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Influencer: The Power To Change Anything

Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, Al Switzier

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Predict divorce from simple couple interraction. If argument involves a significant amount of blaming, escalation, invalidation or withdrawal, the future is bleak. If on the other hand, the couple opens tough conversations with statements that communicate respect and a shared purpose, and halts emotional escalation in a respectful way, there is hope for a different future.

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To change people, you have to focus on behaviour, not homilies. When AIDS first hit the Thai sex industry, authorities first tried an educational program, which was a complete flop. Then switched to changing behaviour - getting sex workers to insist clients wore a condom - which did work. But they had to add an extra step - got older women to teach the younger girls a script to persuade older, richer clients to use condom.

Can't change a whole lot of behaviours/attitudes at once; have to focus on just one or two. Program to rehab gang members released from prison. First require each person to be responsible for someone else's success. So you get taught to set a table in a restaurant, then next week you teach that to someone new. Second, everyone confronts anyone else about any violation.

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Found difference between good teachers and bad ones. Top teachers reward positive behaviour far more than bad teachers. Poor teachers quickly get discouraged and say "Didn't I just teach that two minutes ago?" The best consistently reinforce even moderately good performance. And, top performers rapidly alternate between teaching and questioning/testing. Then, when required, they make immediate corrections. (Just like a video game!). Poor teachers drone on for a long time letting students struggle repeating the same errors. Frequent testing is vital, bc both gives immediate feedback (so can change strategy or repeat part of lesson) and also makes tests familiar and less scary.

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Guinea worm - a destructive central African parasite. When drink unfiltered water ingest larvae which grow into enormous worms, which secrete acid to carve a path out of the body. As it gets close to the skin, the acid causes agonizing blisters. Sufferers plunge themselves into water to get some cooling relief. This then spurs worm to release hundreds of eggs to continue the cycle. Researchers found one village where noone got it. Found that the women filtered their drinking water by poring it through their skirts, filtering out the larvae. The. if anyone did catch it, neighbours told whole village, and everyone co-op to help sufferer without allowing to go to water source.

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Phobias provide perfect setting for changing people's thinking. First, the phobia is not accurate, and person knows they would benefit from getting rid of it. Second, phobias resist obvious ways people try to defeat them. Lectures don't work, and can't get them to learn by personal experience bc won't confront head-on.

Researchers found people who phobia about snakes - would not even enter a room with a snake in a covered terranium. Vicarious experince - watch as someone else handles the snake. Then step by step - give them lots of protective armour and get them to take one step inside room. Gradually removed armour and took more steps, then touched snake with gloves on .... eventually sat in room with six foot boa constictor draped across lap.

And the entire process took just 3 hours!

More books on Mind

Not only did they feel liberated by losing that fear, it gave them confidence to believe they could make other personal changes.

We're bad at predicting what will make us happy. We think getting an extra $30K a year will make us happier than going for a daily 30 minute walk, but in fact it's other way round.

Delancey rehab program forces ex-cons to try new things - studying a bit, going to art museum or a play.

TV soap opera Mexico City convinced millions to try literacy program. The show showed benefits (opening up new entertainment, being able to read to kids and grandchildren), but importantly, they also modelled that it was not easy, and that required persistence.

Confontations/interventions don't work. In one study, it actually increased boozing. People resist being tolkd what to do. Instead, need to help patients figure out what they wanted to do. When you listen and they talk, they discover on their own what they must do.

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A change of heart cannot be imposed, it can only be chosen.

You can teach delayed gratification - just show the kids a role model doing something to distract themselves from temptation. They learned skills. Specific techniques that kept their attention from what wd be short-term gratification.

Success at sport shows that people who get to the top do so through deliberate practice.

Restaurant kitchen/floor tension with waitresses yelling orders at chefs. Changed environment: changed to system where clipped written orders to wheel.

Power of vicarious modelling: South African TV soap called Soul City had a respected teacher who beat his wife. One one episode, his neighbours heard him beating his wife and decided they couldn't put up with it any longer. They stood outside his door and bnaged pots and pans. Guy is embarrassed and ashamed and changes his behaviour. Then, the unexpected: people across S Africa adopted the same tactic of standing outside neighbour's house banging pots and pans. Established a new norm - domestic violence no longer tolerated.

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Training, not sermons: 3000 people drown each year in US, half of them in public pools with a lifeguard. When YMCA checked what their lifeguards actually did, turned out they spent most of time picking up equipment and chatting. So instituted "10/10 scanning". Stand in a particularspot and scan their section ofthe pool every 10 seconds, and then offer assistance to anyone who seems to be in trouble for more than 10 seconds. Drown rates went down by 2/3.

Psychologists originally believed all our behaviour based on rewards and punishment. But in fact most powerfully shaped by observing others.

Everyone wants a simple solution to what are actually complex problems. Crime? Longer prison sentences. Obesity? Ban sugary drinks.

But it takes a combinationof strategies aimed at a handful of vital behaviours to solve persistent problems.

Confrontations/Interventions don't work. As soon as you start trying to impose your agenda, it becomes a fight for control. Need to figure out, through discussion, what the individual considers most impt to them, and what changes in their life might be required for them to live according to their own values.

People strongly resist compulsion. Will happily make sacrifices when believe it fits with their values.

Teach obsessive-compulsives to wait 15 mins before giving in to a maddening mental command. If delay your urge, brain returns to rational control system.

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