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How can OD Professionals influence leaders to drive organization change?

Influencing leaders


Influencing leaders within organizations is crucial for driving organizational development (OD) initiatives and fostering positive change. Here are seven strategies that OD practitioners can employ to influence leaders effectively:

  1. Build Trust and Credibility: Establishing trust and credibility with leaders is essential for gaining their support and buy-in. OD practitioners should demonstrate expertise, professionalism, and commitment to the organization’s goals. By delivering high-quality work, building rapport, and maintaining confidentiality, practitioners can earn the trust of leaders and become valued partners in driving organizational success.
  2. Understand Their Priorities and Concerns: To influence leaders effectively, OD practitioners must understand their priorities, concerns, and motivations. By listening to leaders’ perspectives, asking insightful questions, and empathizing with their challenges, practitioners can tailor their approaches and recommendations to align with leaders’ needs and objectives.
  3. Communicate Effectively: Effective communication is vital in influencing leaders and gaining their support for OD initiatives. Practitioners should communicate their ideas, recommendations, and insights in a clear, concise, and compelling manner. Using data, case studies, and real-life examples can help illustrate the potential benefits of OD initiatives and convince leaders of their value.
  4. Provide Evidence-Based Recommendations: Leaders are likelier to support OD initiatives backed by evidence and data. OD practitioners should conduct thorough research, analysis, and evaluation to inform their recommendations and demonstrate their effectiveness. Presenting empirical evidence, benchmarking data, and best practices can help build a strong case for investing in OD initiatives.v

Institute of Organization provides training and certification solutions for individuals and teams.  For more information about our programs and how we can support you in creating a systems approach to change, please contact us at info@instituteod.com or check out our website www.instituteod.com/enterprise/

  1. Develop Relationships and Networks: Building relationships with key stakeholders and influencers can enhance the effectiveness of OD practitioners’ influence efforts. Practitioners should proactively engage with leaders, build networks across the organization, and seek opportunities to collaborate on shared goals and initiatives. By fostering positive relationships and alliances, practitioners can leverage the support of influential leaders to drive change.
  2. Demonstrate Value and Impact: OD practitioners should continuously demonstrate the value and impact of their work to leaders. By effectively tracking and measuring key performance indicators, conducting regular evaluations, and communicating success stories and testimonials, OD practitioners can demonstrate results and tie back to business goals. By highlighting the tangible benefits of OD initiatives, practitioners can reinforce leaders’ confidence in their ability to drive positive change.
  3. Be Flexible and Adaptive: OD practitioners should be flexible and adaptive in their approach to influencing leaders. Organizational priorities, contexts, and dynamics may change, requiring practitioners to adjust their strategies and tactics accordingly. By remaining agile and responsive to evolving needs and challenges, practitioners can effectively influence leaders and drive sustainable change within organizations.

About the Author

Dr. Nancy Zentis, Ph.D.,
CEO and Founder of the Institute of Organization Development. Contact: nancy.zentis@instituteod.com. The Institute of Organization Development offers online Certification Programs on Organization Development, OD Process Consulting, Talent Management, Executive Coaching

 IOD also sponsors GIODN.org, a global OD Professional Membership Organization, offering member benefits such as a Professional Directory, OD Tools, Monthly Events, a Job Board, and Member Connect.  If you are interested in joining, click here.


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