Tuesday, May 4, 2010

How to Influence Others: 3 Tips

Rudyard Kipling has written "All the people like us are we, and everyone else is They". Change leadership is about influencing "they" into becoming "we". Kipling (I seem to remember) offers advice:
"I keep six honest serving men,
They taught me all I knew;
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who."

For me this breaks down to three things:
1. Ask open ended questions to unearth closely held assumptions that formulate opinions and positions. Address the assumptions to create change.
2. Be a good listener - this means genuine curiosity. If I find myself formulating my response in my head when listening - I know I will not be successful in influencing the other person.
3. Withhold judgement about core philosophies no matter how different. When wildly opposing values collide, you can still gain respect by agreeing to disagree.
Sometimes, honest communication like this take time (involves building trust) as pointed out by the HBR conversation about asking questions. So be prepared, In this age of globalisation and the reality of collaboration amidst diversity, changemakers separates their own core values from details to create the largest circle of "we possibles". At the level that social entrepreneurs operate i.e. social and economic prosperity for all - it would be hard to find anyone that doesn't fit the "we" circle.

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