What is an OUTSTANDING Influence?

During this past week, I got a chance to reflect on more of what I would like my plan to look like for the HOBY organization. In this blog post, I got the chance to take my research one step further in looking at the six sources of influence and how they impact our organization, identifying the vital behaviors to bring about this change, and assess the organization’s main influencers of change. This will be accomplished by using various metrics to measure our results and the key influencers that play a role in our change structure.

In this plan, I want to take you through a microscopic look at the role of technology in our organization and the role that vital behaviors play in the change process. During this, these vital behaviors will be observed using the six sources of influence that will allow a comprehensive strategic plan to be developed at the end. There are four key strategies that HOBY will use to identify these behaviors, and they are: noticing the obvious, looking for crucial moments, learning from the positive deviants, and spotting culture busters in the organization. So, here is my outstanding influencer strategy.

For over 50 years, the HOBY organization has been committed to transforming the minds, hearts, and souls of youths around the world to make them the leaders of tomorrow. We have chapters across all 50 states and in several countries around the world. We have over 400,000 alumni and many dedicated volunteers that are highly motivated in their service and in the lives that they have touched. The backbone behind our organization is the ability to teach young adults how to think for themselves. Dr. Albert Schweitzer told this to Mr. Hugh O’Brian, and it has been a part of our motto from the very beginning.

Over the years we have implemented new technologies to make our seminar operations more efficient for all people involved. What began as the Web2Project later became the ActiveCollab program that everyone knows about today. In this influencer strategy, I want to take our goals one step further. I envision HOBY volunteers running their seminar operations using technology in a more efficient way. Based on this, by 2018, my hope is to improve seminar operations in all 50 states based on the idea that technology can make things run better. Our volunteers are passionate about their service and with this in mind, the next question is… How do we measure this? I now want to demonstrate how we can do this with our heritage in mind.


How can we measure this?

  • Set annual goals for technology by discussing them during the preliminary process and checking off the list as we hit the goals. I have had conversations with upper-level HOBY volunteers about how they are using technology and how we can make it better. This would allow seminar sites with similar levels of attendance to possibly coordinate their technology efforts.
  • Observe staff training at the training institute and take surveys to see how people are learning and use data to map this out
  • Receive information from other seminar sites about how their technologies are used and use this data to see where we are in relation to other seminar sites
  • Obtain feedback from our volunteers about the training methods we are using for our technology systems and what we could do to make them better
    • From these experiences I hope to obtain resources about who our influencers are, what our positive deviants are, and how well our program is going

When I consider these, I realize that there are important tasks at HOBY that need to be accomplished. All of our volunteers will play a crucial role in helping shape the future that our training programs will go in. We have to look at all things involved, however hard that may be. It is important that we win over hearts and minds to better equip our volunteers to run their seminar operations better. All in all, though, I can think of a few people that will play a large role in determining what direction we will have to go in. Our main influencers are our national board of directors, the president, the Directors of National Programs, the ActiveCollab coordinators, Leadership Seminar Chairs, and our other seminar staff (head facilitators, etc.) that allow our volunteers to work their magic. When we all work together, HOBY can accomplish great things.

But, now, the next questions becomes “What are the behaviors that we plan to change?” According to Influencer:  The New Science of Leading Change, a vital behavior is a “vital action that produces the greatest amount of change.” At HOBY, we have always been very open to opinions and thoughts from other people regarding how we should run our seminar operations. In many cases, though, we have left people behind in the process since we did not have an effective plan to engage our audience, in this case our volunteers, in the planning process. I now want us to take a look at some of the vital behaviors I want us to change, and things we should all look for when attempting to change these behaviors.

  • Communicate regularly – have seminar staff meetings and training at scheduled times to inform all volunteers about new information

  • Notice the obvious—there are many volunteers that feel very unoriented when they come to the seminar since they had very little information about the activities taking place
  • Crucial moments—collect information from volunteers at our meetings when we are together to show information
  • Positive deviants—other seminar sites are doing this better than Louisiana’s site
  • Culture busters—engage the mindsets of the volunteers to a path of growth
  • Acknowledge volunteers openly and with respect for their ideas–when a volunteer has an idea about how to make something better, listen to them rather than avoid them

  • Notice the obvious—our volunteers are very dedicated and we already give out annual awards to show our appreciation to them. By acknowledging their service with a reward system, we can eliminate the bitter feelings of volunteers that feel that they are clashing with other volunteers
  • Crucial moments—there are seminar-oriented volunteers who feel the need to say something, but never do; have an open-ended discussion at the beginning and end of the seminar to look at all ideas
  • Positive deviants—there are other seminar sites and people in other parts of HOBY that listen to ideas better than we do in Louisiana
  • Culture busters—use staff training and meetings as a free-flowing expression of ideas for volunteers

Acknowledging the above, it is easy to look at these vital behaviors as benchmarks to be dealt with in the organization, but I see them as a change for opportunity. In this book, the author later goes on to address how we can influence other people by our actions. Here are the six sources of influence and how they can relate to the HOBY organization.  


