Cialdini book coverI was running an influencing skills workshop earlier this week and part of the course involved a presentation by me on Prof Robert Cialdini’s six principles of influence.  (NB: If you haven’t read professor Cialdini’s book on Influence, you really should!)

One of the principles is called consensus and it embodies the idea that we are more likely to take an action if we hear, see or read about other people like us doing the recommended action.    During the Q& A one of my delegates asked a great question – could one use this principle to change the culture of an organisation?  In other words, could you use the consensus principle to change the current predominating group consensus?                                

Not immediately knowing an answer, I opened the question up to the group for discussion, and together we decided that yes it probably could.    The trick would be to identify “rebels” “mavericks” and “early adopters” who were already demonstrating some of the principles of the new, desired cultural approach.  Having identified these internal “champions for change” one would need to consistently raise the profile of their activities, especially to people of a similar role or grade.

Over time the idea would be, that by giving repeated attention to the “role models” , the others, who were stuck in the “old approach” would be influenced to change simply because others like them were doing it.   

Do you have any examples of this principle in practice in your businesses?

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