... solve thorny business challenges in the time it takes to drink a cup of tea


How do you get the world’s most stubborn people to help your business win?

As a business leader or manager, your job is to solve difficult problems.

Deep-rooted people problems are often seen as the toughest of all. So how do you get your people to change deep-rooted behaviours?

It’s your ability to change what people do, and how they do it, that’s the difference between winning or failing in business.

Your ‘people challenges' probably fall short of getting 16,000 ex-convicts, with violent gangland drug history, to embrace a productive and law-abiding life!

Or what about the challenge of getting millions of people in 21 of the poorest countries to change what they do and wipe out a distressing exotic disease from the planet?

The world’s best influence experts use a formula – 6 sources of influence – to help them change what people do.

Follow their proven ‘influencer’ model and you become a winning influencer too…


You win and your business wins when you improve your ability to positively influence others.

Apply at least 4 of the 6 ‘sources of influence’ and you set yourself up for successful change and winning ways.

Start with 4 helping hands here or read on for the full Bitesize Business Breakthrough.  Use your devices back arrow to return to this point. 

Get people to do what needs to be done and you’ll win…

Successful change is possible when you obsess about changing what people do and how they do it.

Yes you want specific and measurable results but what you must influence is people’s behaviour.

Here's the proven solution for you...

  1. 1
    Improve your people’s motivation, changing their mindset to do what’s needed
  2. 2
    Improve your people’s ability to do what’s needed and change their behaviours

3 changes in behaviour and a disease is wiped out…

In 1986 3.5 million people in 21 countries suffered from the largest human parasite - the Guinea worm. Drinking unfiltered water in these countries meant that the Guinea worm larvae was consumed too.

The Guinea worm grows up to 1m in length inside abdominal tissue. When matured, the Guinea worm then excretes an acid-like substance to help achieve its escape from the person through a painful blister. This pain lasts for up to 4 months!

Just 25 recorded cases in 4 countries by 2016 is a major win.

Dr Donald R Hopkins, working with The Carter Centre, changed the behaviour of millions of people to eradicate the disease.

They focused on three behaviour changes to wipe out the Guinea worm:

  1. 1
    Filter drinking water - instead of drinking unfiltered water like they had always done.
  2. 2
    Stop using the local source of drinking water to cool the blisters – stop the lavae getting back into the drinking water.
  3. 3
    Speak openly about the worm and hold others accountable for behaviours 1 and 2.

What Dr Hopkins and his team did was influence the motivation (mindset) and the ability of the people in these countries to make these three new behaviours a reality.

Complexity is your friend, simplicity is not!

Most behaviour change fails because we look for a simple solution…but the world’s best influencers use layer upon layer upon layer of influences to drive real changes in behaviour.

STOP thinking one simple strategy for influence will solve your complex change issue

START using the 6 sources of influence to identify what is supporting the wrong behaviours, then get to work…

Case study: 16,000 convicts show you the way to winning influence

Dr Mimi Silbert and her Delancey Street Foundation work on changing deep-rooted and dangerous drug, gang and violent tendencies in their residents.

Typically the Delancey residents have four criminal convictions, can’t read or write and without the foundation’s help, would undoubtedly return to a life of crime.

So how has Dr Silbert and her team turned 16,000 ex-cons into stable proactive members of society?  They have used a framework for change - the 6 sources of influence: 

1. Connect with what motivates each person

To a gangland criminal ‘grassing on’ a fellow gang member is a death wish.

And yet at Delancey everyone must challenge everyone’s wrongdoings, the total opposite of the convict’s code.

Each resident is accountable for the others’ successes and failures.

They’ve turned ‘grassing’ into something the ex-cons believe in by connecting with the idea of doing worthwhile work.

Delancey influences long term change by connecting residents to a deeper motive – ‘worthwhile work’.

“This is our family and this is our home. And in our home, here’s what we believe. Here’s what we do. Here’s why. If you turn others in, it helps them. We do it because we must help each other if we want to succeed.”

Dr Mimi Silbert

Show your people that the work they do is worthwhile and you get their buy-in to the change you seek.

Check out the downloadable tools and resources to see how an upholstery company does this, and how you can too.

2. Build individual’s skill in small steps

To become an expert tennis player or violin player, high quality practice with a coach is essential. So why is high-quality practice often ignored in business?

At Delancey skill building is taken very seriously. Time is set aside, and progress is monitored and recognised.

When helping new residents learn how to set a place in their restaurant, they first practice placing the fork correctly. Only when the fork works do they move onto the knife.

A commitment to small goals and small steps is the key to building skill.

3. Harness moral support from peers and colleagues

Criminals run in packs. Packs that support and encourage illegal, immoral and antisocial behaviours.

So at Delancey they have created… “…an environment where formal and informal leaders relentlessly encourage positive behaviours and skillfully confront negative behaviours.
…residents find that change is the path of least resistance.”

You make this source of influence payoff for your business when you identify and recruit influencial individuals to support your cause.

