Let’s Get Atomic

Like you’re a chemist, biologist or musician, ask yourself, What are my elements, species and notes?

In the writing of the landmark book, The Elements of Influence, author and Playmaker CEO Alan Kelly asked a question inspired Dmitri Mendeleev, the creator of the first periodic table of chemical elements: What are the atoms of influence? Here’s where he looked for the answer:

Goals, strategies, tactics, outputs, outtakes, outcomes, ads, news articles, mentions, language, words, messages, posts, stories, tone, sentiment, perception, behavior, credibility, awareness, trust, authenticity, reputation, brand, relationships, stakeholders and media.

While each is familiar to influence professionals, only a few can be reduced. And only one can be reduced into a finite and manageable set:  Strategy.  Words, some argue, are the organizing units of influence. And if not words, they insist, then stories. Others believe them to be reputation or brand. But clearly there are too many words or stories around which to form a management system. And reputation and brand are better defined as outcomes than units.

If strategies can be thought of as plans, approaches or policies, and since they are the bridge between objectives and execution, then they can be identified, described and organized. Through expert interviews, literature review, field experience and testing in major companies and graduate classrooms, we now have 23 unique plays, each satisfying the definition and four criteria as shown right.

What began as a simple idea has evolved into the first complete ontology and decision system of strategy and influence. By thinking small, we’ve described something big.