Getting things done and getting ahead in your organisation is all about using the resources you have at your disposal to influence stakeholders and influence outcomes. With the right mindset and skills the task of influencing becomes effortless, with the wrong approach you’ll be pushing mud up a muddy hill on a rainy day.
Good News and Bad News
Well, the good news is that there’s nothing mysterious about influencing, no jiggery pokery just some reprogramming of the brain and some sharpening of the skills. The bad news is that there’s nothing mysterious about influencing just discipline, endeavour and hard work.
Inside the Mysterious Art of Influencing
Think of influencing like going on safari. You’ll need to plan the trip, select the right vehicle, ensure you’ve packed adequate supplies, pinpoint camp sites and observation points – all this stuff is the strategic part.
When you’re on the road (or off the road), you’ll need to stay alert, anticipate pot-holes, change the odd flat tyre, erect a tent, cook your dinner. All the skills that will keep you alive, help you deal with unexpected situations and ensure you reach your destination.
Influencing in your organisation is no different, apart from the wild animals, well that depends I guess…
In order to successfully influence outcomes you will need to cultivate your skills for situational influencing. Think of these as your ‘close combat skills’ that help you to influence when sitting face-to-face with a key stakeholder.
These are the skills that help you build a connection quickly, maximise limited stakeholder contact time, quickly understand hidden agendas and influence when you have limited authority or power.
You will also need to sharpen your strategic influencing skills. These are the tactics, strategies and tools that you will require to engage, gain the support of and influence stakeholders inside and outside your organisation so that your outcomes and goals are achieved.
Strategic Influencing helps you plan a long term influencing initiative, build a coalition, get inside the minds of your stakeholder, anticipate and overcome resistance points, leverage the network you didn’t know you had and influence without holding any traditional authority power.
Maximise Success and Minimise Risk
Being strategic about who, how and when you influence your stakeholders is just as important as cultivating your interpersonal skills so when you’ve got 10 minutes with your CEO, you maximise the opportunity to influence and minimise the risk of looking like a lemon.
By Anthony Ewing