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How to Identify Influencers and Drive Change

21 Nov 2019 by Mike Weaver

Peer-to-peer influence is always more effective than top-down directives from management, so the success of any restructuring project will be highly dependent upon the key influencers within your organization.

Finding and enabling your champions will expedite adoption rates, allowing you to reach your goals with a happy team. In this video, we discuss how to identify your influencers and how to work with them to impact positive change.

Identifying influencers in your organization

Mike: In this model, we’re going to talk about how to identify influencers at all different levels of adoption to help drive change in your organization. All of this will allow you to have a faster, more effective more humane outcome in your project.

MJ: There are two elements. Firstly, you, as an influencer and your impact on the team. Are you using all the tools at your disposal? And have you developed your capability and your resilience to influence across and up, as well as your team?

There’s a second element of influence, it’s actually using the team. Now, this does link to ‘Involve’ and we’ll talk about that in the next video. However, what we are suggesting here is that we use key individuals within the business that can influence their teams to adopt the change more readily.

Let’s be honest, sometimes we are more likely to listen to our peers than our boss. So, we’ve developed the Change Adoption Model for you to understand the levels of adoption and the motivation of our teams through that.

Now, often, what we do is, we will work with our ‘Change Instigators’ or our ‘First Adopters’. You know the ones – the positive ones, the ones that are going for it, the ones that want the change. We like working with them, they’re easy to work with. But actually, as you can see from the model we’ve put up on the screen, each level of adoption influences and impacts the next level, so that it actually is a cascade, but upwards.

The Change Adoption Model

Now, what we’re suggesting happens is that rather than wait to influence from the top and let those waves come through, we’re suggesting you use those key influences at each level of the adoption stage. You’ll know who they are because you undertook that at the investigation phase. So, we’re saying who are your influences at that political adoption stage? Those are the ones that know they have to adopt early so that they’ll be well thought of within the company what they don’t want to do is miss the boat.

We will then have a tipping point. This is where over 50% of the team, a department or an organization have adopted the new culture, or processes, or systems. This will then accelerate through to the rest of the business.

What we then want to get a key influencer from our safe adopters. It doesn’t mean they don’t want to do it; what it means is they’re nervous and cautious. By the time we get to the safe adoption stage, they will have already seen how it’s impacted their peers. Maybe there will have been some trial and error in that, some of the flaws will have been ironed out. There will still be some reticence from them, but we can help them through it.

We do want to pick from the last adopters and the reluctant adopters. Our last adopters are the ones that are either super cautious or to be honest, they simply don’t like change, they won’t want to do it. Let’s find out what their issues are from their influencer so they can have some of those micro conversations, so we can do these mini waves of adoption at each stage.

Now our reluctant adopters are those ones that don’t want to do it. But they know if they don’t, they’re going to get left behind. So, they have to adopt, not want to adopt. Yeah, they may appear negative, but it’s important to understand their issues.

By the way, as you can see, we do have some ‘Never Adopters’. I think it’s about 5% on average, according to research. They may appear to take it on, but they won’t necessarily. So, what are we saying? We are saying that if you can pick individuals at each stage of that adoption model they can start influencing their peers to move faster and to be more engaged.

And what do we know for sure? During a change process, one of the elements that can cause uncertainty is if you feel you’re not involved or not valued. By asking influences to get involved, they feel more valued, they are more likely to be your champions.

Mike: Why is this important? At the end of the day we want to implement this change as quickly as possible, time is money. However, a lot of these things don’t just happen.

Organizations as we’ve said, sometimes push these HR items for later, but that has to be addressed now. Leveraging your influence in this project can help drive a positive project and an increased pace.

Influence Q&A with Mike & MJ

Mike: So, MJ how do we deal with people that just don’t want to change? We all have run into people like this before and they just won’t get on board? How do you deal with that?

MJ: Firstly, that’s the question I get asked the most. Be aware that there will be those people that’s the first thing. Secondly, you may have to decide whether they stay or whether they go now that’s hard, but you’re going to have to make that decision.

To help you, think about their skill set versus their adoption, if their skill set is strong, then work with them to adopt it. We talked about using your key influencers at each adoption stage to help manage and influence their peers? Is there a peer that can help them? We talked about the pathway model to find out why they don’t want to adopt it and ask them what they need to help them? So, give them a little bit more care and attention. But there will be a point where you might have to say. OK, can we help you move somewhere else?

Mike: So, it sounds like we’re back to the basics of communication and engagement, to see if we can bring them back into the right place. It’s amazing where a lot of these items we know, but actually applying them you know, sometimes we just need a little help doing that.

Need some help?

Quadrotech offers a variety of Office 365 migration services, helping enterprise organizations move to the cloud on a fixed cost, fixed outcome basis. If you’re embarking on a Merger, Acquisition or Divestiture and you need an experienced partner to guide your Office 365 tenant to tenant migration, we’d love to help.

And if you’d like more information on how to coach or how to lead teams through change or any process, visit mjinspire.com.

Mike Weaver is the Product Owner of Cloud Commander, PST Flight Deck and Mailbox Shuttle. Bringing a wealth of experience in large Enterprise Environments, Mike assists with complex, multi-product implementations of all Quadrotech solutions. Prior to joining Quadrotech, Mike led Merger, Acquisition, and Divesture Messaging Projects. He also administered, and engineered solutions for Microsoft Exchange, Veritas Enterprise Vault, PST Flight Deck, Archive Shuttle, as well as many other solutions and products in the Windows Infrastructure space. Mike holds a Master of Business Administration from Quinnipiac University, and a Bachelor of Science from Central Connecticut State University.