The Key to Influence: Make your Voice Bigger


cat_tiger crop

Influence and Difficult People

The topic of how to influence difficult people, comes up in my work all the time. (At all levels.)

One of the most useful tools in the influence tool kit is to make your voice bigger.

What I mean by this is to never get into a situation where it’s your opinion vs. someone else’s opinion.

If you are only arguing with your own voice, your own idea, your own opinion, you are missing a source of power that can change the game entirely.

When you are in the situation where you know you are right and what you are recommending is really important, it can be very frustrating when no one is supporting you.

“Why should we listen to YOU?”

Many years ago, early in my career when I had a job as a product manager, I stumbled into a disagreement with the product development team.

One day I went to the group of product developers who were all sitting a room finishing a meeting and said,

“Do you have a minute to discuss the next product release? I wanted to let you know that we need to make a change to the user interface to say [a different thing], so that customers will not be confused anymore.”

In the grand scheme of things, this was a very small change in terms of scope, effort, and reason for controversy.

However, instead of the expected answer of, “OK”, I was confronted with,

“And who are you, that you think you can tell us what to put into the product?”

Sadly, my answer of “I’m the product manager,” held no weight with them.

They replied instead, “What makes you think you are smarter than we are?”

So my reply was this:

I do not think I am smarter than you are. I certainly hope I am not smarter than you are! Because we’re all counting on you to be brilliant.

But in my role as a product manager, it’s my job to talk to customers. In the past 6 weeks, I’ve talked to 75 customers and 71 of them pretty much insisted that we make this change to the UI, because it was causing so much confusion in their organizations.

What makes you think you are smarter than 71 paying customers?

They made the change.

What if the difficult person is your boss?

Sometimes the person blocking you is your boss. This can be really frustrating.

I have had a saying for a long time:

Never blame your failure on the fact that your boss is stupid

If your boss is blocking you, and your boss is wrong, don’t let your career get damaged by a their bad decision. But also remember that you don’t win against your boss.

If the disagreement is between just you and your boss, and you know in your heart that your career will suffer more if you agree with your boss than if you hold your ground, you need to find a way forward.

But going forward without the support of your boss and hoping they will come to appreciate what you did when it is finished, is a very risky strategy.

By employing the voices of others, you can create much more support for your idea and garner enough influence to help your boss to see the way forward.

Making your voice bigger

Never just use your own voice in an argument.

Find others to strengthen it.

It might be customers. It might be peers of the person. It might be others in the organization. It might be the assistant to the executive or the spouse!

I will tell you that I have employed all of these people at one time or another in my career to help make my voice bigger.

It’s not about being right personally. It’s about getting the right result.

And very often it requires a chorus of people to be saying something to create influence with a difficult person.

What do you think?

Join the conversation about this on my Facebook page Patty Azzarello Practical Business Advice for Humans.


About Patty
patty blog image crop

Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Advisor. She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35 and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk)

You can find Patty at www.AzzarelloGroup.com, follow her on twitter or facebook

Creating High Employee Engagement



This month’s Professional Development webinar was on the topic of Creating High Employee Engagement.

Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 4.41.50 PM

Get the webinar

If you missed it you can download the recording.

Members of my professional development program can download this webinar for free.

This is a very useful webinar to download if you want to:

  • Increase the energy, commitment and motivation in your team
  • Create a loyal community within your organization
  • Keep your team focused on executing your strategy
  • Create strong support for your initiatives within the organization
  • Get people to care personally about what is important to the business

Here is what we talked about:

Real Engagement is Personal

This is an important topic because so often executives want to create an “Engagement Program,” or they ask HR to solve an employee motivation issue.

A programatic approach will never have enough impact on genuine employee engagement because real engagement is always personal.

If someone is truly engaged it’s because they care personally. They have their own reason to be excited about what they are being asked to do.

The trick to meaningful employee engagement is to give individual people reasons to actually care personally.

The webinar:

I put together this webinar to give leaders ideas and specific techniques for creating genuine engagement and motivation in their teams.

What the webinar covered:

  • How to make engagement personal
  • How to make your employees feel like super-heroes
  • 4 things that truly create strong engagement
    1. The right kinds of top down communications
    2. Changing Communication into Conversation
    3. Decorating the Change
    4. Getting the crap out of the way

Making people feel like super-heroes

I got this feedback once from someone who used to work in my organization:

“Patty, when I worked for you, I was Superman”

Ever since then, I’ve thought that to be a pretty good measure of how I am doing as a leader.

