Optimising financial processes

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“Influence vs Control” – The Critical Leadership Skill in Transformation & Change

The “command and control” strategy might have worked for the Roman legions but it doesn’t work in today’s world . . .

We have choices. We want to serve a higher purpose.

Often, sometimes unwittingly, we will sabotage plans that we don’t understand or we don’t agree with.

In preparation for next week’s webcast discussion on the strategy and execution of global, end-to-end process owners, or champions, I have thought through my own experiences and talked to Finance, GBS, CIO and Data leaders and Business Partners, and conclude that driving change is about influence in today’s environment, far more than control.

Incidental learning, creativity, collaboration and innovation can’t be forced. It needs a human desire or aspiration. Ideas are only ideas until they are adopted and put into practice. “Adoption” is a hot topic in process change and technology deployment circles.

But are we any good at “influencing” people?

Counter-intuitively perhaps, “influencing” requires us to listen. A LOT.

But you also need to know when you’ve listened enough

To be “influential”, we need to be present, consistent and curious, focused and accountable.

Steven Covey stated that one of the “Habits of Highly Effective People” is “to seek first to understand and THEN be understood”. A great aspiration but easier said than done, especially under stress!

90 years ago, Dale Carnegie captured some key lessons in dealing with colleagues, customers and business partners. They include;

  • Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
  • Give honest and sincere appreciation.
  • Become genuinely interested in other people.
  • Be a good listener.
  • Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely
  • Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, “You’re wrong.”
  • If YOU are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
  • Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
  • Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
  • Let the other person save face.
  • Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.

When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with habit and emotion, bristling with prejudices and motivated by ego. 

Yes, that’s us!

This synopsis of the Carnegie book is a powerful way to kick-start a discussion on “influence vs control” in your organization or team. You can read it here . . .   – just a 3 minute read. . .

Thanks for reading . . .