change management

How to Influence Positive Change in Your Organization

I will be the first to admit that I haven't always erred on the side of influencing positive change in my past corporate life. In fact, there were many times when I flat out refused to positively influence anything, or anyone, out of a false sense of entitlement and rebellion. I'm not saying that that is right, I'm just saying that this is the way it happened. I had a little growing up to do.

However, in the process of my senseless rebellion and entitlement mindset, I accidentally stumbled across some key distinctions that helped me to purposefully influence positive change in the companies for which I worked, and in the people around me, intentionally.

In this article, I will share 5 key things you can do to have affect positive change and have influence in your organization, and with people.

First,  a working definition of influence, as it relates affecting positive change. I once heard John Maxwell, the number one leading expert in the world on leadership, say that "leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less." He went on to add that "influence is simply adding value to people."

If we take that definition of influence, in the context of affecting positive change, here are five things you can do immediately to affect positive change in your organization, and with people all around.

1. Find out what they value: Obviously, all change, both positive and negative, hinges upon people. We can change policies, procedures and processes, but it's ultimately the people who make it or break it. I've seen organizations "try"to implement change, only to have positive progress derailed by the negative influence of people within the organization.

Rather than just introducing change abruptly into the organization, circle the wagons with your people, communicate with them, and work hard to understand what it is they value as part of the organization. Don't assume that everyone values the same things. Change is inevitable, but the way you introduce change into your organization should be inclusive of the people of the organization. Remember that people support what they help create. Implement change in your organization, without giving the people a voice, at your own risk. 

Takeaway: People support what they help create. Find out what people value as you implement change. Give them a voice and understand what they value. As you roll out change, help them to get what they value from the change, and you'll have a much better shot a having that change be positive. 

2. Help them get more of what they value: The days of corporate leaders dictating what people are going to do are over! Sure, you can tell people what to do, because you're paying them, but soon thereafter, you will find yourself with a revolving door of people entering and exiting your company. That will reek havoc on your bottom line. It's better to invest your time learning what your people value, both at work and in their personal lives. There are three ways to do this:

a. Guess - Who knows, you may just get it right, especially if you're making an educated guess based on what you've heard or observed about the person. Beware, however, this can come back to bite you if you guess wrong. You: "Hey, I bought you some Reese's peanut butter cups for dessert." Them: "Um . . ., I'm allergic to peanut butter. Quick! Someone grab my Epi-Pen!" Whoops!

b. Ask them - Not always the easiest conversation to have when you don't really know someone. That's why it's so important to invest ourselves in growing relationships every time we interact with someone. Once you have a certain level of connection and/or rapport with someone, however, just ask them what it is they want, value or hope for. Most people will go on for days if they trust you, and if you'll just give them the floor.

c. Pay attention - You can pretty much tell what people value by what they give their time, attention and money too. Listen to what they talk about, the pictures they surround themselves with and on the topics for which they express passion and enthusiasm.

3. Champion what they value: If you know that something the people in your organization value, that has common interests, or aligns, with the change your are trying to influence, throw gas on the fire and champion that common interest (value). Connect the dots for people on how they and the organization can mutually benefit around the common interest, and reach a win-win outcome through the change that needs to be made. For example: The company wants to reduce operating expenses and you know that a group employees would prefer to work remotely than come into an office everyday.

4. Serve what they value: Once you understand what they value, go out of your way (meaning expend tons of effort) to help them get more of what they value. Connect them with someone, open a door of opportunity for them, make something for them, or do some research for them. Something along those lines - just help them experience more of what they value. They will appreciate you so much for your selflessness, that you will be able to influence them is a positive way, pretty much effortlessly.

5. Partner with what they value: I once had an incredible leader/manager model this for me better than I'd ever seen anyone before or since. She put her agenda aside, asked me what I wanted, and then proceeded to help me get it. Keep in mind that what I wanted hd nothing to do with my job or what she was trying to get me to accomplish within the context of her business objectives. All that she asked me for in return, was that I completely dedicate myself, as her employee, to helping the team reach the new goals she had set for the coming year. I gladly honored her request and we all achieve positive results individually and collectively.

Takeaway: When you set your agenda aside, and selflessly partner with people to help them reach their own personal & professional goals, you influence them, and they will go the distance for you. At that point, you have a pretty favorable chance of influencing any positive you'd like to implement within the organization. People may not get on board, at first, with change, but they'll readily get on board with you and your vision.

At the end of the day it really comes down to what Zig Ziglar often said: "You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want."

If you're ready to influence positive change in your organization, and have your people embrace it the first time around, schedule a free, no obligation, consultation with us at Influence Seminars. Or send is an email with your number one question about influencing positive change in your organization.

Article by R. Duane Huff