Global Leadership Summit: Joseph Grenny

JosephGrenny_150Joseph Grenny’s talk was entitled “Change Behavior, Change the World.” Grenny started off reminding us that leadership is influence, and that we as leaders need to understand how to influence in order to be effective. He asked us to consider current trends:

  • Americans spend 3 billion hours playing online games each week
  • 1 in 34 people, or 7 million, are incarcerated in the United States
  • Obesity has gone up astronomically in the United States since the 80s
  • Smoking rates have gone down significantly over the last ten years

Each of these trends are the result of influencers significantly affecting the culture of the United States. As leaders, we need to understand how their influence has caused an entire society to change their behaviors in a significant way. This is a powerful concept, especially when you consider the state of the church in America. Grenny went on to share with us the six areas of influence, and how to embrace them in our leadership:

  • Personal Motivation: As influencers, we need to make bad stuff feel bad and good stuff feel good. more often than not, it is the other way around. influencers understand that they can change the way people feel about any choice:
    • Don’t just teach principles, connect those principals to values
    • Help people frame specific daily decisions in Godly ways
    • Learn the dreams and desires of your team and then link them to specific behavior change
  • Personal Ability: People start with ability and then move to motivation. Consider Moses who learned through his time in the dessert and time spent learning in Pharaoh’s court before leading Israel. Here is how to help build abilities in your team:
    • Help people practice behaviors in settings that approximate the real world
    • Times of practice have to come in small bites
    • Allow for times of intense focus for brief periods of time
    • Influencers will help people build the necessary skills to achieve aspirations
  • Social Motivation and Social Ability: This is the influence that other people have over us through modeling, praise, helping, and enabling us. In the church context, we need to be intentionally replacing accomplices with friends and coaches that are headed the same direction as we are.
  • Structural Motivation: These are the incentives that we give people for embracing desired behaviors.
  • Structural Ability: What have we built into our organization that supports the behavior changes you are attempting to create. We do this by using space, data cures, tools, processes, and environmental factors to make bad behavior harder and more conscious, while making positive choices easier and obvious.

Three things from this session that really resonated with me:

  • Unless our vision and mission translate to changed behavior, we have failed. This reminds me of something I shared last week.
  • Leaders who give a motivational talk or sermon in an attempt to change behavior, don’t understand influence(ouch!).
  • These factors work for you or against you… if you are not intentional about using any of them, they are working against you.



About the Author: Matt Steen

I love Jesus, Theresa (my wife), the Redskins & Capitals, and am currently living in Waco, Texas where I am studying the finer points of BBQ (while working on my MDiv and MBA at Baylor University). When not studying, I serve church leaders through and am the Director of Connections for Harris Creek Baptist Church's Downtown Campus.