To bring others on board with a transformation, true leaders do not rely on force or persuasion. Instead, they enroll.

by Jennifer Zimmer

Enterprise-wide transformational initiatives cannot be forced from the top down. They can only occur when people throughout an organization are inspired to make change together, not because they have to but because they want to. A less effective leader will attempt to fabricate inspiration by simply explaining what needs to be done and waiting for others to fall in line. But commitment to a cause cannot be demanded.

True leaders take a more effective approach: They enroll others in the transformational process. They motivate others to participate and collaborate, and help them feel ownership over a strategy or vision.

A less effective leader will attempt to fabricate inspiration by simply explaining what needs to be done and waiting for others to fall in line.

But exactly how can such enrollment take place? The answer lies in a series of conversations leaders must have. No single conversation is more important than the rest; none can be skipped. Leaders must work through them all, sometimes more than once.

 

    1. Build the relationship: Ensure you have an authentic relationship and have built sufficient trust with the person you seek to enroll. This does not mean he or she has to like you. It simply means you have a mutual respect and understanding of commitments.
    2. Create the possibility: The possibility is what is in it for the other person, not for you. Focus on what will inspire them to take action consistent with that possibility. With enrollment, you are in the other person’s world, so you must design the conversation around their bull’s-eye.
    3. Describe the opportunity: People need to see clear pathways for accomplishing a goal. They need the process—the who, what, when, where and how—laid out for them. They need to see that it is feasible.
    4. Generate the action: This conversation is all about extending the invitation. It should be direct. Tell the person you are trying to enroll how you would like him or her to participate or support your effort and offer them something—such as more data on the project—in return. Always set a deadline around the request.
    5. Uncover possible breakdowns: There will always be facets of a project that do not go as planned. These possibilities should be addressed during an enrollment effort.

Ultimately, these conversations are what power transformations—not the raw expression of that power.


Jennifer Zimmer

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