Influencing New Employees to Adopt Your Small Business Culture

What is the difference between influence and impact and how can you use this to enhance your career? On today’s show, we’re pleased to welcome back Bill Berman, Founder of Berman Leadership Development and author of “Influence and Impact: Discover and Excel at What Your Organization Needs from you the Most.” In this segment, Berman continues the conversation regarding leadership influence in business.

Transcription:

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Bill, thanks so much for joining us once again on the show.

Bill Berman:
Great to see you again, Jim, I’m really happy to be here.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Sure. Last time you were on, we talked about your new book. Talk to us about some of the feedback you’ve been receiving on that.

Bill Berman:
I’m getting a lot of positive feedback on various parts of it, but I think probably the best feedback I’ve gotten was from two business school professors who told me they’re recommending it for their students. So I think that’s a real endorsement when somebody’s giving it to their students, so I’m very excited about that.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Boy, I bet you are. That’s fantastic. And that’s only two that yet you know of, I’m sure others are doing the same. It’s a great book. I highly recommend it to those people that are watching us have this conversation today. It is a book that you need on your bookshelf, but you need to read it. I know there’s many books out there that you might have bought and put on your bookshelf and said, “I’m going to read that one day,” and I’ve been a victim of that. In this case, don’t do that. This is a book you need to read. So you talk a lot about knowing the culture of your organization. Why is this so important? Shouldn’t they be able to just be themselves?

Bill Berman:
There’s always a balance between what people call being themselves and adapting to the culture that you’re in. If you’re going to another country, if you’re going to Japan or France, if you act just the way you act when you’re in the United States, they’re going to view you in a particular way. If you make some minor changes in how you interact, how you talk to people, what you say to them and how you say it, you’re going to be much more accepted and embraced in those countries. There’s no difference in a company. When I go from one company that say has a very open and flexible culture, a startup culture where everybody’s running around, that’s very different than going into a well-established, stable, cautious company. And if you don’t make the shifts that you need to make, then you’re not going to be successful. And that’s not really about who you are. That’s about how you behave.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Are people afraid to make that change?

Bill Berman:
I think sometimes people are afraid to make the change. I think sometimes they make the mistake of thinking that how I talk to somebody or how I make decisions is a part of their identity. And when you get caught up and when the superficial parts of who you are, become a critical part of your identity, then that becomes a problem. Everybody has to make their own judgment there. We all have things that are a critical part of who we are. But I think you have to look at that carefully and say, “How critical is that to who I am, and is that important enough to me to give up on what I want in an organization or in a company in order to maintain that part of myself?” And everybody has to make that judgment for themselves?

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah, for sure. Can you take us through an example of how you help someone have a bigger impact through influence?

Bill Berman:
Absolutely. I had a client who, similar to what I just said. He came from a startup company where they were very rough and tumble, people were confrontational, people were aggressive. Because they were in such a rush to, to grow and to build the organization that they had an understanding with each other, that it was okay to express your feelings and speak openly and get into a battle with people if you needed to. He moved to a company that was much more cautious, much more conservative, much more collaborative in that sense.

Bill Berman:
And so all of a sudden, things that he was able to make decisions about in his prior company, he had to spend days or weeks getting other people aligned to that, and he had a terrible time with that. So he and I sat down, we went through, we decided who his stakeholders were. We helped him figure out what they were looking for from him. And that helped him to deliver that in a more effective way. He was very effective. He got an enormous amount of things done and he accelerated parts of the company that really needed to be moved forward. But he started doing it in a more collaborative way, in a more cautious way, bringing people along with him and that made all the difference for him.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Oh, I could imagine, for sure. So, issues of inclusion and equality are particularly important these days. Organizations need to do better at being open to different approaches and different ways of thinking. What does your book have to say about that?

Bill Berman:
We want to make sure that people are heard. We want to make sure that people are understood. We want to make sure that people feel seen and recognized. And that’s a critical part of the changes we’re making, because that hasn’t always been the case. What we talk about is that there’s a difference between discriminating among people. So making decisions about whose capable and who’s not and discriminating against people. And when an organization, when somebody feels like they’re being discriminated against, there are a number of steps they can take to try to sort that out and try to figure out what their options are. I had a colleague of mine, Greg Pennington, write a chapter specifically on diversity and inclusion in the workplace, as it relates to influence and impact, because he’s had 50 years of experience doing this and dealing with this.

