Path from resistance to innovation: find and use your internal influencers

“Individuals are simultaneously emotional and rational, so how we feel about something often gets in the way of how we think about it. This is particularly the case when human beings are confronted with complexity. When it comes to changing something important about what we do and how we do it, we crave simplicity so we can navigate the fear of the new and unknown—and it really helps when we can look to peers and colleagues for insight, support, and encouragement, if not positive personal experience. When people we trust and admire clearly model and encourage a few key behaviors, those behaviors spread much more quickly, and they stick.”

Extrapolated from this excellent article is a key driver to allow innovation to flow and not be resisted. Not have the “CEO” ignite an innovative culture, instead identify internal influencers at all levels of your company. See who are the people that others look up to, respect. Tap into the people who most need, want, get what you are trying to implement.

“You’ve picked the behaviors you need to change or energize. You understand which facets of your existing culture can help spread the new behaviors you are seeking. Now, focus your efforts on a critical few groups and specific people within the organization who can help bring this transformation about and make it last.”

But those internal influencers should not be the ones to use to be ambassadors of your new culture.
Instead you should learn from them “what they do differently that appeals to their co-workers on an emotional level, what works, what doesn’t—and then work with them to codesign a specific set of tools that will encourage others to follow their lead.”