When you are implementing change without having direct authority, sometimes you have to rely on someone else’s authority to get things done. One of the easiest ways to borrow someone else’s authority is to say (or infer) that you are working on their behalf. To influence change, drop names.
The following are examples of name-dropping:
- “The CEO asked me to invite you to participate.”
- “Your boss suggested that you would be the one to ask about this.”
- “I was at lunch yesterday with the VP of Operations, and he loved this idea.”
There are a few warnings about name-dropping. First, if you do it too much, you give the impression that your change initiative can’t stand on its own without needing someone to push it through. Also, if the person whose name you are using isn’t respected, you may be building resentment and resistance. Plus, if you drop names too much, you become someone who can only influence others by relying on other people’s authority. It’s not a great way to build your own personal influence.
It’s probably best to drop names subtly and only occasionally. Drop names to help link your request to the bigger picture, and to connect people with where the change is coming from. Only rarely should you use it to bulldoze someone.
Whose name might you drop?
Read more of the 99 Ways to Influence Change.