Want to make an immediate impact in a new job or role? Need to recast a strategy? Need to elicit support from folks that don’t report to you? The answer to all is engagement. How do we win friends and influence people? Engagement. Don’t come into a position with the mentality that you’re going to take over – “This is what we’re going to do; this is what needs to change; this is what we used to do at my former place of employment”. You are not going to engage the help, support, know-how, and buy-in of the people you need with this authoritative mentality. You don’t necessarily have the influence or mandate to affect these changes – so how are you going to create it?
All plans for mergers and acquisitions are structured around 100 days. Francois Laugier, M&A attorney, says, “You get the chance to effect change in an organization that you’ve acquired during the first 100 days of the acquisition. There is a tempo to an acquisition, and it is incumbent on the buyer to make sure that it keeps beating the drum and moving people along.” Likewise, with a new job, the first 100 days can be that crucial time when you keep “beating the drum.”
I worked with a guy once who went into his new role as if it were a 100-day integration. I don’t know if that was his intentional plan, but if it was, it was a phenomenal one. I have never seen anyone hit it out of the park like he did in the first 100 days of a job. Most of us start new positions by asking the boss what to do, reading the manual, and/or talking to coworkers. This guy took a different approach: “I’ve got 100 days. I need to get a handle on the current state of things. I need a clear strategy, plan and to realign my resources. I need to execute.” He went in with proactive intentions; no way he was going to sit and read a manual.
Author Bill Vaughan once wrote, “An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.” Whether you are an optimist or a pessimist, whether you had a great year or a less-than-perfect year, it is helpful to take a bit of time to reflect back and see what happened, what worked, what didn’t, and what you can do differently this year.
Here are my top recommendations for setting yourself up for an outstanding 2013, refocused and realigned to your goals and priorities:
There is a fine line between process and chaos. How do you manage to tread that line, to lock down processes and document organizational knowledge while at the same time, acknowledging that you should not worship sacred cows? The pendulum can swing too far in either direction. Finding that balance is hard; you need processes in place, but you also need the flexibility to alter and improve those processes. You need to believe in what you’re doing, while at the same time believing that you could also move on to something better, more efficient, or less costly.
On one end of the spectrum, there are companies with sacred cows. We can see this in the music industry. For 20 years, they worshipped the CD. It was cheap to make, sold for exponentially more, and popular with consumers. What could be better? Nothing, if you’re a record company. But if you’re a consumer, cheaper prices, greater convenience, and not having to buy a $20 album for the one song you like, is even better. Steve Jobs recognized this and created a little thing called iTunes. The CD was the way; it was the only way. Until it wasn’t, and the industry has yet to recover.
“The key to successful leadership is influence, not authority.” - Kenneth Blanchard
Every interaction we have involves influence. We are trying to persuade another party, or the other party is attempting to persuade us, to adopt a certain course of action or to shift our mindset. Your boss may be trying to influence you to buy into a strategic initiative; you may be trying to persuade your direct reports to do more with less; your child may be trying to influence your decision to buy her a Wii U. In the workplace, the ability to influence others is key to your progress, growth, and ability to drive ERM strategy. You don’t wake up one morning and decide to be influential; rather it is a skill to be developed. That being said, what affects our ability to influence others?
Your ability to influence others is linked directly to three factors: