Why you need to be influencing the right people.

In many mining organisations today, management still operates largely on a command and control basis. 

This means most employees go passive and wait to be told what to do.

The fact is most of us sleep walk through work and life, often getting away with taking as little responsibility as possible for how our lives and work affect outcomes. We think short term thinking what we are going to do tonight or who is going to mind the kids or how we don’t like our boss. 

Increasingly it is realised that human capital, employees, are the most valuable and indeed expensive part of most organisations. It is people that hold the keys to productivity, efficiency, creative solutions to problems, knowledge management, and optimising organisational performance overall. 

Leveraging the talents of people cannot occur in an organisation running on the old command and control model. Delegation, empowerment, ongoing development, honest conversations and inspiration are all required. 

There are organisations leading the way. These organisations are being rewarded not only in their overall performance but by the enhancement to their reputations which in turn leads to greater social licence and attracting and retaining the best employees. 

In such organisations everyone is a leader and invested in the success of the organisation and its wider impact on society and the environment. Issues still arise but are dealt with through difficult but honest conversations. The organisation and the employees are the better for it having a clear sense of purpose beyond quarterly production and financial outcomes. 

Hierarchies are less important.

Everyone is respected.

Work is done through teams including virtual teams across the organisation often formed spontaneously as required to deal with a particular issue.

Everyone is bought into the purpose of the organisation both emotionally and intellectually.

People can see the impact of the organisation on employees and on wider social and environmental issues.

They can be excited about their contribution individually and collectively to future wellbeing.

Employees are genuinely proud of what they are doing.

The organisations are genuinely making a real contribution to the future success of the communities in which they are located.

For mining organisations this is particularly an opportunity in rural and remote communities where mining companies are often the largest employers. 

As hierarchies break down, the informal networks take over. In an organisation which is empowering its employees, informal networks are they key way the organisation operates. Information is shared widely and facilitates change. 

Within informal networks there are always a few people who, irrespective of their seniority, are the major informal network points in an organisation. These key influencers are pivotal to what happens.   

And even in old fashioned hierarchical organisations, there are key influencers. Key influencers are able to build trust, are reliable and consistent, assertive but not aggressive. They are personable and focus on actions and outcomes rather than people. They play the ball and not the person. They listen to others and communicate effectively to a wide range of people using facts and stories. They care. They are respected. They are positive and love to see others succeed not just themselves because they are team players. 

Even in organisations which are still hierarchical, these key influencers are the beginnings of a new way of working. The informal networks is usually far more powerful than the formal. 

Who are the key influencers in your organisation?

What is their agenda?

Are you one of them?  Why not, or strive to be?

How well do you know the key influencers in your organisation?

Key influencers have lots of power, both hard power through their position but much greater is their soft power through their ability to influence others. 

Think about your network. 

How well networked are you in your organisation and beyond?

Many people do their day job but don’t put their head up to engage with others and to stop and think about how their workplace operates both formally and informally. 

I would argue that increasingly to be an effective and certainly successful employee networking is essential. Coffee conversations are where the action is as this is mostly where people get inspired to go for it rather than take a low profile and get away with the minimum. 

Who are the key influencers in your organisation?

Do you want to be one of them?

Does your network connect to the key influencers?

What outcomes do you want to achieve?

Make your organisation more successful in terms of all the 6 Capitals – its financial success, what it makes or manufactured capital, the human capital of its workforce, it’s social capital in the wider community, it’s intellectual capital of how to do things and its natural capital or impact on the environment. 

Be part of the future. Be engaged. Make a difference. Go for it.  

Rosemary Howard

Rosemary Howard

Facilitator, Coach and Mentor for CEOs and Senior Executives

Rosemary has over 30 years’ experience in executive leadership with a focus on technology, business and government. Leveraging this extensive experience, she facilitates programs designed to develop leaders and deliver commercial outcomes. Rosemary coaches high potential managers and executives and helps capacity build in strategy and capability development.