Roundtable Member, Janey Piroli, Vice President, Global Organizational Development for McCain Foods, shares strategies for influencing people and building trust and equity in a new organization. You can also download the PDF here to read later.
Q: I recently moved from an organization that I had worked at for the past 15 years because it became apparent that I had hit a ceiling with respect to upward movement. I moved to a role in a different organization, but I underestimated the trust and equity I had built up at my previous organization. I’m finding it very challenging to influence people, my peers in particular. Any advice?
Janey’s Point of View
All of these same concerns flooded my mind as I walked into my new workplace. It felt like a test. Could I translate all that I had learned? Could I add value here? Would leadership extend the same level of trust in me that I had earned after 19 years with PepsiCo?
As a leader in Organizational Development, I often recommend the book, The First 90 Days. The author Michael Watkins reinforces that this is a critical “make or break” timeframe as opinions are sticky and they form quickly. His advice is to use the time wisely to shape the impression your manager, peers and team members have of you.
Culture & Context
The biggest mistake we often make is thinking that we earn credibility by proving how much we know. It puts us at risk of shaping and sharing our opinions before we understand the full context. I learned quickly that what works at one organization, would not always work for another.
My advice is to follow the principle “two ears and one mouth”; it will serve you well. Listen before you speak. Ask questions; be open to learning and ready to challenge the mental models you developed after working a decade and a half in one organization. It is better to respond with “from my past experience I see it this way… but would like to know how you think this translates here.” This demonstrates that you value their opinion, you are curious to learn and will ultimately help you make better decisions overall.
It is also important to remember that until they know who you are, they will care less about what you know. Take the time to create connection and cultivate these important relationships. In your first meeting with your new team and peers, in addition to sharing your credentials, share more about your personal background, interests, and take the time to learn more about theirs.
Finding out what matters to them personally and professionally is a key consideration as you work to partner and influence these important stakeholders. Investing the time in virtual “meet-n-greet” meetings or virtual “coffee breaks” will pay significant dividends down the road.
My last piece of advice is to create some early wins. I learned this in my first role as a maintenance manager in a manufacturing plant. You might have your vision set on big changes and your exciting plans. However, if you discover that it is the water drip from the leaky hose that is driving your people crazy – then fix that first! You’re guaranteed to earn some quick respect and that credibility you are seeking.
Meet Janey Piroli
Janey Piroli, Vice President, Global Organizational Development for McCain Foods, has a strong passion for talent development that she cultivated during her 24-year career with organizations such as PepsiCo and Walmart and as an Executive Coach with The Roundtable Inc. Her corporate experience spans the areas of organizational and leadership development, corporate learning, and diversity, inclusion and engagement.
She has worked across the disciplines of manufacturing, sales and human resources. Janey is also a certified Mindfulness Facilitator who is passionate about cultivating a more mindful workplace.