Best-selling author Dan Pink says persuasion needs a reboot in the Age of Information; here are his six recommendations for how school leaders can influence others to act


Effective persuasion isn’t about changing people’s minds, Pink said; it’s about making it easy for them to act.

Best-selling author Dan Pink kicked off ASCD’s annual conference in Los Angeles March 15 by noting how important persuasion is to school leaders’ jobs—and yet the dynamics of persuasion have changed radically in the Information Age.

Pink said he was involved in a recent study that surveyed 7,000 full-time adult workers in the United States. When they were asked, “What percentage of your work involves convincing or persuading people to give up something they value for something you offer,” the responses averaged 41 percent.

That means people spend an average of 24 minutes of every hour trying to persuade or move others as part of their job, Pink said—and that’s certainly true of school leaders as well.

But with information so easily available to anyone with internet access, the keys to successful persuasion have changed. It used to be that the person doing the “selling” had all the power in a relationship, Pink said; now, that’s no longer true.

“Information parity has shifted the balance of power” to create a more level playing field, he said—and this change has important implications for school leaders.

(Next page: Six ways to move people in the digital age)