Assessing change models using 6 sources of influence

Jason Yip
2 min readMay 3, 2023

I’ve previously written about the 6 sources of influence:

Table with 2 columns: Motivation, Ability and 3 rows: Personal, Social, Structural.
Personal, Social, and Structural; Motivation and Ability

Let’s use this to assess some well-known change models.

Kotter 8 step change model

From The 8-Step Process for Leading Change | Dr. John Kotter (kotterinc.com) but also Leading Change, The Heart of Change, and The Heart of Change Field Guide and a whole bunch of other books:

  1. Create a sense of urgency. This is about motivation at all levels.
  2. Build a guiding coalition. This is about social motivation and ability.
  3. Form a strategic vision. This is about structural ability by creating clarity.
  4. Enlist a volunteer army. This is about structural ability by creating clarity to enlist volunteers AND about social motivation and ability when the volunteer army exists.
  5. Enable action by removing barriers. This is about ability at all levels.
  6. Generate short-term wins. This helps with personal motivation.
  7. Sustain acceleration. Momentum is a kind of structural motivation.
  8. Institute change. Incorporating the change into policies and incentives is about structural motivation.

Switch model

From Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard:

Direct the Rider

  • Follow the bright spots. This is about exploiting social ability. Learning from someone else’s success rather than try to derive it on your own from scratch.
  • Script the critical moves. This is about limiting what is required from personal ability.
  • Point to the destination. This is about creating clarity which I’d call structural ability.

Motivate the Elephant

  • Find the feeling. This is about personal motivation through emotional connection.
  • Shrink the change. This is about personal motivation. Small changes trigger less fear.
  • Grow your people. This is about personal motivation through a sense of identity.

Shape the Path

  • Tweak the environment. This is about surrounding structure, both motivation and ability.
  • Build habits. This is about personal motivation in that habits don’t require a lot of motivation once established.
  • Rally the herd. This is about social motivation.

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Jason Yip

Senior Manager Product Engineering at Grainger. Extreme Programming, Agile, Lean guy. Ex-Spotify, ex-ThoughtWorks, ex-CruiseControl