Applied influencer (AI) is a process for creating rapid, profound and sustainable behavior change. It is of special interest to the quality profession as the most persistent barrier to creating a culture of quality is creating new norms, practices, and behaviors. The AI process helps leaders overcome the knowing-doing gap in their organization: the gap between creating widespread knowledge of best practices and influencing people to do them. This AI process has been used to create dramatic and lasting improvements in workplace safety, patient safety, customer experience, and operational excellence.


The knowing-doing gap describes that gulf between knowing what should be done, and getting ourselves and others to do it. It draws a clear distinction between discovering a good idea, strategy, or best practice and influencing people to change their status quo behaviors. Is this gap a problem? Consider the following fun facts:

  • More than 9 out of 10 corporate projects go over budget, over schedule or fall short of expectations." This is data from The Standish Group, a firm that studies success rates within IT. Have you ever been at the receiving end of an IT project that went over budget, missed its schedule, or failed to live up to its promises?

  • "Dieters spend $40 billion a year and 19 out of 20 lose nothing but their money." This data comes from the National Eating Disorders Association. Stanford University's medical school studied the three most popular diets sold in the U.S., and found that they all work. But only if you stick to them. And nobody does.

  • "Two years after receiving coronary bypass surgery to save their lives, 90% of patients are back to old behaviors." This data comes from Edward Miller MD, the CEO of Johns Hopkins University. People aren't able to adopt recommended diet, exercise, and other lifestyle changes, even when their lives are at stake.

The AI process described in this paper is a proven method for overcoming this knowing-doing gap. It is designed to change a stubborn status quo, and to create new, highly reliable.

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