grade level) team leaders and members
-Title I Interventionists

2. Find vital behaviors.
Grenny et al. (2013) states that “[i]nfluencers focus on high-leverage behaviors that drive results. More specifically, they focus on the two or three vital actions that produce the greatest amount of change” (p. 13). In order to find these vital actions, I have applied the four strategies to search for the vital behaviors within my initiative:

• Notice the obvious.
“Recognize behaviors that are obvious (or at least obvious to experts) but underused” (Grenny et al., 2013, p. 47).

I believe one of the most obvious and underused behaviors when starting a new initiative such as project-based e-learning (PBeL) is as simply as getting started. With any project or initiative, how do we get started? By creating individual and group goals.

• Look for crucial moments.
“Find times when behavior puts success at risk” (p. 47).

Creating goals might not be enough to get a project started. Meeting specific deadlines are crucial for the starting point and continued progress of the implementation of a project.

• Learn from positive deviants.
“Distinguish behaviors that set apart positive deviants—those who live in the same world but somehow produce much better results” (p. 47).

If you’re like me, you’ll just do it. You’ll just do whatever it is you need to do to get it out of the way. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for everyone else, especially when the tasks are challenging and time-consuming. Short-term deadlines for smaller tasks will decrease the opportunity for procrastination.

• Spot culture busters.
“Find behaviors that reverse stubborn cultural norms and taboos” (p. 47).

What if someone doesn’t meet the deadline? What then? It is crucial for individuals and groups to be accountable for their share of the work load. Consequences must be put into place and communicated clearly and concisely.

Vital Behaviors

Prior to the start of each semester…

#1: Horizontal teams will collaborate to create authentic goals for their PBeL classrooms.

#2: Horizontal teams will collaborate to select a common theme for their PBeL classrooms.

#3: Horizontal teams will make connections to build a partnership with a community affiliate.

3. Engage all six sources of influence.



Personal Address the following questions:
Why did you start teaching? Why do you still teach?
What is your teaching philosophy?
What is your learning philosophy?
Connect personal to PBeL philosophy and goals.
Attend professional development in the following areas:
-project-based learning
-educational technology
-digital information network and resources
Social Horizontal, vertical, and administrative leaders will:
-share successful PBeL stories, articles, demos, research, and data
-model accurate implementation of PBeL in his/her own classroom prior to campus-wide participation
-share and discuss vision and goals of how PBeL could make a difference in students’ lives, school, and community
Participate and collaborate in:
-Reflections and feedback surveys
-Personal Learning Network (PLN)
-Daily, weekly, and bi-weekly meetings with horizontal, vertical, and campus-wide teams
-Partnerships with community affiliates
Structural  Pilot and provide feedback on the following:
-digital information networks and resources (digital resources)
-educational technology resources and applications (digital tools)
-technology (hardware)
Choose from a variety of options and opportunities to be used in the classroom:
-Memberships for digital resources
-Memberships for digital tools
-Partnerships with community affiliates


Grenny, J., Patterson, K., Maxfield, D., McMillan, R., & Switzler, A. (2013). Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Education.


2 thoughts on “Influencer’s Three Keys to Successful Behavior Change

  1. Pingback: Installing 4DX with My Team – Lifelong Learning in a Changing World

  2. Pingback: Leading Organization Change – Lifelong Learning in a Changing World

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