Putting Peer Pressure to Work at Work

This is the 7th installment on our influence through a story series. See the end of the post for links to the prior installments.


When Pat woke up Saturday morning she realized she caught some kind of bug and was under the weather. She didn’t start feeling normal until Sunday evening. As a consequence, when she went into the office on Monday she didn’t have the same bounce in her step that she had in the prior weeks. Fortunately she learned through athletics how to set aside how she was feeling in order to focus on the task at hand. Back in the day it was getting through practice or up for a game. Now it was doing whatever she had to in order to engage and lead her team.

She made her way to her desk and thought about Coach’s lesson social proof to leverage. She pondered how she could use it with her team to instill confidence in whatever she might ask of them. 

It was customary for Pat to read various trade periodicals. On this particular day she noticed an alarming trend when it came to organizational learning. Many large companies were moving away from learning and development (L&D) departments within their organizations because they were outsourcing this function to various online learning platforms. 

She knew that trend was not what she wanted to highlight with her team because it might instill fear. She recalled Coach emphasizing that you want to highlight the behavior you want people to follow. Knowing this, she looked for ways to highlight trends from organizations that were most similar to her company.

She continued to look over the magazines for something that she could lay hold of that would encourage her team. Almost immediately she came across an article that highlighted learning trends with midsize companies, those with 250 to 750 people. Unlike some of the very large corporations, these midsize companies were on an opposite trajectory, emphasizing the need for in-house L&D. They saw the more personalized training as an investment in employees, one that offered a critical advantage in attracting and retaining talent.

During a team meeting Tuesday afternoon she shared the following, “As you know, I spend a good bit of time looking at what other companies are doing in the learning space. Recently I saw a disturbing trend. Lots of multibillion dollar organizations around the country are downsizing their L&D departments.” 

She paused for a moment to let that sink in. As she looked at her team she could see the concern in their eyes. It was as if they were wondering, “Why is she telling us this and where is this meeting going?” She went on, “However, the good news for us is the trend with mid-sized companies, those with fewer than 750 people. Within those organizations investment in L&D is actually on the rise because it’s viewed as an advantage when it comes to attracting and retaining the best talent. The article stated many people want to work for companies where there is less of a ‘big corporation’ feel and where they have more access to people at all levels of the company. That’s us!” With that statement she could see people relax and begin to smile. 

“Rest assured, I’ll be sharing this article with everyone on the senior leadership team!” she emphasized. From there she went on to highlight what some of those mid-sized companies were doing. She pointed out how the small team was doing some of the same things, like creating learning tracks specific to the company. That made everyone feel confident that they were on the right track. That confidence also extended to Pat as a leader for having made the right choices about where to focus their efforts. 

Next she pointed out what those top companies were doing that she and the team were not doing now. She told the team she thought they had the ability to accomplish many of the other best practices, given time and possibly adding a few more people to the team. 

She concluded the meeting asking for volunteers to dig in and research ways they might start implementing the other L&D best practices. To a person everyone wanted to take some assignment.

On Friday morning, as she reflected on the last three weeks she couldn’t remember having such excitement for her job and enjoyment of her coworkers. She could hardly wait to see Coach at the coffee shop to share all that was happening. 


  1. And Now for Something Completely Different
  2. Coach’s Lesson on Liking
  3. Game Time for Pat
  4. Coach’s Lesson on Reciprocity
  5. Tis Better to Give
  6. A Lesson on Peer Pressure
  7. Putting Peer Pressure to Work at Work
  8. A Trusted Expert
  9. Becoming a Respected Leader
  10. Ask, Don’t Tell if You Want Commitment
  11. Less Directive
  12. Wins and Losses
  13. Don’t be a Downer
  14. Self-sacrifice
  15. Pay it Forward

Brian Ahearn, CPCU, CTM, CPT, CMCT

Brian Ahearn is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE. An author, TEDx speaker, international trainer, coach, and consultant, he’s one of only a dozen people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the science of ethical influence.

Brian’s first book, Influence PEOPLE, was named one of the 100 Best Influence Books of All Time by BookAuthority. His follow-up, Persuasive Selling for Relationship Driven Insurance Agents, was an Amazon new release bestseller. His new book, The Influencer: Secrets to Success and Happiness, is a business parable.

Brian’s LinkedIn courses on persuasive selling and coaching have been viewed by more than 400,000 people around the world.

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