Hopkins, Walt , Influencing for Results in Organisations

Reviewed by George F. Simons at diversophy.com   Amazon review

Walter Painter (yes, that is part of his name) Hopkins has magnificently detailed in both broad and detailed brush strokes, and in full living color the learnings found in three decades of experience spent training people to resonate with themselves as well as to communicate effectively, compassionately and constructively with others. It is a book that helps you create possibilities from simple questions about who you are, what you want, and how you go about getting it, in engagement with others who are or should be asking themselves the same questions. The person who masters the methods shared here will move from occasional successes that may feel accidental to confidently succeeding in influencing others on a regular basis.

Hopkins's work is both encyclopedic and personal. He covers the influence process from self- and situation analysis through planning, engagement and review; at the same time he takes you, the reader, by the hand, and you can feel his presence at every step along the way ready to listen to you and coach you as the need may be. More than anyone I know or have read, Walt Hopkins is a master of networking, and the richness of his connections shows up page after page in this book. His secret to keeping his network alive seems to be gratitude. So, we readers and users of the know-how in this book need to say thanks not only to the author but express gratitude to all the people whose contributory insights he has carefully listened to over the years and made a part of this detailed and rich excursion into how we move, motivate and inspire each other.
My focus as a reviewer of books is generally on the intercultural aspects of the topic in question, so I tend to cast a critical eye on places where rodent ethnocentricity may gnaw at the edges of our work and cause it to fray. Hopkins has repeatedly and successfully used his methodology, as well as continually developed it, in countries around the world. Thus, "the proof of the pudding is in the eating." Though the book is Anglophone in expression, its methodology reaches sensitively into many cultural areas, not just ethnic and national ones. Because it is rooted in forms of energy that all human beings are familiar with, it provides a solid tool kit for communication in multicultural and global organizations and environments. That being said, the ability to choose and master these tools will certainly overflow into one's more personal and culturally specific local life where further sensible adaptations will need to be made. Getting results is a matter of both recognizing cultural preferences for the use of influence behaviors in different contexts, as well as moving forward in our exchanges with each other so that we can create the kinds of third cultures that we need, as we team with each other and attempt to collaborate and cohabit our human spaces.

The methodology of Influencing for Results in Organisations does not spring comely and buxom from the author's head. Hopkins knows and admits that he stands on the shoulders of others who have worked hard to establish the science of influence and develop models of how human energies can be harnessed and refined to develop effective communication behaviors. Two of these pioneers, Roger Harrison and David Berlew, have enthusiastically endorsed this volume in the foreword and introduction. Hopkins, in this context, operates as an innovative and meticulous teacher and coach who pays careful attention to the detailed circumstances and consequences of the diverse shades of influence behavior. His work is step-by-step, rich in anecdotes and stories that the reader can easily connect to his or her experience. He adds life, color, nuance and sensitivity to what has hitherto been developed in this field.

Again and again, words related to "color," either directly or metaphorically have tinted my language in this review. This is not my attempt at purple patch, but an acknowledgment of the author's pedagogical expertise in enriching the senses with color as an important part of the learning process. The book is literally filled with color, used in meaningful ways to anchor and propel the learner forward. One should applaud the publisher for the brave use of high-quality hues and illustrations, extremely good value for money, given that one often gets much less for three times the price in today's book market.

This is a book for both learners and teachers, in fact anyone who wishes to have a sense of how to improve her or his comprehension of and impact on others. Of course, we live in a world where influence is used frighteningly well to manipulate, debase, and destroy, a world where we are no longer described as "citizens" but "consumers," asked to subsist on the sizzle and wait in vain to be served the steak. The skills learned in Influencing for Results in Organizations can of course be abused, but only if one does not see the deeper ethic and principles of human solidarity that drive the work or dismisses the solid values of the many directly and indirectly quoted authors, not the least of whom is the somewhat self-effacing Tlaw Snikpoh.

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