If you can attract the favourable attention of the people who matter most in your work, and your life, you have overcome one of the main challenges faced by many people I talk to these days. Most new clients joining the Breakthrough Influence coaching programme have getting noticed by the right people as a high priority. For those who are ambitious, this is normal. They have recognised that if they can get the support of their most senior stakeholders, their ideas will be able to start moving in the right direction. Doors will be opened, and then they can just walk on through and deliver something valued and appreciated by the top people. As with many things in the world of influence, a simple process, a determined approach and a certain amount of tenacity can do the trick. Here are seven vital steps you Read More
Politics exists in any organisation of two or more people because this word describes the attempts to influence. Unless nobody is trying to influence others in the organisation, there will be political activity of some sort. Usually, this activity is categorised as either positive or negative. Negative politics is where there is a high degree of self-serving agendas running riot and people are being harmed in the process. If there is a high level of transparency, care, respect and focus on the organisational agenda, it is usually regarded as positive politics or influence.
Which is right?The obvious right answer is positive politics. Are you sure? In fact, it is not so straightforward for two main reasons. Firstly, life and politics are never Read More
Sometimes, from the very beginning of a workshop, it is evident that the delegates have a common problem with a big powerful stakeholder. As we start to delve into their influencing objectives, “his” name keeps being mentioned. Round the table with the power cards ― there he is again. Who is this guy to be such a problem for everyone around the table? Why is he being so difficult and making everyone’s life a misery? On a recent occasion when this happened, one thing I noticed was that his name was being used as a code for “don’t even try to influence”. It was also apparent that there was a great deal of bad feeling in the room towards this character ― even the mere mention of his name. Well actually, for a long time, they wouldn’t even mention his name, somewhat akin to the fear held by elves mentioning the name of the dark lord in Middle-Earth. Something needed to be done. Troublesome, battle-hardened people exist in most organisations. These high-ranking individuals wield great power and usually do not have the time, or the patience, to let others know where they are coming from or why they are making the decisions they are making. They represent an extremely tough road-block or obstacle. Unfortunately, they are also usually misunderstood and it is this which makes them particularly difficult to handle. If you (or your team) are plagued by one of these characters, here is a simple Read More
When you are clear about what you want to achieve, it is often frustrating to find that others do not share your enthusiasm. A great deal of time and effort is expended building the case, considering the risks and planning the execution. Everything seems to make sense and you are keen to get going – you want to implement swiftly. Then the problems start. Reaching out to your stakeholders, you begin to find out that some are not interested. They fail to buy-in to your project or, worse, don’t even give you the time to explain your plans. When you do get to see them, they start to share insights with you about other things going on elsewhere in the organisation, which seem to be in direct conflict with what you are working on. Trouble is, you can see that they may have a valid point. Doubts begin to Read More
At times the power games and political manoeuvring appear undecipherable. An implicit feature of politics is that of imperfect information — not many know what is really going on. And the actors often relish and encourage that. Mere mortals should keep out of the way, unless they serve as useful and expendable pawns. In this article, I'm going to extend on the previous one in this series (Understanding Your Reputational Context) and increase the ante by sharing with you a process whereby you can apply Read More
We talk a great deal about influencing stakeholders here on the influence blog, yet sometimes it is those closest to you that are a missed opportunity. If you can influence your colleagues, team members and closest co-workers, a great many others things become possible. So, without further ado, here are nine ways you can become a more influential team member:
- Understand their goals. Key to being influential with people is having a deep insight into what they are striving for, or trying to avoid. If you can figure out their personal and professional agendas, you will develop a keener sense of how things that you do will affect them, and how they will react.
- Be an enthusiast, of them. My oldest self-development book (Masters of the Situation by James Tilley, 1888) proposes enthusiasm as one of the secrets of power and influence. Still true, and here you can apply it to your colleagues and their goals.
Obvious answer – of course you are! You know that. But, do they? It is far easier that you may realise for others to distrust you. You don’t need to do anything wrong to see their level of trust in you dip. Indeed, it may be nothing whatsoever to do with you. However, the negative impact on your work will be big. Below I am going to share thirteen reasons why trust may be declining around you – then you can take steps to arrest any decline, or make sure it doesn’t start to drop in the first place. Before I do that…
What is Trust?
“The degree to which someone can predict how you will respond in certain situation.”For instance: giving them an honest answer to a straight question; remaining calm when disputes arise; supporting their work when the need arises. In practice, this usually means that they believe you will respond in a favourable way. Defining trust this way can also include Read More
Many years ago I did a silly thing. At the time, I was working in a large financial services firm, in their international division. It was a wild place to be honest, out of the mainstream. But, a place where we could innovate, move fast, open up new markets, and make lots of profit – often to the embarrassment of the larger UK based divisions. The politics were fast, at times a little brutal, but we always made up afterwards and celebrated our collective successes. The silly thing I did? Well, I thought Read More
Over the last month I’ve been talking to a lot of people about the political problems they face at work. This research was initiated to accompany a new online course I am developing, Mastering the Politics. What I wanted to do is to make sure it is relevant and solves as many of the current problems people are facing as possible. What the research threw up was as fascinating as it was depressing. So, without further ado, in reverse order, the most irritating political situations people are having to cope with at work are: Read More
The Six Pillars of Political Mastery are intended to get results. Especially useful where is it difficult to work out what is really going on. Here are two simple examples of how it helped two of my coaching clients recently. In the first example, Susan had been having difficulty with a senior level stakeholder. This stakeholder had been loud in her criticism of what Susan was doing, demanding reports at short notice and generally creating grief all round, not just for Susan. However, given her position it was difficult to ignore what she was doing. Susan’s initial inclination was to take steps to Read More