One pain point we hear a lot from change practitioners is this…
I feel invisible
A big part of the frustration comes from the sense of not being able to influence without formal, positional authority. Yet, we are expected to influence people across all business units and teams.
Another part of the frustration is feeling unheard and often overlooked.
Here’s five proven ways to power up your influence and visibility:
1. Be visible on your Enterprise Social Network (ESN) While I learned this one late in my career, I was able to make good use of it once I gained the confidence on ESNs. Becoming more active on your ESN builds your social capital. This grows as your online activity becomes more obvious: typically we start by ‘liking’ other posts, then we comment. Engagement and presence grows when we start sharing ideas and articles and asking questions, nudging as a friendly provocateur and crowdsourcing solutions. I fully understood the impact of building social capital when presenting to a group of senior leaders. As I introduced myself, a few mentioned that they ‘already knew me from Yammer’. I immediately felt more confident as I was already known to some people in the room. The rest of the presentation was a good deal easier after that.
2. Offer your expertise in a Lunch & Learn session There must be something you know or do that is your specialty. Something you are passionate about and a topic that others want to know more of? This is your opportunity to offer to run a lunchtime session for everyone – across all business units. If you are stuck on content, offer to play back your key take-aways from a recent conference or training event you’ve attended. You can further amplify your visibility if you post photos of your session on your ESN! Or during the session, ask a buddy to back-channel key points in real time. Reciprocate when your buddy runs a similar session.
Fun Fact: Teaching others also further embeds your own knowledge in the subject!
3. Working Out Loud (also known as WOL) There are many benefits with this practice! It’s one of the best agile change practices because it’s about working openly and collaboratively to make your work visible. By working openly, you have the opportunity to gather additional information and potentially avoid duplication of effort. How many times have you started research or prepared documentation only to find out later that someone has completed something similar? Something that could have saved you hours of unnecessary work? In one experience, I posted a message on the ESN that I was working out loud on the new change experience model. I set myself up in a meeting room for two days, at specific times, and advised all employees they could drop in to see how the roadmap was progressing and I was inviting feedback and discussion. In between the two sessions, I was able to keep the mobile whiteboard near my desk for ad hoc drop-ins. I gathered valuable ideas and involved our end users in the creation of the new approach and documentation. When it was time to roll it out, the word had already spread along with a positive message about the level of engagement and transparency.
The unexpected outcome was that other people wanted to do the same and asked me for advice on Working Out Loud! Modelling different approaches is an effective way to influence and shift behaviours. It’s an opportunity to encourage others to experiment. In my experience, there’s nothing to lose, yet lots to gain.
4. Join special interest groups at work Most larger organisations have special interest groups, often found as groups on Enterprise Social Networks or SharePoint pages. I'm coaching an early career change manager who did just this – she joined the Toastmasters group in her organisation. Not only did she meet people from across the business, but her reputation as a strong public speaker is further building her confidence and visibility.
Find what interests you and join up! Make more connections from teams and areas you don’t usually interact with. Enjoy more social capital while you have fun.
5. Offer to facilitate sessions It’s no secret that most people do not like speaking in front of groups. However, as a capability, facilitation is often a strength of change practitioners. Offer your ‘services’ to your Project Manager.
This puts you in front of a wide range of people from across the business. Look for opportunities to volunteer to facilitate retrospectives, lean coffee sessions, team building events and stakeholder sessions. At the same time, it sharpens your facilitation skills!
Do this for yourself.
Make these regular work habits.
Do this to boost the value of change management!
Interested in more?
Download the summary of these five points in our infographic here.
Did you know that…
In 2020, Lena also wrote a white paper titled Influencing Beyond the Formal Hierarchy about this a couple of years ago – you can find it here.
If you are looking to power up your skills and confidence in influencing and in applying these practices, (such as Working Out Loud, Lean Coffees, Lunch and Learns, Pecha Kuchas) and for your entire team, check out our Agile Change Manager Certificate Program online by the Agile Change Leadership Institute. DM us to find out more!