Saturday, June 21, 2008

Propinquity... among other influence factors

Propinquity -- my new word of the day -- has to do with proximity. The "propinquity effect" refers to the impact of proximity -- or physical distance -- on human relationships. This has a clear impact on team building and efforts at fostering collaboration within organizations. How do geographically dispersed, mobile and sometimes entirely virtual teams and organizations succeed when the propinquity effect would suggest that they are bound to fail?

I came across the word "propinquity" in Influencer: The Power to Change Anything, by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler. Interestingly, I picked it up thinking that it would be a typical business / management book with lots of anecdotes and stories from the U.S. Corporate sector and the reality was quite different. It is full of examples from the social sector. All of the international examples (Grameen Bank, Soul City, Guinea worm) were familiar to me. The book doesn't mention the term social marketing but many of the examples are clearly related to social marketing concepts. It does refer to social capital.

After reading both Made to Stick and Influencer, I realized that most books published these days -- or perhaps it's only those that are successful -- have a very similar structure. They're structured around six key concepts or success strategies. Case Studies (examples) are used throughout and each core case is referred to multiple times, across chapters.

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