“I can’t get my team on board with the new company-wide change initiative. I keep telling them how it makes sense for us, but I just can’t convince them.. The resistance is huge.”
“My boss seems to rubbish all my suggestions. No matter how hard I try to explain my ideas, in the end they always get rejected.”
“At the yearly budgeting meeting, I get the impression that my department’s interest always comes last.”
If any of these issues sound familiar, the chances are that your influencing skills need some improvement.
Does it mean that you should use better arguments? Should you try to present your points more strongly in order convince others? The answer is, probably not.
Influencing by listening
In my experience, in 90% of cases like these it is not a lack of effective arguments that prevents managers from influencing others successfully, but – somewhat counterintuitively – it is a lack of listening skills. Read More
Everybody who has ever worked in an organisation knows that behind the formal orgchart and the official roles and responsibilities there is an informal network of personal connections.
Who chats with whom during coffee break? Who does someone shares their personal concerns with? Who do people turn to with their professional dilemmas?
These are questions you can’t answer by looking at the orgchart. And yet these informal social links strongly influence how a company operates, how information flows, and how quickly and flexibly an organisation reacts to any changes in the business environment.
Do managers really understand what is going on in the informal network? Read More
Great customer service starts with the right attitude. And from time to time somebody says something that perfectly encapsulates the mindset needed to deliver “excellent customer service”.
During the preparation for a large corporate bank’s “client-focus” training I collected some great quotes that, for me, hit the nail right on the head when it comes to finding the right attitude. These quotes inspired me a great deal. I hope they will have the same effect on you.
“Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they do wrong.” – Donald Porter
“Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.” – Walt Disney
One of the reasons many people struggle in matrix organisations is having multiple supervisors.
“It is difficult,” one senior employee comments. “My local boss sets the priorities, I start working, then at the 10 am morning meeting my regional boss from Germany has an idea and he needs me to come up with a first draft by tomorrow. I can’t clone myself, can I? Everybody seems to assume that I have my full working day to complete the task THEY set.”
The assertive-organised-good networking-quick learning matrix superhero
It is never easy to work in a matrix organisation. An employee needs many skills in place to cope with the demands of a matrix organisation. When I asked HR managers about this, they drew up with a long list of skills they consider when it comes to recruitment or development. Employees in a matrix are expected to be flexible, assertive and well organised. They must have good networking skills; they need to be proactive, but they must also quickly learn to say no… A good matrix worker needs to have many skills to succeed. Sometimes it almost seems that in order to cope with a matrix, one needs to be a superhero. And sure enough, companies invest a lot of their resources to improve their employees’ in those skills needed to cope with multiple supervisors. They send them to superhero training courses, they assign mentors to them until they become fully equipped to handle conflicting instructions well…
But how about looking at the situation from the bosses’ point of view?
Pickled onions are difficult to make. You are mixing two very different ingredients – vinegar and sugar. Sweet and sour. It is difficult to get the ratio right.
It is the same with assertive communication: it is difficult to tell how much to emphasize your own needs and interests and how much to consider the other’s needs and interests to make the balance right.
No wonder people often get it wrong and go from one extreme to another. This funny video illustrates exactly that.