Leveraging the Power of Influencers to Drive Organizational Change
Employee resistance is the most common reason executives say organizational-change efforts fail.
Winning over skeptical employees and convincing them of the need to change just isn’t possible through mass e-mails, presentations, or passionate CEO speeches.
There has to be a strategic plan and process in place.
Start with conducting an internal audit through surveys and nominations to discover who the most influential people within your company. Whom do your people go to when they need information or are struggling at work? Those are your influencers.
Engagement and motivation are an internal thing so it’s important to leverage the power of your key player's influence to drive organizational change.
"Hierarchical power is limited when compared with the one of highly connected and influential people". Leandro Herrara
Developing the thought leaders in your company is key. They should have the freedom to develop their skills and talents and exercise their influence.
If leaders and free thinkers do not have the freedom to bring their acquired knowledge to the table, they will be underutilized, undervalued, underappreciated, and consequently bored. They will quickly outgrow their position within your company.
Employee shared expertise is regarded as being three times more effective and authentic rather than coming from the C-suite.
A good manager always hires someone who is smarter than them, while others lead from ego and a need for control. If you get your influencers on board, then the rest of the company is more likely to adapt and get on board with significant change.
“It’s all about finding and hiring people smarter than you, getting them to join your business and giving them good work, then getting out of the way and trusting them. You must get out of the way so you can focus on the bigger vision. That’s important, but here is the main thing, you must make them see their work as a mission?” Sir Richard Branson
Influencers within the company tend to go wide with their networking and connecting with others in various departments. They have a strong “like-ability” factor and good social skills.
Employees are more likely to conform to the ideas and atmosphere created by the influencer while creating a “pack” or “herd” mentality.
The influencer not only influences fellow employees, but also influences the customer as well. The influencer has a bigger following and connection to the client, then the CEO ever will.
Remember influencers are often not upper-level management, but bridge builders between the employees and the C-suite.
We would love to hear how you leverage the power of influencers in your company? Leave us a comment!