Six Sources of Influence

  • Personal Motivation

Establish the need for each volunteer to reflect on why they became a volunteer in the first place

Use the “why” to appeal to the hearts and minds of the volunteers involved about the direction we are moving in at our seminar site

Get our staff excited about the ideas that they bring to our organization –if they hate HOBY today, allow them to get excited about it again

  • Personal Ability
    1. Get our volunteers to learn new skills and things about HOBY that they did not know before
    2. Invest in staff development to make sure our volunteers know that they are appreciated
    3. Help our staff understand that their ideas mean a lot to our organization and that everyone is willing to listen to their ideas
  1. Social Motivation
    1. Have better communication by using other seminar sites as an example
    2. Have accountability in place to address bad habits that lead to bad results
    3. Look to opinion leaders at HOBY to give direction
  2. Social Ability
    1. Establish accountability measures to make sure that people change their behaviors
    2. Look to other seminar sites for examples as to where we should go
    3. Give more training to volunteers to act better during those “crucial moments”
    4. Give assistance to our volunteers when they need help or need a hug
  3. Structural Motivation
    1. Reward success at HOBY with awards at each seminar site
    2. Have consequences for bad habits that allow volunteers to perform at a subpar quality
    3. Use incentives sparingly to encourage the learning of new technologies and systems
  4. Structural Ability
    1. Encourage volunteers to visit other seminar sites to envision improvements that could be made
    2. Encourage good habits by using accountability as a benchmark
    3. Use a new seminar year as the ideal time to make any changes in the HOBY program




When I look at the HOBY organization, I can only look with wonder as how this project is beginning to take shape. When I think of the six sources of influence and the influencer strategy, I believe that these systems both play a role in how we would like our plan to take shape. It’s important that the future of HOBY be bright, with our staff and volunteers fully engaged in their service to our organization. When we change someone’s mind, we have to first look to their heart to begin the change process. This assignment further reiterates how important it is for all of us to influence each other when we make something happen. If we learn bad habits, we got it from someone else.

If we got onboard with a plan to change, we did it because other people were doing it. We changed because our heart was changed first, then our mind came along later.  As given in the book Start With Why by Simon Sinek, he talks about how fear can become a major obstacle during the change process. When we use fear in the change process, the facts are “incidental.”  Our emotions cannot be won over simply by facts and figures. A classic example of this is terrorism. What matters very little to us is the facts and figures of being hit by a terrorist attack, but rather the fear that it might happen to us. This is why fear can be such an obstacle to change.
The more I think about it, though, fear should never be a part of the change process. A big way to do is to appeal to the “why “ in a person’s heart, then one can win someone over. In the book The Four Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, and Jim Huling, behavioral-change strategies typically do not happen very easily, and it often takes a lot of people to all get together and do something different. In other words, change itself is a hard matter to come by. Many people hear about it, but few people can actually do it. In the instance of HOBY, I will always have to keep this in mind when I discuss my plan with the key HOBY influencers.

If you recall, my innovation plan went a little something like this, “gather, move, and get comfortable.” But, the more I think about it, it will probably be extremely hard for all of us to get comfortable with the new idea when change is so hard in the first place. I plan to use the six sources of influence to change the vital behaviors that matter so much to the people involved. The first thing that I plan to do is appeal to others by using the “why” to communicate the effectiveness of my innovation plan. When people work together, great things can happen. As Walt Disney said before,

“If you can dream it, you can do it!”

So, with this mindset, I want to march forward to accomplish my vision for the HOBY organization. If I am able to leave a lasting legacy resembling the influence of Walt Disney in the HOBY organization, that can be my impact. My influencer strategy can greatly enhance my ability to lead people to the land of milk and honey, and indeed, this can truly be an OUTSTANDING influence!


Grenny, J. (2013). Influencer: The new science of leading change. New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

McChesney, C., Covey, S., & Huling, J. (n.d.). The 4 disciplines of execution: Achieving your wildly important goals.

Sinek, S. (2009). Start with why: How great leaders inspire everyone to take action. New York: Portfolio.

Walt Disney quote. (n.d.). Retrieved August 01, 2016, from http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/w/waltdisney130027.html



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