October 13, 2008

Mandating or Negotiating – Which is Better?

First we talk ...
Negotiate mandate change
The short answer is – it depends!

The easy option is the top-down approach. Leadership creates a vision, they back it up by investing in that idea/strategy. The rest is a matter of change trickling down and being accepted by the rest of the organization. It takes time but it happens.

Unless the vision is revolutionary and drastic. Consider the challenges facing a new leader who is brought in to shake things up and get the organization moving to a different tune. Vikram Pandit at Citibank, Alan Mulally at Ford and Mark Hurd at HP are some examples of leaders that need to affect change from the top. They have to make alliances, influence managers, goad the organization to change and inflict some level of pain to change the organization. In such situations, there is significant resistance to change and leadership courage and persistence is required for success.

Negotiation and influence are a big part of any change effort. Human beings are emotional beings and especially in a 'knowledge worker' environment – dictating a strategy is not the most effective way to align your team behind you. The team has to be sold the vision, cajoled into changing, influenced with projected benefits and engaged in making the shift.

If you are frustrated with the speed of change on your team – rethink your change strategy. Hopefully your approach it is a prudent mix of leadership vision, partnership and active negotiations.

If you liked this post, consider subsribing to a full RSS feed or get regular updates via email.

No comments: