Improving Your Odds For Influence

Posted by on Dec 16, 2013 | 2 Comments


When I met Jessica*, I was immediately struck by her passion and clarity.  She is a woman on a mission!  She could see that the way things had always been done in her company was causing the best-and-the-brightest to jump ship.  As she explained it, the purpose-driven-mercurial-millineals  needed to be able to see how they fit into the picture, that there’s possibility for growth and achievement.  They want to be part of a company that changing with the times – that reflects the world we live in today, and not a relic of the past.   Fueled by the disappointment that some of her top talent had chosen to leave and armed with an awareness that things must change, Jessica is determined to shake things up.

I have a tremendous amount of respect for Jessica’s courage and aim.  She’s in for an uphill battle against ‘the-way-things-have-always-been’ and she knows it.  But I cautioned her to consider her approach.  Because however right we think are, making others wrong doesn’t lead to influence.

As many of you know, my favorite definition of authentic, in relation to leadership and influence, was coined by former Medtronic CEO and Harvard Business School professor Bill George:  Authentic:  genuine, worthy of trust, reliance, and belief.

The thing about authenticity, from a leadership-influence-perspective, is that you don’t get to decide.  Whether or not you’re authentic lies in the eye of the beholder.  Now that’s great, when you’re leading or influencing people who think just like you!  But it gets rather complicated when you’re trying to shift perspectives of people who see the world differently.

So if Jessica really wants to effect change in her organization, she needs to take a step back and ask herself:  What do the people I wish to influence need from me to experience me as genuine, worthy of trust, reliable, and believable? 

How will that inform the way she prepares?

How will that inform the way she shows up in her meeting with them?

Because like it or not, if we wish to truly influence those who see the world differently than we do – to create real change – we cannot approach the conversation from an I-am-right-you’re-an-idiot-perspective.

No one on the planet opens their mind to someone who treats them like an idiot.

You want to make change?  You want to do more than talk-to-yourself or sing-to-the-chorus?  Improve your odds.  Authentically engage in the conversation.

 ©OnStage Leadership, 2013;  Kimberly Davis is the Founder/Director of OnStage Leadership, a full-day experiential leadership workshop.  If you found this helpful, interesting, thought-provoking, or inspiring please “recommend”, “Like” and share.  It is only through your generosity that we can reach those who may find it valuable too.

*Names have been changed to protect the courageous


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