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Influencing People With Different Opinions

Jul 6, 2020 | 12m

Gain Actionable Insights Into:

  • Understanding people’s KPIs to work with them and show them that you are on their side
  • Why humility and kindness will go a long way in building trust and nurturing relationships
  • Why you should surround yourself with people who complement your strengths


Respect Other People’s Value Systems

Everyone, at some point, needs to be able to influence others. Perhaps you are a marketer, and your job is to convince your consumers that their lives are so much better with your product. Or maybe you’re a manager, and you want to find a way to inspire your team in order to achieve your goals. Or you could simply be looking to get your spouse to spend more time bonding with you and your children.

Whether you’re working full time or you’re juggling diapers and meal prep, you’ll encounter situations that need you to reconcile opposing value systems. Almost every conflict that we encounter is caused by two people who see things differently, and more often than not, your goal is to convince the other that you are right, and they should do things your way.

Conflict arises when value systems are threatened. Don’t fear differences, as uncomfortable or overwhelming as they might be. People who hold differing views provide you with an opportunity to learn how to work with those who hold different value systems. This ability to navigate and influence despite differences are key in your personal and professional development.

When talking to someone with a different value system, you might find that you’re subconsciously judging them. We’re wired to believe that we’re right and others are wrong. But we can’t and shouldn’t always look to win the argument. The reality is, you can’t influence value systems. But what you can do is demonstrate understanding, empathy, security, and respect for different value systems.

Although opposing value systems can cause conflict, they also bring in a diversity of beliefs and convictions that can actually harmonise with your value system to create beautiful ideas together. Examples of value systems that are evident in every society are social order, security, and family. But even within these value systems, there are different interpretations of how this looks like in your day-to-day life.

For some, valuing their family might involve working extra hours to provide financial security. This is their way of contributing to the family. But for others, it may mean finding more time to stay at home with the family, instead of working hours on end. What may look like opposing value systems are actually one and the same. Both people value family, but interpret this differently.

There was once a conflict between two Jews. One was a Rabbi and the other was a woman. The woman visited the shop that the Rabbi owned. He was praying when she entered, but he decided to prematurely end his prayer so that he could serve the woman. In the eyes of the Rabbi, serving others was of great value because it was a way to worship God.

The woman, on the other hand, valued intimate prayer with God. When she saw that the Rabbi interrupted his prayer time to serve her, she was furious. To her, it is against the rules of her religion to interrupt prayer time. Because of these differing views and interpretation of their religion, conflict arose between the Rabbi and the woman.

This goes to show that even people within the same group, whether it be a religion, community, or company, can have similar beliefs or value systems but interpret them differently. So even if you try to surround yourself with people who seem to see things the way you do, you will never be able to avoid conflict completely.

Make It Your Goal to Help Others Achieve Theirs

If you show that you want to help others achieve their KPIs, they will support you in your quest to achieve yours.

When I ran my team at Weber, I didn’t realise what I had signed up for. I had to run a creative department, find my own clients, and raise the bar on my creative standards. Unfortunately, PR did not give me enough money for my team, so I had to scout out enough clients to make sure that every head was covered. And when I got into the momentum of finding more clients, my boss pointed out that these clients weren’t delivering the returns we deserved. At first, I didn’t think it was my problem to solve.

I eventually realised that I had to show my boss that I would help him achieve our KPIs. I also had to show my team that I’d help them achieve their KPI of doing work that they’re proud of, which meant finding clients who’d give us the freedom, space, and resources to do just that. When I started showing signs that I was on board and working for my company and its vision, my boss supported me.

In order to succeed in your work, try to figure out what the people around you need. What brings them joy? What makes them tick? What are their career goals and personal goals? The answers to these questions will guide you in helping others establish and achieve their goals. If you don’t show your team that you are on their side, you’ll end up with angry colleagues who might pull you down when the chance arises. Influencing people means understanding what their KPIs are and assuring them that you want to help them succeed.

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Uma Rudd Chia

Former Creative Director

Weber Shandwick



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