LIGC Blog Post 5 – Power and Influence

Today’s simulation, titled “Power and Influence”, gave us the opportunity to lead organization-wide strategic change for the fictitious sunglasses company, Spectrum Sunglass. The main objective was to gain support for a sustainability initiative. I experienced how when a leader suggests change, they may be met with resistance. I realized this when I noticed some colleagues would have their opinions unchanged after I made several decisions. In the debrief, I learned about the various factors leading to resistance including fear of the unknown, active/passive aggression, and anger over unwanted change. The next time I find myself leading change, I will take advantage of knowing the social network of my colleagues. It is helpful to know who is connected with who, both professionally and socially, because of the possibility of indirect influence.  Indirect influence gains support and helps change to be enacted.

Before this simulation, I did not fully understand the effects of power, influence, and urgency on leadership dynamics. The simulation showed how one’s credibility has a tremendous effect on the way others respond in the workplace. As CEO, my credibility was high from the start, so it was relatively easy to sway people to adopt the initiative. There was less of a chance of my credibility score decreasing with the choices I made. However, in the second round of the simulation, I was the director of product innovation with a lower credibility. Because of this, my choices had a heavier impact on my credibility score. If I made risky decisions too soon, my credibility score would dramatically decrease. Urgency also played a role; the first part was a high urgency situation addressing a performance gap. This high urgency was another factor which helped people adopt the initiative. The second part had less urgency, as it was addressing an opportunity gap. This was the reason why it was more challenging to sway people to adopt the sustainability initiative. 

This simulation experience reminded me of the second simulation we ran, “Patient Zero”. There was a similar concept of adaptive leadership, specifically organizational justice— making decisions best for the team. In Patient Zero, we had to make tough decisions which were best for the country, even if it decreased public morale or if it was an unethical choice. In Power and Influence, I had to convince people to side with the sustainability initiative, despite their concerns, for the good of the company. The most obvious difference between these two simulations is the setting and context. The stakes of Patient Zero were much higher and more stressful than Power and Influence. Also, Patient Zero required quick thinking while Power and Influence required a methodical mindset. 

The difference between crisis management and urgency can be seen in Judgement in a Crisis vs Power and Influence. In Judgement in a Crisis, an unexpected, pressing event occurred requiring an instant response. Crisis management were the decisions made which contained the crisis. Urgency can be either low or high, as exemplified in Power and Influence. Urgency does not necessarily demand an immediate response and is not as harmful as a crisis.

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