Three Concurrent Paths to Influence Change at Work

You may often notice that something in your workplace is not done right. These problems could be lack of communication between departments, duplication of work, old processes that needs redesigning or people unaware of work. Whatever the problem may be, eventually a solution will be found. Implementing this solution causes change, and people are generally reluctant to change. As a leader, you will have to make influence among the organisation to make this change possible.
There are various techniques to influence change at work. But by breaking them down, you get three paths needed to be followed concurrently to get better results.

Creating conditions that influence change

This path can also be called structural influence. This refers to the workplace environments which enable, allow and encourage people to change. The name structural influence is due to the fact that these are structures we put in place to accelerate the adaption. Few of the structural influences are described below.

  • Communication - Communicating the reasons for the change in a way that people understand the purpose, need and context will ensure support from others.
  • Training - Building skill, understanding and knowledge among employees about the change is one of the important structural influence.
  • Incentives - Changes can be achieved only through improved performance and often a recognition for the extra performance drives the people.

These are generally associated with the change management. Structural influence successfully navigates the goals of change.

Influence change in yourself

Being a leader, you cannot expect the structural influences alone to do the job. Your personal involvement is a key to successful change. Having conversations with people will help to understand the experience of change. Different meetings can be held to improve the collaboration and achieve the results together.
Your personal influencing includes encouraging people during changes and supporting them. The personal relationships can help you make this path easier.

Influence change through others

The influence of other members of the organisation is very important. Since you cannot cover the whole organisation alone, help from other individuals is necessary. The people with more authority can carry out this more effectively. Recruiting advocates and sponsors and equipping them to guide the change is a part of this. Roles and relationships are defined to create a network of influence all over the organisation. Gaining others commitment to drive and sustain the change will make this path more effective.
You must keep in mind that all these paths are not independent of each other. Your personal influence will help people to use their leadership to support the initiatives. Providing structural influences will lead them to better utilisation of their abilities. These structural influences are required of leadership from others to work efficiently. Going slow on any of these paths will reduce the rate of change.
When you are influencing change in your organisation, try to leverage all three paths simultaneously. Create conditions that influence the change, use yourself to influence change and engage others in advocating for your changes.

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