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Image: Kate Farrer and Miriam D’Souza of McKinsey & Co

NAWO’s NSW members enjoyed a thought provoking finale to 2016 at the ‘Negotiating and Influencing – from idea to impact’ Quick Bite event, which was generously hosted by McKinsey & Company.  Diane Utatao, incoming NAWO NSW State Committee Chair and Director – D&I Consulting Services, shares her key learnings from the event…


The NAWO Group welcomed several new city-based members at the event

Closing out 2016 with bubbly and great company the stage was truly set for a compelling discussion on NEGOTIATING & INFLUENCING hosted by global management consulting firm, McKinsey and Company.  A fitting tribute to a fantastic year and to Carlee McGowan who is stepping down from her role as NSW Chair for NAWO but fortunately staying on the committee.

Miriam D’Souza, Senior Implementation Lead and Kate Farrar, Implementation Lead at McKinsey, took turns presenting to an attentive NAWO group which had attracted a number of new city based members.

Miriam and Kate pointed to how critical it is to influence all stakeholders to adopt transformational change and shared some of their secrets on how to make this happen.

So, who are the Influencers and Opinion Leaders?  Apparently, these people are often not in a formal position of authority but can have a significant impact on transformational success.

Usually it’s not easy to identify these people in the initial stages as they are often ‘under engaged’.  In some cases, they are quiet, others can be more vocal.

One thing is for sure – they are Early Adoptors (innovators) and when they take something on, others will follow.

Opinion Leaders can be “tough nuts to crack” says Miriam and will ‘test’ the proposition. “They are role models, successful, willing to try out new things early but in a considered and intelligent way” according to Miriam.

Key tips to identify Opinion Leaders:

  • Some say “I’d like to be involved”
  • Early evidence of interest
  • Prepared to ‘ask’
  • Interested in new things
  • They get excited about new ideas/product
  • Sometimes can be very difficult to work with

To identify them you can’t ask: “who are your influencers?”, as you will usually be referred to people in a position of power. You need to ask the right people the right questions, for example:

  • Who would usually get asked to pilot something new?
  • Who will test?
  • Who will be fair?
  • Who will not adopt if they don’t see value?
  • Who would you get unbiased, objective feedback from?
  • Who is respected/admired in their peer group? Everyone listens to them!
  • Who are the most effective communicators?
  • Who gets thing done!!

Miriam introduced The Influence Model which demonstrates the key levers the CEO and key business managers need to role model and cover off in order to influence others to support the change.

Role Modelling

· Important to see leaders/colleagues behaving differently

· “I will change my mindset and behaviour if I see others doing the same”


Inspiring Conviction

· Frame it in a way to keep a consistent theme but make it real at a local level

· “I understand what is being asked of me why it is important”


Skills & Capability

·  “I have the skills, knowledge and capability to behave in the required new way”



Reinforcing Mechanism

·       “I see our structures, processes and systems support the changes I am being asked to make”


The presenters linked the use of Digital channels to support influencing interventions potentially getting cut through from CEO to the crew and vice versa.

Using Digital in the Influencing Model:


· Blogs (eg Dominic Barton)

· Instant messaging (Twitter)

· Streaming videos



· Instant messaging (eg. Twitter)

· Videos on crew transport

· Intranet – personal stories



· Online induction/training

· Digital apps for daily coaching

· Interactive webinar sessions




· E-barometer – how is the team feeling? Once a week then have team conversations

· Digital SOPs on tough tables

· Real time performance dashboards


 Dean, Implementation Manager with McKinsey, said that in order to get difficult people across the line you need to ask questions to understand their perspective and you must have persistence. The worst case is indifference – people who just don’t care.

Most people adopt change progressively, for example

  • 2.5%  Innovators
  • 13.5% Early Adopters
  • 34%   Early Majority
  • 34%   Late Majority
  • 16%   Laggards – last on board, often suspicious, set in their ways, slow to adopt

Tips for your Framing your Change Story: 

  • World view – this is best in class
  • This is why we are doing this
  • Repetition works
  • Twitter length for communication and no more
  • Encapsulate what you want to say
  • Same story, same words, different channels
  • Balance between repetition and boring
  • Cannot influence others if you don’t believe in it yourself!

NAWO’s fabulous NSW State Committee Members Diane Utatao and Carlee McGowan

Thanks to Miriam, Kate and Dean for their intriguing models, frameworks and insights. The evening concluded with a formal thankyou to Carlee McGowan for her passion and enthusiasm over the past two years as NAWO NSW Chair.

Special thanks to McKinsey and Company for hosting this event.  The hospitality and great networking was enjoyed by all.



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