Another Change Fiasco? Activate 3% of Influencers and Harness the Power of Listening for Success with Jeppe Vilstrup Hansgaard

In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, organizations are constantly seeking innovative ways to adapt and thrive. One key aspect that cannot be overlooked is the power and influence of peer-to-peer networks. 

These networks, consisting of smaller tribes within an organization, have the potential to shape the course of change and drive transformative outcomes. Trust and communication are foundational elements. 

According to our guest, Jeppe Vilstrup Hansgaard, you need to find the 3% of employees that influence 90% of potential success. And you will be surprised at who has the most influence in your organization.

But how can we tap into this hidden force and engage the influencers within these tribes to become true changemakers?

Jeppe Vilstrup Hansgaard helps bold leaders succeed with change through change analytics and organizational network analysis. At Innovisor, their aim is to move their portfolio of services towards prescriptive analytics with the ultimate objective to eliminate change failure.

In this episode, Jeppe discusses breaking through hierarchical barriers of communication and listening by understanding peer-to-peer networks. Activating and engaging the 3% provides a successful path for implementing change.

If we really want to succeed with a change, I have this saying: ‘Done by the people, or done with the people beats done to the people. – Jeppe Vilstrup Hansgaard 


00:24 – What Jeppe discovered as he noticed the power of listening: Introverts had more influence than others which is counterintuitive.

02:15 – Understanding the influence of introverts: Insights from a recent study

04:45 – Who is having influence: People that are good listeners, it’s the introverts that have the influence.

05:57 – What changed in him after discovering this truth about listening: I don’t think you can succeed with change in any way unless you engage the informal networks in an organization.

07:14 – Finding the right 3% to influence 90% of employees and engaging them: That’s where understanding the peer to peer network is key.

13:49 – Making sense of the concept of co-creation in the change-making process

15:04 – Explaining peer-to-peer listening as a feedback channel and ‘iceberg of ignorance’ model

17:19 – One key trick to do when not using people’s feedback: When people have given you feedback, and if you’re not going to use it, tell them why you’re not using it. 

18:03 – How leaders can listen better when they work remote: Walk, Call, and Email.

19:41 – Why he’s not in favor of active listening

21:22 – Jeppe shares his listening style and how to know you are asking stretching questions or putting people in boxes

24:07 – The value of pauses when talking: Use those breaks to your advantage; it will make you look competent and trustworthy.

25:25 – How to listen and ask questions without being self-serving: Making sure you use open-ended questions that invite people to reflect.

27:14 – Most surprising influential person when working with a client on organizational change.

30:05 – How they activated this influential person to co-create organizational change.

35:07 – Jeppe describes his book, ‘Another Change Fiasco!’ 

36:07 – Discussion about this quote ‘done by the people, or done with the people beats done to the people’

38:25 – The support technology provides in data collection to enable change to happen

40:16 – Designing your change program according to what blocks their success

42:04 – Why you should always ask and not presume you know everything

Key Takeaways:

“The 3% of influencers in your team or organization have the power to influence 90% of the outcomes.”

“Listen three times. You need to listen, listen and listen. Because that’s the way you build trust.” – Jeppe Vilstrup Hansgaard 

“Being in motion is a good idea. So walking is good because when you walk, you can actually suddenly stay silent or you can watch a bird, and that’s okay. Whereas if you sit in a meeting with a table in between, one is a leader, the other one an employee, then you have already created a barrier. You want to get rid of the barriers.”– Jeppe Vilstrup Hansgaard 

“The top level of an organization only knows 4% of the problems their people face. The middlemen, they know about 9%. But the people at the frontline, the ones out there in the organization, they know 100%.” – Jeppe Vilstrup Hansgaard 

“The best clients have realized…connecting to those people at the frontline and listening to them… (helps) build or design something that actually makes sense and works.” – Jeppe Vilstrup Hansgaard 

“One of the things that I do as a leader is that I always speak last. So if we have meetings, I stay quiet.” – Jeppe Vilstrup Hansgaard 


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