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How to win colleagues over and influence great project outcomes.

It is helpful if we look at this question from a communication and relationship perspective.

When we consider the perspective of others we can understand logically how the experience of interacting with us feels for them.

We can benefit from zooming out.

You want to get your point across and you will in time.

...but perhaps not in the way you thought.

In practice the other person probably doesn’t care about your point at least not yet.

First, you have the opportunity to question openly and listen. This will give your colleague a chance to explore where they are, and give you the opportunity you to understand that too.

For example,if we take a basic internal change scenario. Let us say that you want to get a team to use a new process that they aren’t used to. You could go into that conversation explaining the key benefits of the new process. However if you do this without knowing anything at all about their concerns, challenges, and hesitations you are going in blind.

The challenge people often come up against is that the colleague might not be interested. They might not care. And the benefits of the new process which you have top of mind might not be the features of value to them.

Why would you go in blind? If you do, they won’t care about:

- You

- What you want or

- the new process!

Instead twe can turn the approach on it's head?

We start with a bit of chit chat and build some rapport.

We take interest in what is going on for them in their role. We listen to what they have to say and see what we might learn.

If we test this approach even in the worst case scenario they will move toward you because you gave them the respect and kindness of your ears. More likely, something they say will be relevant to progressing your objectives.

When we actually properly listen to people it’s a gift. Others typically look for a way to repay that gift.

If we put ourselves in the shoes of others and help them to feel understood they will inevitably move towards us. When we approach an interaction focused on our stuff we are not focusing on the other person in the dialogue. If we look instead to show an interest in their reality instead of our own opportunities to influence will present themselves.

While this type of dialogue is more time consuming in the first instance it will very likely save time in the long run.

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