Bill Berman:
It’s an important balance. I think you have to listen to what other people are telling you and you have to pay attention to how you make people feel rather than what you think you’re doing. One of the big problems that a lot of executives have is they think, “I know why I’m doing this. I have an explanation for myself of why I’m doing what I’m doing,” but how they make people feel is completely different. And if they’re making people feel bad, if they’re hurting people’s feelings or making them feel uncomfortable, it doesn’t matter what their intentions are. You really have to focus on what your impact is, how you affect other people, how you make them feel, not what you thought you were doing.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. And we all communicate differently. And it is important for people to know how they’re impacting others and making them feel. And I’ve been on both sides of that. As both somebody that’s been in a group setting and working for a company, and then at the same time, being the leader of the company and coming back around and having someone say, “I understand what you were trying to say, Jim, and what you did say, but the way that you said it, came across in a very negative way.” And I felt bad about that later because I didn’t want that to be the result of my conversation with the group. So it’s true, it really is. And I think we’ve all seen that.

Bill Berman:
We often don’t pay attention to our nonverbal cues, the messages we’re giving by our posture, our behavior, our tone of voice, but we’re very sensitive to how other people’s non behavior communicates to us. And we just have to be… Self-awareness is critical to being an executive. If you don’t understand how you’re coming across and what the effect of your behaviors, what the impact of your behavior is, you’re never going to be as successful as you could be.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right. And you want people to want to follow you, not have to follow you and a good way to achieve that obviously is through effective communication with them, right? And how you make them feel. So let me ask you this. What happens if you go through the exercises in the book and discover that you’re not in the right job?

Bill Berman:
It’s really tough for people to discover they’re not in the right job. And if you go through the process of understanding your values, understanding your strengths, understanding what the job is according to the people who are in your organization, and you realize for some reason, there’s not a match between those two, the first thing you have to do is deal with the feelings when you recognize that I’m not in the right place for me, because that can cause you to feel sad, angry, frustrated, disappointed, a whole lot of emotions.

Bill Berman:
So the first thing you have to do is deal with those feelings, but then, you have to shift gears and think about, “Well, where can I find a job that does fit with my strengths and my values?” And maybe that job is in your organization. And so it’s another job in the organization, or maybe it’s in another organization together. But I see a lot of people who spend months and years trying to get themselves to fit into a job that just isn’t right for them, and it’s really frustrating for everybody involved.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
Yeah. I think at some point in time, most people have dealt with that in their own careers, but we’ve all seen it in others where we’ll… Whether it be a relative of ours or a son or a daughter or brother or sister that we know, that individual is just not in the right position and it creates problems in their personal lives as well, right?

Bill Berman:
Absolutely. And a lot of times people feel like they’re stuck and sometimes they are. I’m not naive. I think it’s important to understand that some people really can’t change jobs or can’t change companies, but a lot of people have more ability to change and shift gears than they think, and that’s important to really evaluate.

Jim Fitzpatrick:
I would agree with that wholeheartedly. What advice would you give to a manager who has an employee that has just stalled in their career?

Bill Berman:
I would hand them the book, honestly. I would say, “Here’s the answer to your problem,” because if they’re stuck, it’s either because they’re in the wrong job or they don’t understand what the job is, or they’re not doing the job the way they ought to be doing it. And it doesn’t mean they’re failing, they may be doing okay for the job they’re in, but a lot of us want to move ahead and get more responsibility and more benefits that go along with that responsibility. And you may not be doing the things that say, “I can do more.” And that’s fundamentally what influence is all about is being the go-to person who gets the job done. And who says to the organization, “I can do more for you.”

Jim Fitzpatrick:
That’s right, which is what we all want. We want that as an employer, as an employee, it’s a win-win situation. And Bill Berman, Executive Coach, Author, founder of Berman Leadership Development. The book is an awesome book. We’re showing it here and how to get it. You can also click onto the link below this conversation and order the book. So do yourself a favor. Do your people a favor and hell, buy one for every team member. So we did it for here for our company. We highly recommend it for yours. So Bill, thanks so much for joining us once again on the show.

Bill Berman:
Great to see you, Jim. Thanks for having me.


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