Based on assigned readings in Module 5 (“Colorado State University,” 2012), this journal entry reviews the author’s strategies as a change management consultant for building and improving relationships in client organizations. The discussion then considers the effectiveness of these strategies relative to the author’s workplace environment including the author’s approach for mitigating relationship issues in the event the strategies prove ineffective.
Strategies for Building and Improving Relationships
The effectiveness of a political navigator depends on strong interpersonal relationships built through competent communication and respectful action (Cialdini, 2001; Gilley, 2006; Lewicki, Barry, & Saunders, 2006). As Cummings and Worley (2009) observe, “Establishing a healthy relationship at the onset makes it more likely that the client’s desired outcomes will be achieved . . .” (p. 81). Therefore, as a consultant, the author predominantly relies on two sets of sequentially reinforcing strategies for initiating and creating synergistic client relationships.
Strategies for Initiating Client Engagement
The first set comprises four “initiating” strategies for influencing positive client engagement: displaying an engaging personality, identifying with clients, developing mutual interests, and practicing reciprocity. Displaying an engaging friendly personality – a prerequisite for building relationships (Cialdini, 2001; Gilley, 2006) – creates initial positive perceptions and helps establish personal rapport. Identifying with clients on their level (Gilley, 2006) by altering personal communication style, language, dress, and behaviors to match with their cultural norms, reinforces perceptions of the author’s willingness to acknowledge and respect the clients’ values and ideas. Developing mutual interests (Gilley, 2006; Vecchio, 2007) through self-disclosure and reflective sharing of common backgrounds and experiences assists in creating support for collaborative engagement in problem-solving and strategic change. Practicing reciprocity by treating clients as they wish to be treated (Alessandra & O'Connor, 1990; Kouzes & Posner, 2007) helps develop trusting relationships based on mutual respect and expectations of the willingness to give and take in political interactions (Gilley, 2006). These four “initiating” strategies establish a firm basis for creating the synergistic interdependency that fosters effective communication and collaboration during the implementation of planned change.
Strategies for Creating Synergistic Interdependency
The second set contains four “activating” strategies for creating synergistic interdependency: acquiring and demonstrating organizational knowledge, performing as a strategic partner, engaging in collaborative problem solving, and facilitating shared learning. Engaging proactively with clients in acquiring and demonstrating organizational knowledge (Cummings & Worley, 2009; Gilley, 2006) facilitates...