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The use of key influencers as change agents

We all know them...those in our organisations who are the 'go-to' people when we want to 'test-the-water' with an idea. They know the mood, they are aware of people's opinions, motivation levels and worries. Somehow they just seem to be at the centre of things.

These people are both 'thermometers' and 'barometers'. As 'thermometers' they can tell you the current 'temperature' of their part of the organisation and as 'barometers' they can predict any likely shift in it. But it's not simply that they can see into the future, they can also affect it. As key influencers they can change the 'temperature', and make a real difference to people's mood, motivation and productivity.

These people don't necessarily have any 'position power' at all. They can be in any role, from the most junior level to the most senior. Their power and influence doesn't come from their job title or role, it comes from their personality, experience and the respect that their peers have for them. People naturally follow them and look to them for a lead.

What an asset these people are to your organisation. When nurtured they can make such a difference and can lift the mood, making a better working environment for everyone concerned, and even increasing productivity. But equally, if they are not engaged and 'bought-into' an idea, then they can stop it in its tracks, blocking the adoption and embedding of a change into the business. They are key stakeholders who need to be engaged in any change.

So how do you ensure that these de facto leaders:

  1. Know how much they are valued and appreciated by your organisation
  2. Genuinely have a voice and can represent the voices of their peers
  3. Feel engaged with any changes taking place and are able to aid the organisation's transition, and
  4. Are in a position to encourage and support their peers throughout transition.

That's where the role of 'change agent' comes in. These people can have a key role in change management leadership, because for an organisational transformation to be successful, leadership needs to be addressed at all levels.

  1. At the highest level, inspirational, visionary sponsorship and vision-casting.
  2. At a senior management level, vision-sharing and transformation leadership by a respected, trusted coalition with positional power.
  3. Throughout the organisation, key influencers engaged as catalysts and agents for change.

This third, catalyst for change role is where your organisation's key influencers can make a real difference.

But it is crucial that they are taken seriously and that their voices are genuinely heard. If people feel that they are just being 'paid lip-service' this is a huge de-motivator and will dis-engage rather than engaging them.

Your change agents have a key role in all three stages of transformation:

Wanted - Happen - Stick

Adoption and embedding of change throughout your business is the key to achieving the business benefits of your project/programme.

So how are you engaging these important stakeholders in each stage of your organisational transformations? Thermometers? Barometers? Catalysts? Champions? Give it a try...

If you need some ideas or would like help in stakeholder support, just drop me a line on LTalifero@citi.co.uk


Lisa TaliferoLisa Talifero
Managing Consultant, CITI Limited


Lisa Talifero

Lisa Talifero

I am passionate about getting change right. I believe that to successfully achieve strategic goals with changes fully embedded, you must bring people with you, ensuring all are engaged, listened to and cared about.
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