Aggressive and forceful, Jide is one of those people who loves to play the devil’s advocate. A high-ranking member of the client staff, he has been with the Company for years and has seen several change initiatives fail. Because he doesn’t care what you think, he openly tells anyone who cares to listen that your new initiative, like its predecessors, will not see the light of day. Unfortunately for you, his opinion is respected and you find to your dismay that many people, even your change agents, are beginning to lose faith in your Programme.
As the Change Manager, you need to sell the new vision to Jide. On your first visit to his office, he sits you down and hits you with a laundry-list of reasons why the change is a waste of time. Then he leans back and crosses his arms over his chest, waiting for your response. Your mind flashes back to the last two people who have tried to convince Jide and failed.
What are the top 5 things you can tell him that will win him over to your side?
- 1st Message (‘’We know what we are doing’’): A Driver is one of the most confident people you will ever meet so your first task is to win his respect. Brandishing your impressive credentials is a good first step. You need to sell yourself as the ‘’A’’ team. He needs to believe that you are competent and sure of your facts. Don’t be too modest – mention the Change Management certification you acquired, the Organizational Transformation book you wrote, the Ivy-League college you attended, the recent award you won at work or the Fortune 100 company you worked for. Also mention any impressive credentials of your other team members.
- 2nd Message (‘’We can produce results’’): From your Case for Change document, distill key facts and figures about the current situation in the firm, the challenges with the current system and how the new change will ameliorate these conditions. You need to explain the tangible results of his efforts and show him that the change will not just be an ‘’exercise in futility’’. You may also share a Business Case showing the expected pecuniary benefits of the change. Translating these results into monetary terms will help him see how the bottom-line will be improved and contribute to overall profitability.
- 3rd Message (‘’We have the right assets’’): Emphasize the rigorous processes and mature tools in your kitty. Try to avoid sounding unpredictable and ad-hoc in your methods. Share differentiating assets such as the models that will provide certainty and speed and will save money. He needs to know that your tools, methods, and assets will provide predictability.
- 4th Message ( ‘’We can deliver’’): Share your work plan and your key milestones. Besides making him feel important, it will increase his confidence that the change can be delivered.
- 5th Message ( ‘’We’ve done this before’’): You can end by referring once more to your firm’s impressive pedigree and by citing your recent accomplishments. You could also mention successful projects which you recently completed at a similar firm. This will help re-affirm your competence and make him trust you more.
Direct, decisive Jide will be turned off if you sound as if you are:
- Beating around the bush
- Ignorant and cannot answer his questions
- Timid and cannot challenge him
- Incompetent and unsure of your facts
- Not going to produce results for him
- A bearer of bad news
In summary, the most strategic documents you need to change a key stakeholder with a Driving style are:
- Case for Change/ Business Case
- Change Management Assets and Methodology
- Work Plan
- More credentials 🙂
You might want to try these strategies on your client and share the results.
In my next post, I’ll discuss the top 5 strategies for changing an Expressive.