The business world is experiencing massive disruption and the phenomenal speed of change that got us to the 21st century’s technological frenzy is not going to slow down any time soon. Competition is intensifying. The world is getting smaller. There is an abundance of everything everywhere. We are being challenged every day to invent and create, to develop and explore, and to be agile in our thinking and innovative in our solution finding.
The one resource that is scarce, however, is you—your skills, your vision, your values and your ability to lead. The ability to build personal positioning and to lead out with confidence and conviction, to influence decisions, behaviour and strategy is critical to driving change.
Why you need to drive change
1. It starts with you
The starting point is leadership of self. You have to believe in yourself, first and foremost. Your dream and vision for yourself and your business future is yours, and until you get this sorted there is no leading out. Choose to be a leader who is brave, honest and authentic. Step in to your spotlight and share your message with conviction because being authentic benefits everyone. Leading out is making your own profile or brand as strong as you possibly can. Only in this way can you truly give your best to other people and become more influential.
2. Move from me to we
Great opportunity to influence exists when you enter the We space of collaboration. This involves being outward facing, having confidence in the skills and insight you are bringing to the table. Moving from Me to We means sharing knowledge, insight and intellect. This is where future-proofing begins as ideation evolves and strategic plans are hatched. Collaboration means we are smarter together, we move quicker together and the diversity and constant change within the world in which we are now operating is naturally demanding new solutions that we cannot solve alone.
3. Build your intellectual bank
The bottom line result is, of course, critical to success. Add to this KPI the measure of skills base—something that is becoming an increasingly valuable currency. When there is a true value exchange between those who see the value in working together to up skill, to engage their thought processes, to become more than they are now in terms of their intelligence then a new form of currency is created—the intellectual bank. Why not suggest to a colleague that you ‘swap’ a skill for a skill? Create internal learning hubs. Teach each other something you previously had no knowledge of, build the intellectual bank by embracing the strengths and skills of others around you and as a result create more opportunity to influence others.
4. Full Disclosure
To lead out and become more influential, it is imperative that we are individually clear on our value systems and that we live and breathe these values in every behaviour, decision and action we take. If we are to create the organisations and teams that we want to work within, that we want others to enjoy being part of and to build something more than the service or product that is being sold, the soul of the business has to permeate everything—and it’s more than just words. Organisational culture is not created—it is the culmination of behaviours and value systems.
5. Build Your Network
A powerful network can become your lifeline. It has the ability to transform, to give individuals and businesses an edge. The cross-fertilisation of connections, skills and ideas that are openly discussed and shared through network creation, in their turn create new opportunities, innovation and new solutions to existing problems. Build a circle of influence that understands what you want to achieve and whom you want to support in kind.
Each of us needs to stand solidly in our space of expertise and have the confidence to lead out. We need to embrace the opportunity that exists when we build diverse networks, create cultures with the freedom to discuss, debate and ideate, where the strength of individual thought leadership and expertise can be reinforced through working together.
You can drive change by influencing with confidence and conviction.