It’s one thing to have insight. It’s quite another thing to have the skill to apply the insight to influence change. I first noticed this whilst working with a team of change management professionals. The team leader had an impressive ability to shift people’s perspectives and practices by his skilful influencing approach.
I worked with another leader who demonstrated similar skill. I often had similar insights to him during meetings but noticed how masterfully he was able to shift the whole direction of the conversation. It was his personal presence, skilful framing of issues, quiet assertiveness that made the difference.
I worked with a leadership development consultant. His style was very different to my own, more courageous and challenging. Again, I noticed how he achieved impressive results. He was prepared to speak up, risk push back and conflict, if he had an insight, concern or idea that should be shared in the group.
I worked with a leader who was sensitive and gentle. She had the ability to open minds and hearts to the most important things. I remember a valuable word of advice she once gave to me: ‘Remember: people will not remember you for what you said, but they will remember you for how you made them feel.’
Through all these experiences, these encounters, I’ve learned important lessons that influencing change is about a range of factors. It’s about being authentic, paying attention, trusting my intuition, being sensitive to others, taking a risk, speaking with courage and practising the skills of artful conversation.
Nick Wright is a coach and consultant, specialising in reflective practice.