坚持让别人改变之前，应该认真倾听。“为了能影响别人，首先应该改变自己，” 与他人合著过《真正的影响力：善劝不迫，巧得不屈》（Real Influence: Persuade Without Pushing and Gain Without Giving In）一书的精神科医师和高管教练马克•古斯滕医学博士指出。“它并不意味着要屈服、放弃或动摇自己的目标。要的是每次与人谈话，都能抱着承认自己可能部分或完全错误的态度——即便你是对的，也可以学到有用的东西。”
Dear Annie:I read your recent column on overcoming employees' resistance to change with great interest, because my situation is similar to that of the reader who sent that question, but with a twist. I was recently moved into my job from another division of the company and told to "turn around" this under-performing department.
The trouble is, because I'm the new guy, people here doubt that I really understand the business, so I feel like I'm constantly fighting this lack of credibility. The other problem is that I'm not the first person in this position. The last guy they brought in to fix things here tried for a year or so and then quit. So every time I explain what we need to do, I can tell that people are thinking, "Here we go again." They nod their heads and then go on doing everything the same old way. I have a couple of great mentors who are giving me some advice on how to handle this, but I'm curious about what you and your readers think. --Stuck in Neutral
Dear Stuck:Interesting dilemma. Two questions I wonder about: First, where did the changes you're proposing come from? Were they handed down from above, or did you come up with them yourself, or what? And second, is it possible that your recalcitrant underlings have a point and that (just maybe) you really don't understand the reasons why they think your approach to the business won't work?
Before you go any further down the road of trying to get people to change, it might be time to do some serious listening. "In order to influence people, you have to be open to influence yourself," says Mark Goulston, M.D., a psychiatrist and executive coach who co-wrote a new book, Real Influence: Persuade Without Pushing and Gain Without Giving In. "That doesn't mean giving in, giving up, or being any less committed to your goals. It does mean going into every conversation being willing to believe that you may be partially or totally wrong -- and that even if you're right, you will learn something valuable.
"When you view influence as 'getting people to do what I want,' you actually reduce your influence over them," he says. "That's because you're not really hearing the other person's message, and they recognize this immediately. Even if you get temporary compliance with what you're asking, they'll resent it" -- and start finding ways to dig in their heels.
"Telling people what to do based purely on what looks logical to you is the kind of influence most business schools teach," Goulston adds. "But if you have big goals and need people to be committed to them long term, it's a recipe for failure."
What works a whole lot better, he says, is to start by testing your perceptions against other people's reality. His book is packed with examples of effective influence from within successful companies like Costco (COST), Apple (AAPL), Nike (NKE), and Zappos, which can be boiled down to three main points:
1. Try thinking from the other side."Do you respond well when other people presume they're rational, logical, and absolutely right, and you're not? Of course you don't," says Goulston. "Other people don't like it, either." By contrast, "if you are open to influence when other points of view arise, you gain a lot of credibility -- and you'll probably make better decisions."
2. Don't try to win arguments."Trying to win implies that you are arguing, and this doesn't work, because it triggers people to defend themselves and provokes them to try to prevail over you," Goulston notes. "This isn't about winning or losing. It's about connecting and collaborating toward a great outcome."