Ask an expert
What can you do when an opinion leader is negative about the organization and any changes?
Ineffective or negative leaders have detrimental business effects, but most organizations don’t see it or don’t know what to do about it. If your most “in the know” opinion leader isn’t on board with an upcoming change (or any changes), it poses a risk to swaying the opinion of others to more negativity.
There are a couple things to think about. An opinion leader (or leaders) is important to your work ecosystem. They bring value to the work environment beyond the work that they do. Some opinion leaders are forces of positivity; others always seem to know the good gossip. Some may be well-respected for their skills, while others are just fun to be around because they bring the best snacks and stories.
Perform a health check of your change leader coalition, including the executive sponsor, business leaders, and opinion leaders. This check is two-dimensional. Are they supportive, neutral, or against this specific change? How influential are they? When you target intervention with individuals who are against or neutral and who are influential, that intervention often needs to be done one-on-one.
If the individual is negative about the organization, not just the change, it may be a sign that a harder conversation needs to occur. Understanding where someone is coming from and setting expectations to mitigate negativity is a reasonable request, especially for individuals in formal and informal roles of influence.
Barbari Griesse is a vice president of Avaap’s change management practice and a Prosci® Certified Advanced Instructor. She is an experienced leader and expert in organizational change management, organizational effectiveness, executive leadership, and organization development. Connect with Barbari to learn how you can build your team’s resilience to change.
You have questions
we have answers
Ask an Expert is a weekly blog series where Avaap experts answer your burning questions about digital transformation, change management, analytics, and more.
Submit your questions today!