Before you can influence people, you need to get
their attention. If you are leading a change initiative, one of your
biggest challenges is the high-stimulus environment everyone lives and
People’s heads are already filled with concerns (How will I meet this deadline for my boss?
I wonder if my son is going to stay home from school today. My email
inbox is overflowing and I know there are important people in there).
On top of that the rest of the world is constantly bombarding them (Buy a Coke. Grab a cup of coffee. The
president of the company is introducing a new matrix for performance
evaluation. HR needs you to decide which mutual funds to put a portion
of your pension in).
Breaking through information overload is a real challenge. It’s one
thing to reach your direct subordinates and evangelists. It is another
to break through the onslaught of inner and outer stimulation and reach
the other people you depend on for your change to succeed.
Once you have their attention you must get them engaged, involved, and
contributing. How? Through effective communication using social
construction. Social construction is just what it says it is: social –
done in community, and construction – the act of building. It tells us
we build our understanding of the world together, through our
As a change leader you must become adept at stimulating this kind of
community back-and-forth. To create engagement, draw your people into
conversation, accept their experiences, and allow them to change yours.
Enticing people to engage with your ideas is difficult, very difficult.
Change leaders must penetrate information overload. Then they must
establish win-win scenarios with their most valuable players. When
supporting your initiative becomes the best way for others to resolve
their conflicts, ease pressures, achieve their goals, and otherwise get
ahead, they will heed your communication and begin to work for your
success because it is interwoven with their own.
To see your idea catch fire, let it loose in ways that generate
ownership among your most important stakeholders. Setting it free in
this way is not the same as giving up control. Become an ace at
creating healthy interaction, tapping into others’ webs of experience
and information. In this regard, face-to-face is the most valuable,
highest-leverage activity to get change right.
As with all negotiations, value is at the heart of engagement. Once
it’s apparent how an idea generates value for each person, each will
commit to action. Change doesn’t require formal authority or a
budget—in fact, management oversight and budget battles create
distractions that can impede the real work of change.
You need a river of conversation, fluidly absorbing new tributaries of
ideas and innovation, enabling others to grab your ideas and run with
them faster than you can keep up with. That’s how rapid, widespread
engagement takes place.
To read 5 concrete ways you can use to cut through Information
overload, visit my Fast Co article and skip down to the 5 steps
outlined there. Here’s the article.
My new book
is available on Amazon for pre-order today. Order it now and send proof of your purchase to GIRadvance@gmail.com and I will
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These will include invitations to participate in 2 teleseminars on
innovation (beginning next week!) and links to the recordings, as well
as a special pdf
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The content will be new,
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