It happens all the time in organizations everywhere.

The company reorganizes and you are suddenly reporting to a new boss or leadership chain, and everything you were working on or did before no longer seems to be valid or in “favor”.

The direction, vision, and strategy is now shifting and changing to something vague and unfamiliar—but more important—to something that makes absolutely no sense to you or your team. You try your best to explain why the approaches and direction are erroneous and won’t work—and to proactively suggest what would work—but your attempts seem to fall on deaf ears. You seem to have no influence in the new order.

You’ve been here before.

The same thing happened to you just a few years ago during a former reorganization and leadership change. Everything was reworked and redone—and now with this new one—it seems as if you are just going back to something similar to what was before! (And “I told you so” is on the tip of your tongue—but you hold it back…)

Your frustration and cynicism has grown to new levels, as you watch what you would describe as a reactive culture unfold to the whim of each individual leadership change. You don’t see a strategy other than change for change sake’s at the mercy of what seems to be the latest knee jerk reaction.

You are increasingly disengaged as your voice doesn’t matter anyway—and have little hope of being heard in the “new order”. As you see it—you have one of two undesirable choices: salute and follow orders while disengaging and looking for other opportunities, or keep bucking up against the changes and be labeled “non-supportive”.

Sound familiar?

Having worked in executive leadership roles inside several large Fortune 200 companies and as a consultant with government agencies, non-profits, and a variety of companies in different industries, I have seen this dynamic and lament over and over again.

Different players and flavors– but same story.   I have been a player in the story myself.

Here’s one seemingly simple practice that I have found to be transformational both for myself and for my clients over the years. Doing this one thing can help you increase your influence and remove yourself from the “I am a victim” thinking that often accompanies this story as it plays out.

I call the practice: “Go to the mountain top”.

Here’s how it works. When you are experiencing what I described above—feeling like a victim–separate yourself from the “story” of your current circumstance. Here’s what you do:

1. In your mind, climb to the top of a very tall mountain and pretend you are looking down at yourself and all those involved in your story.

2.  Detach yourself from the drama. Pretend you are an observer, looking at the whole circumstance unfolding as if you are watching a play. See yourself as one of the players with no “skin in the game”.

3.  Ask yourself what each one of the players “motivation” for action is. When you do this, make the assumption that everyone has good intentions, rather than assuming negative intentions. What is driving the actions you observe? Why are people doing what they are doing?

4.  See the interrelationships and behaviors playing out? What are the patterns and cycles that are obstacles to win-win solutions?

5.  From this detached, observer place, look at yourself in the drama unfolding. If you were giving yourself advice as a consultant from the mountain, what would you tell the person you see (yourself!) to do to have greater influence?

6.  From this place, how do you show your understanding of the whole landscape and story unfolding to the other players, rather than harping about your fixed position?

What I find over and over again is that making a habit of this simple, “go to the mountain” practice is transformational, not only in your organizational life, but in your personal life as well.

Stepping out of the drama and attachment to your position or perspective and detaching from a preconceived outcome while looking at the whole system and the players in it is difficult to do. But our influence increases exponentially when, to use the words of Stephen Covey’s timeless advice, we “seek first to understand and then to be understood”.

Only by climbing to a higher vantage point can we see the whole drama we are participating in and have a better change of influencing it.

Send me a note with your experience or thoughts. As always—I love hearing them!