In Selling to the C-Suite, Nicholas Read and Steven Bistritz explain that “people build influence by first acclimating to the prevailing belief system of how things should work (the company’s philosophy) and working within the rules (the company’s policies)” and I agree.
For example, a former executive of Telecom New Zealand who was given the task of driving business transformation in a company that was resistant to change recalls:
“You can’t afford to scare the horses, or they’ll bolt and you’ll never catch them. Even though you’re the only white horse in the herd, you must throw a blanket on that makes you look like a brown horse, and get close to all the other brown horses so that they get to know you. Over time, you can let the blanket drop a little until they see that you’re a white horse. But by then you’ve eaten the same hay and galloped in the same fields long enough that the horses have learned to trust you as one of their own. And of course, when the right horses neigh in your favor, the rest of the herd follows.”
He first operated within the philosophy and policies of his company, created value, built a track record, and developed his network with various stakeholders so that he could drive change that would be supported.”