In this issue:
If you want to change anything in your organization, you need to influence at least one other person to succeed. I wrote about competence in Part 1. This part is about trust.
How do people trust you? They might expect you to be predictable in two ways: that you deliver what you promise. Or, you explain why not. And, that they can predict how you'll react in various situations. As an example, are you able to refrain from blaming people when they can't deliver?
For me, the predictability for the work deliverables and managing our emotions are the minimum. They're necessary and not sufficient.
Also, people might trust you when:
- You keep confidential information confidential.
- You act with personal integrity.
- You extend trust first, even if you might feel uncomfortable doing so.
In my experience, many leaders in the organization feel pulled when they think about confidentiality, personal integrity, and extending trust first.
Secret 1: Manage Confidential Information
Change artists often discover confidential information when they learn the reasons that change is not easy in their organizations. You might discover the managers have significant bonuses based on “their” deliverables.
We know agile teams need each team member to collaborate. Why wouldn't managers need to collaborate? (See Defining “Scaling” Agile, Part 5: Agile Management for more details.)
If you encounter this situation, you wouldn't tell everyone about the problem that prevents managers from collaborating. You might start with a different person, such as the most senior manager or HR. You would keep this information confidential, so people don't feel as if you sacrificed them on the altar of influence.
Secret 2: Act With Personal Integrity
I bet you've met people whose values you didn't share. And, because they acted according to those values, you recognized their personal integrity. You could disagree with them and still respect them. (I'll write much more about personal integrity in a future Pragmatic Manager.)
Secret 3: Extend Trust (Even if you're uncomfortable.)
I have the most trouble with extending trust. How can I know the person will deserve that trust?
I can't know. Neither can you.
Back when my daughters learned how to drive, I was the designated teacher. We practiced in empty parking lots for hours. And, because a parking lot is not the road, I had to “let” them drive on the road before I thought they were ready. I had to trust that we had practiced enough before I had to extend trust.
I'm sure some of my gray hair is due to those driving experiences. And, they repaid my trust by showing me they had listened and integrated my teaching and coaching.
Driving is different from influence in the organization. Here's more of Mary's and Dan's story. (The continuation of Part 1.)
Some of the managers became curious about the ideas of flow and WIP (Work in Progress). One manager, Jim, was concerned. His bonus depended on his department using the specific framework. (That kind of a bonus doesn't make sense, but that was his reality.) Jim asked Mary what she suggested. She offered to go to HR to change his bonus objectives. He declined.
Mary then asked this question, “Is it okay if I talk to HR about their reasons behind this particular objective?”
Jim agreed, so Mary spoke to the VP of HR, Elissa.
Elissa had heard great things about organizations that used this specific framework. She was concerned the managers wouldn't change their work without some personal objective.
Mary realized Elissa wanted to fulfill the company's overall objectives. That made sense to Mary. Mary agreed with Elissa's values—but not her actions to achieve those values.
Mary asked this question, “What do we need to do to trust the managers to change?”
Elissa thought for a few minutes, and said she didn't know.
Mary suggested several measures about cycle time and reduced defects. Mary was sure the managers would need to use some form of agile approach to achieve those results. Elissa agreed. And, Elissa eliminated that objective from all the managers' objectives.
Mary acted with curiosity and in predictable ways. She didn't yell at anyone about how the personal objective would create exactly the wrong result. She respected Elissa's concerns. Mary kept Jim's objective in confidence. And, Mary helped spread the idea of extending trust even if that extension was uncomfortable. (Part 3 will be about shared interests.)
If you want to practice your influence, please join Gil Broza and me at the Influential Agile Leader, May 6-7, 2020 in Boston. You'll learn by practicing and discussing your challenges with like-minded colleagues. You have until Feb 29, 2020 for the best possible rates. Questions? Email me.
Are you new to the Pragmatic Manager newsletter? See previous issues.
Here are links you might find useful:
- My Books. (BTW, if you enjoyed one of my books and you have not yet left a review, please do. Thanks.)
- Online Workshops
- Managing Product Development Blog
- Create an Adaptable Life
- Johanna's Fiction
Till next time,
© 2020 Johanna Rothman
Tags: influence, integrity, trust