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January 2018 SEA-Q


All of the following are principles of leading through influence EXCEPT:

  • Focus and Measure through the use of SMART goals.
  • Focus change efforts on vital behaviors.
  • Develop rules and policies.
  • Align motivation and capability.


Develop rules and policies.


Leading through influence is a new paradigm of leadership that aligns particularly well with educators, but is applicable across all disciplines and jobs.  The command and control approach (illustrated through the development of rules, policies and procedures) doesn’t fit well with the needs and expectations of millennial learners and employees.  Interestingly, all of us educators learned that several years ago, but the rest of the world is now catching up to that reality.  

There are 3 major principles outlined in the book Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change1:

  1. Focus and Measure
  2. Identify and focus efforts on vital behaviors
  3. Over determine your success through the use of 6 tools to develop the motivation and ability to accomplish the change

To give you the short version of the story, you should focus first on developing specific goals tied to metrics and measures. Realizing that there are things that are difficult to measure, the old saying goes like this: If something exists, it exists in some quantity, and if it exists in some quantity, it can be measured. The book gives this first part the least amount of attention, but it does outline what good and bad goals are. The best advice (not listed in this book) is to use SMART goals. A SMART goal is something that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable/Actionable, Results-oriented, and Time-limited2.    

The second part of this book goes into identifying ‘vital behaviors’ that are particularly important when changing behavior. There are several examples outlined in the book but the one that we all can relate to is that performance on standardized exams (ITE, ABA Board Exams, etc.) is critically dependent on the amount of studying that residents do. We can certainly relate to the fact that the more successful we are at driving the residents to study, the more successful we are at ensuring they pass their exams.

The final part of the book outlines the 6 areas of influence that are necessary to “over determine success” (their words). The book details the tools and strategies for influencing others by developing:

  • Personal motivation
  • Personal ability
  • Social motivation
  • Social ability
  • Structural motivation
  • Structural ability


  1. Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change by Grenny, Patterson, Maxfield, McMillan, & Switzler

Author Information:

J.P. Lawrence, MD, MEd, MBA
System Chair for Anesthesiology
Allegheny Health Network

The SEA is proud to be a member-driven organization, dedicated to the teaching and development of future anesthesiologists, and to the advancement of those who educate them.

Contact Info:

Society for Education in Anesthesia
6737 W. Washington St, Suite 4210 • Milwaukee, WI 53214 • (414) 389-8614