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5 ways to influence change

by The NonProfit Times - March 8, 2013

One of the most discussed, yet least understood, aspects of leadership is change. Everyone talks about it but it’s an entirely different matter when it comes time to implement it. Add to that the fact that people generally don’t like change, it’s no wonder that implementing it is easier said than done.

John Oesch, the assistant professor of organizational behavior at the Ratman School of Management, wrote in the book “Five Good Ideas” that there are ways to influence and manage organizational change. By using empirical information about how staff and volunteers experience change, he was able to come up with the following five tips:

  • Highlight potential losses. Instead of only preaching the benefits of change, frame the absence of change as a loss.
  • Be explicit about “what’s in it for me.” If you engage your staff in the process, they will be more committed to making change work.
  • Minimize the bias towards the status quo. Come up with a set of alternatives to it, and if two or more of them are preferable, remove status quo from your list of courses of action.
  • Remember that a pull can be more powerful than a push.
  • Ask for a leap of faith. Tell your staff that the environment has changed, say how the organization will change, and ask them to join you on the journey.


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