4. Build skill together - strength in numbers

Grameen Bank is a highly successful business loan company that gives micro loans to help (100 million) budding business owners escape poverty.

Their success is partly because they apply strength in numbers. A micro loan is only granted if 4 friends co-sign for the debt. This gets friends to strengthen the business idea and support the borrower’s efforts.

At Delancey Street new residents are assigned to a dorm of 9. Each person is also assigned to a separate support group of 10. Residents also work in crews with crew bosses who are also peers.

How can you encourage positive group support within your business?

5. Use recognition, rewards and accountability to promote good behaviours

Delancey Street rewards good behaviour not just results.

Good behaviour means residents quickly move from grunt work to more interesting work. They move from 9 person dorms to a 5 person room, then to their own room and eventually to their own apartment.

Delancey have turned small rewards into an art form, one behaviour reward heaped upon another. But they only use incentives after they’ve put the other forms of influence to work.

What sort of reward system can you create to support the changes in behaviour within your business?

6. Change the structural environment to promote good behaviours

As suggested in the brilliant book Influencer: The Power to Change Anything

“…things are far easier to change than people, and… things can then have a permanent impact on how people behave.”

You can make small environment changes and have a big impact. Move people, move desks, use white boards to track performance, hide the biscuits!

Almost every heroin addict that comes to Delancey comes through the horrors of withdrawal. Because they are in a dorm with 8 who don’t use heroin, another 50 on the same floor who don’t, and another 200 in their building who don’t, the structural environment makes it easier to stop, and makes it harder to continue using.

For successful behaviour change we must apply at least 4 out of these 6 sources of influence

4 helping hands for you…

Your skill at influencing others will determine the success of your business. Focus on behaviour and several sources of influence:


Be clear on the behaviours you don’t want


Work out which of the 6 sources of influence are supporting the ‘wrong’ behaviours


Be clear on the new behaviours you do want


Work out how to make the 6 sources of influence support the new behaviours you want

Click here to read this whole Bitesize Business Breakthrough 


“It sounds good in theory but my people will fight tooth and nail every change we introduce!”

Mimi Silbert hears the ex-cons ‘whine like crazy’ too. But at Delancey Street there’s a saying:

“You can hate Chinese food, but not until after you’ve had Chinese food.”

What’s wrong with just testing something? So what if they whinge and whine, get them to test it or watch others test it.

Delancey Street focuses on getting people to trial new behaviours rather than just talk about them. If serial criminal offenders can test new behaviours then your people can test new behaviours too, can’t they?

“Why does it have to be so complex. Surely there’s a simpler way to get people to do what needs doing?”

The simple first step is diagnosing the behaviours (what people are doing) that are causing your problem.

Then you can work out the changes in behaviours you need to get the results you want.

But behind each behaviour you’ll find many and varied forces at play. Many forces supporting current behaviours and many forces preventing the new behaviours you seek.

Go for a simple fix and you do what many have tried and failed before you. Or you can do what successful influencers do and use 4, 5 or 6 of the listed positive influences to change current behaviours.

Do what they do at Delancey Street. Do what they did to eradicate Guinea worm.

Use several layers of influence one on top of the other.


“How do I know the 6 sources of influence can work for me and my business?”

When next faced with challenging behaviours or disappointing results why not test the 6 sources of influence? Make sure you bring at least 4 of the 6 sources to work on your challenge (rather than thinking 1 or 2 might work).

Your 'Make It Happen' checklist:

Build your influence skills and set your business on the road to winning ways…

You have a new project you need support for, or you might have a challenge or frustration that is preventing your business from winning in the big league. 

What steps do you take to get your people onside and fully embracing the new behaviours you want?


Work out which few behaviours are holding you back

Why would a cystic fibrosis patient fail to do something that would save her life? Because several sources of influence are steering her away from the life-saving behaviours – more in the support tools on this…


Work out which of the 6 sources of influence are supporting the behaviours you want to stop…

and reduce or eliminate their influence.


Work out which few behaviours will support the change you want to achieve

The Guinea worm will no longer exist on planet earth soon because 3 ‘good’ behaviours have taken over from 3 ‘bad’ behaviours.


Work out how you make the 6 sources of influence support the behaviours you want to see…

and work on building this influence into your business.

Want to know more?


Patterson - Grenny - Maxfield - McMillan - Switzler

Every inspiring story in this book shows you how to be successful at getting people onside with the change you seek.

It’s why Nobel peace prize winner and entrepreneur Muhammad Yunus said:

“This book provides a practical approach to lead change and empower us all to make a difference or a change in society”

Want more? Get yourself a copy of this powerful and very practical book, check out the VitalSmarts website or get more insights, tools and resources by checking out the downloadable tools below


Go to the link below and you'll find a selection of practical support tools to help you get a deeper understanding and develop greater skills for winning influence.

Find the support tools to help you


This report is shared by

Elinor Perry
Elinor Perry, Managing Director


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