The need for strong influence skills doesn\u2019t end once you have convinced colleagues to accept a new business process or system. A common mistake that CIOs make once a project gets underway is to rely on \u201cthe ye ol\u2019 generic change speech,\u201d says Jerry Jellison, a social psychologist and professor at the University of Southern California.The typical exhortation that \u201cwe\u2019ve got to do this because it is good for the company\u201d doesn\u2019t work, he argues. In his recent book, Managing the Dynamics of Change, Jellison outlines for executives a five-step process for using their influence to improve the chances that any change will be successful. Jellison calls the process the \u201cJ curve,\u201d which describes how any large-scale (read strategic) change affects productivity: lowering it at first, then later raising it.Following are the stops along the J curve and Jellison\u2019s advice for what CIOs can do to influence the outcome of any project. The plateau. Colleagues are comfortable with existing systems and processes and resist new ideas. Method of influence: Inform business leaders and the CEO that change will temporarily decrease productivity and morale, but both will improve over time. Identify the smallest barriers to change and remove them. The cliff. A new system or process has been deployed. Users are making mistakes, and new processes are not fully understood. Staff and business leaders are highly resistant, and fear of failure is common. Method of influence: Walk users through new procedures in minute detail. Communicate that mistakes are expected. The valley. Users are beginning to learn from mistakes. Although these users are becoming familiar with new processes, it\u2019s hard for business leaders to see the improvements yet, and they attribute any progress to luck. Method of influence: Point out small successes. Acknowledge criticism, and follow with suggestions for improvement. The ascent. Employees begin to praise the system, and productivity nears predeployment levels. Method of influence: Reinforce reasons why the system was put into place, and publicize progress. The mountaintop. Employees become proficient with new processes, and productivity surpasses past levels. Method of influence: Don\u2019t gloat. Encourage colleagues to think strategically how processes can be improved even more. Use your success to influence future change.