I am halfway through my first MOOC (massive open online course), and it has been exciting to get back into the university groove. I am taking a course on Innovation and Change through Vanderbilt University with over 50,000 other participants (that is not a typo – you should see the discussion boards!). It has been fascinating to be part of a new form of education, and easy to see why many are saying the MOOC is disrupting education at a fast pace.
One of the early themes from our course emphasizes the importance of persuasion as part of the innovation process. Without being able to successfully influence others to use or implement the change or new idea you have created, your amazing ideas remain stuck as words on a wall, or as untested prototypes.
Whether we like it or not, our ability to influence the actions of others is a critical part of our career success. We talk a lot in HR about getting a “seat at the table”, but it often translates into wanting the ability to influence strategic decisions for the organization. How do we establish ourselves as influential in an organization, and direct the winds of change?
For HR professionals, there are lots of approaches to increasing your influence. Here are some ways to get started:
Manage HR Like A Business
You won’t be respected for the work you do for the rest of the organization if your own department is in disarray. Ensuring effective and efficient delivery of solutions to your customers, knowing their needs, connecting with them often – these are all critical elements of managing your work effectively and being an HR business owner. If you are just starting your HR career, knowing how your role supports annual business targets, what the costs are for using certain services, and the value you are delivering on a monthly and annual basis are important metrics to learn.
Implement Solutions That Meet Business Needs
If your customers have set increased sales targets for this year, what are you doing to support their success? Have you introduced them to new sales training? Reminded the sales team leads about internal collaboration tools available to keep them connected? Introduced them to the concept of daily or weekly “stand up” huddle meetings? You get the idea. Solutions that help your customers be successful ultimately increase your influence in your organization. You become the “go to” person for new ideas that support success.
Engage Senior Leaders & Key Influencers At All Levels
Senior leaders are key drivers of change for most organizations, and their words carry a lot of weight. Most change management primers will tell you that your ability to engage senior leaders, as well as influential people at all levels, is a critical step to overall change program success. Early conversations with leaders and influencers about your ideas, how they connect to critical business targets and strategies, as well as why their involvement is key to the successful implementation of your program, will play a huge role in setting you up for success.
Increase Your Digital IQ
If you attended Impact99 last year, or follow the blog posts of Pam Ross, you already know that increasing your knowledge of social and digital tools is essential to establishing your influence, as technology continues to be critically important to organizations. This isn’t just about learning to use new tools, like Twitter and Facebook for business, but understanding how technology can be used to improve organizational effectiveness. This is not about being “hip” to the latest trends; it’s about understanding how tools can drive business results, and how to measure the results that are generated.
There are lots of other ways to increase influence, and my list is a starting point of a much larger conversation. What’s next on this list? What works for you in successfully influencing new direction and innovation in your organization?