What more could you want than for your people to feel like super-heroes? Powerful, capable, trusted, respected, and motivated to do big things.

Change your idea of communication to conversation

One of the main ideas that ran through the webinar and is fundamental to true engagement is Conversation.

Many leaders make the mistake of thinking that communicating their strategy is going to cause forward movement.

Just because you said what the strategy is, doesn’t mean that your organization will suddenly optimize itself to do the right things to implement it.

The only way to know that your strategy has taken hold is if you hear your organization talking about it among themselves without your involvement.

In the webinar, I shared many ideas for how to make lively bottoms-up and peer-wise communications happen more naturally.

When people are talking, they are engaged.

Get the crap out of the way

Annoying things often overlooked as not being huge problems, or just as being chronic, non-negotiable challenges in the environment, are very damaging to motivation and engagement.

As leaders we need to stay aware of the persistent, annoying stuff that gets in the way or our teams.

This can come in the form of negativity, uncertainty, unmade decisions, changing course too frequently, broken processes, too many bad meetings… The list is endless.

As leaders we need to be always vigilant about searching out chaos and obstacles and eliminating them from the environment.

Work is hard enough without letting unnecessary things fester that make it worse.

This webinar is loaded with valuable resources

This webinar will give you many ideas for creating the right kinds of communications and conversations, as well as how to make the changes you want to see more tangible motivation in your organization and environment.

And it includes worksheets and templates for creating conversations, decorating the change, employee led communications, and for listening and sharing information with key stakeholder groups.

Members: Download this webinar for free.

Non Members: You can purchase this individual webinar or podcast (links below).

More, useful webinars for motivating your team:

As a member, just around this topic of increasing engagement, you can also get these additional webinars for free on:

So if you are not yet a member, you might as well join and get them all for free!

Join Now
Join Now.

TODAY ONLY
USE CODE: ENGAGE
AT CHECKOUT TO SAVE $30 ON YOUR MEMBERSHIP

Let me be your mentor

thumbnail.ashx

Members of the Azzarello Group program for Professional Development basically get me as their mentor.

Every month you get new insights and tools in the form of these webinars, as well as the chance to call into a monthly members-only coaching hour where you can get direct personal coaching from me.

People tell me that membership gives them a totally new way of thinking about their career, getting promotions, solving difficult problems with bosses, peers, employees, and other annoying people, communicating better, being more influential, becoming a stronger leader, and enjoying their work more. I love to hear this, and I love to help!

If you join now, you’ll not only get this webinar, but all the other webinars in the Member Library.

AND you’ll get the opportunity to participate in monthly Coaching Hour conference calls with me.
Check out what we talk about.

AND as a member you’ll get to download your copy of the Career Year of action Guide (a $30 value) for free.

Membership to Azzarello Group is a great resource (and a steal at $179 for a whole year) to help you advance your career.

TODAY ONLY
USE CODE: ENGAGE
AT CHECKOUT TO SAVE $30 ON YOUR MEMBERSHIP

Join Now
Join Now

high engagement

Purchase just this webinar ($19.99)
Purchase just this podcast ($9.99)

What do you think?

Join the conversation about this on my Facebook page Patty Azzarello Practical Business Advice for Humans.


About Patty
patty blog image crop

Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Advisor. She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35 and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk)

You can find Patty at www.AzzarelloGroup.com, follow her on twitter or facebook

Communication vs. Conversation: The Monday MOVE Idea


Screen Shot 2017-02-27 at 10.54.57 AM

Communicating is not Enough

The Monday MOVE Idea: Communication vs. Conversation

Each Monday until the launch of my upcoming book MOVE (Tomorrow!!!), I’m sharing an important idea from the book.

The right measure of communication success is never about how clearly you think you have communicated. The only right measure is about how much your audience has internalized.

You need to be ready to consider this first telling of your strategy as pretty much a throw-away effort. Yes, it’s a step in the process. Yes, you need to communicate top down….

Change Communication to Conversation

But to genuinely communicate, and to get your message internalized, and for your transformation to take hold, you need to create a fundamental shift in the way that you think about communication.

You need to change your existing idea of communication to instead become conversation — that involves everyone.

The Measure of Success

You have communicated successfully only when the people in your organization are talking about it among themselves.

For your transformation to work, the change must be part of the social fabric of the whole organization in a very real way — and that happens through conversation.

Only when you can approach an employee at any level at random and ask, what is the most important thing for us to be doing right now, and why? — and get the same answer most of the time — then you can say that your communication has been successful.

