Getting The Team On Your Side
When we find ourselves among like-minded individuals, there is an incredible feeling of being bonded, seen and understood. It’s that feeling of unity. In fact, there’s a term for this phenomenon, and it’s called homophily. It’s the natural tendency for people to gravitate towards others who are similar to them or share common interests. A fantastic example of this can be found in employee resource groups, which provide an amazing opportunity to connect and build a community with like-minded individuals.
But while connecting with those who share our perspectives and experiences is essential, it’s equally important to step outside of our comfort zones and engage with diverse groups. According to a recent study, diverse teams make better decisions 66 percent of the time. Diversity is critical for a team’s success. But how and where can we start? Below are a few strategies on building bridges with others.
1. Think Bigger
When it comes to getting our ideas approved, it’s easy to think our manager is the only person that matters. After all, they are the final decision-makers. However, we need to think bigger. While their approval is crucial, they’re not the only stakeholders who can make a difference. In fact, it’s strategic to seek approval from others beyond just our manager because if others like our ideas, we are increasing the chances of our manager giving us that yes we want.
Consider the following:
- In Our Network – When it comes to thinking bigger and gathering support for our ideas, casting a wide net is key. Think about the people we currently work with or those with whom we have established relationships with. These individuals can be valuable allies in supporting our ideas. They might be colleagues in our immediate team or from a different departments. By leveraging the power of our network, we can expand our support base and increase our influence.
- Outside Of Our Network – Looking beyond our immediate network is an essential aspect of garnering support for our ideas. While our existing relationships within the organization is valuable, seeking external support from industry or business experts can be a game-changer. Engaging with industry experts allows us to tap into their knowledge, experience, and insights. Their endorsement lends credibility and can serve as a powerful endorsement for our proposal. It demonstrates that our idea has been vetted and has the potential to make a real impact. By involving industry or business experts, we demonstrate that our idea is not only relevant within our organization but also aligns with broader industry trends and best practices. That is how we can make a compelling case for our idea.
2. Pyramid Of Influence
Now that we have our list of key stakeholders and people who we can talk to, where they fall in our ‘pyramid of influence’ will differ. Our pyramid is a way of categorizing the people whom we want to talk to in or out of our network. Each person, depending on where they sit, will provide a particular influence or insight. This strategy will ensure our outreach is targeted, maximizing our chances of making the most compelling case for our idea. Here are the three levels:
Pyramid Of Influence:
- Advisors – This is the largest group in our pyramid of influence: our advisors. These are the individuals who we want to run our ideas by because they have specialized knowledge or expertise. Our advisors play a critical role in helping us refine and flesh out the details of our concept. Engaging with advisors not only helps us shape our idea more clearly, but also provides us with a solid foundation for moving forward. Their expertise and advice can save us time, resources, and potential pitfalls.
- Endorsers – Next within our pyramid of influence: our endorsers. These are the individuals whose buy-in and support can help us secure our idea. Our endorsors hold an amount of sway and influence that can help propel our idea forward by helping us push it through. Their support, their network, can build credibility for our idea because they like it and want to rally behind it.
- Approvers – Finally, the individuals who sit at the pinnacle of our pyramid: the approvers. These are the key decision-makers who hold the authority to give the approval for our project. These will often be our manager. However, by the time we reach this point, we will have already connected with our advisors and endorsers, which will have made our case to our approver much stronger. Knowing that, the chances of them saying yes to our idea goes up significantly.
Getting the team on board with our idea may require some time and effort, but it’s strategic. If we can showcase a multitude of supporters who believe in our idea, we can approach our approvers with confidence.
The concept of building our pyramid of influence encourages us to expand our horizons and think beyond our immediate community. In the workplace, the most successful individuals understand the importance of collaborating with diverse groups across various levels and at different times. This is where the true power lies—in numbers and diversity.
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