MOVE launches tomorrow!

I’m excited to share more information about creating conversation and all the other ideas I put into MOVE to help you execute your strategy more decisively.

So that also means that there is…

One day left to win a 1-1 executive coaching program with me

Learn more in the video or click here to enter.

Download a free preview of MOVE

azzarello_final_3D trxDownload a free preview of MOVE now

What do you think?

Join the conversation about this on my Facebook page Patty Azzarello Practical Business Advice for Humans.


About Patty
patty blog image crop

Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Advisor. She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35 and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk)

You can find Patty at www.AzzarelloGroup.com, follow her on twitter or facebook

Coping with a difficult business situation



courage2

“Courage does not always roar”

I really like this quote from Mary Anne Radmacher.

I write this in a week when all of my best laid plans and commitments have been washed away by the flooding rains and power outages in California.

This, the week before my new book MOVE is released…when there were many important things to do.

One of the themes in MOVE is that leaders need to have Valor. And sometimes Valor is the patience and willingness to cope — to simply show up and try again tomorrow.

Authentic Success

My first book RISE was about individual effectiveness and success. It focused on building career success in an authentic way, that respects others and the fact that you have life outside work that matters.

MOVE is the next step. It’s about organizational effectiveness and success.

People have asked me, “Were you able to keep the authentic theme in MOVE too?”

Absolutely! That’s the point.

The Middle is the hard part

Here’s what I mean.

A primary theme in MOVE is about “The Middle,” meaning that while the kick-off of a new strategy is exciting and well supported, and the end goals are very motivating, it’s the Middle that’s the hard (and not most exciting) part. Strategies tend to fall apart and lose momentum in the Middle.

As a leader it’s important to keep showing up every day because:

The Middle is where literally everything needs to happen!

And the Middle is fraught with surprises, changes, challenges, short term pressures, apathy, skepticism, boredom, and sometimes even personal attacks.

The strongest leaders are often the ones who are willing show up again tomorrow — to try again, and to keep going, and to continue to engage their team in an authentic way — throughout the whole Middle.

Leadership takes courage, patience, and often stubborn persistence.

Coping is adding value

A mentor of mine taught me a very important lesson. He said to me, “Patty, never underestimate the value of simply coping”.

Courage does not always roar.

Don’t underestimate the value of coping — coping, and being willing to show up again tomorrow.

Authentic success is a wonderful thing

In MOVE I give lots of practical strategies for coping, having Valor and preserving your energy and sanity as a leader throughout the entire Middle.

Because if you keep showing up, you can really do great things together with your team.

Every manager should read MOVE. And I’m not saying that just to sell books. I’d really like to help.

MOVE is a practical handbook for dealing with the reality of how hard business execution is, and for mastering the things that can make the difference between success and stalling out. I’d like to help every leader gain the business and personal success they desire.

Keep going!

Download a free preview of MOVE

azzarello_final_3D trxDownload a free preview of MOVE now

What do you think?

Join the conversation about this on my Facebook page Patty Azzarello Practical Business Advice for Humans.


About Patty
patty blog image crop

Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Advisor. She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35 and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk)

You can find Patty at www.AzzarelloGroup.com, follow her on twitter or facebook

The Monday MOVE Idea: What do YOU need to move forward?


The Monday MOVE Idea

Each Monday until the launch of my upcoming book MOVE, I’m sharing an important idea about the book. This week, it’s about YOU. I’d like to help you move something forward that is important to you, whether that’s a business initiative, a team transformation, or your career.

Win a 1-1 executive coaching program with me

To enter to win a 6 hour, personalized, 1-1, exeuctive coaching program with me, all you need to do is pre-order the Hardcopy or buy the kindle version before Feb 28, and send your receipt to movepreorder@gmail.com.

Pre-Order MOVE and win a 1-1 Coaching Program with Me

MOVE will be available February 28, but if you pre-order your copy now you’ll be entered into a drawing to win a 6-hour, 1-1 executive coaching program with me. There will be TWO winners! And you’ll have up to 1 year to use the 6 hours of coaching.

Click to pre-order and enter.

Move thumb

I’m really excited to share the important ideas, and all the tools I put in my upcoming book MOVE to help you get your team (at any organizational level) to execute your strategy more decisively.


About Patty
patty blog image crop

Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Advisor. She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35 and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk)

You can find Patty at www.AzzarelloGroup.com, follow her on twitter or facebook