You would be well advised to invest time in making sure your social media presence, especially your professional profile(s), are in tip-top condition to make you look your best. The relevance of this to people in the spotlight, seeking work, or trying to tease out the head-hunters is obvious. So, why should this matter to everyone else, especially those happily ensconced in large organisations? Read More
Many people have told me that the biggest challenge they face is that they are not able to get the attention of the senior people in their organisation. In fact, my articles on gaining visibility and building reputation are among the most popular of the 500+ that I have written over the last few years. The frustration is palpable. One recent example was Alan, a VP in risk management:
“I’m arguably one of the best qualified people on my topic in the business, and maybe externally too. I’ve been interviewed by the media, am prominent in my institute and have even published articles. But, will my executive listen to me? Not a chance. There is a major problem emerging and none of the senior team are in the least bit interested. Sure, they make the right noises, but do they do anything? Well, it is starting to present a risk to my career now. If this thing blows…”When I worked it through with Alan, it was clear that the executives should be taking notice, recognising what he can contribute and certainly, taking concrete action. Right now, we are taking steps to ensure that Alan, and his organisation, avoid a calamitous and very public reputational nose-dive. Gaining the appropriate level of recognition can do a lot more than avoid catastrophes. Over the last year alone, many that I have worked with have reported back that the increased recognition has given them benefits such as: Read More
Workplace politics make people angry, or at least frustrated. Politics gets in the way of the work, creating delays, disagreements and bad feeling. It is very difficult to pin down exactly what workplace politics is, partly because it means different things to different people. We made a valiant attempt at codifying the mayhem back in 2005 with 21 Dirty Tricks at Work. Since then, I’ve concluded that the majority view regards office politics as any act in pursuit of personal gain, especially where manipulation or dishonesty is involved. To most people I speak with, it evokes the feeling that it is either a necessary evil, or a complete waste of their time. All the game playing, positioning and subterfuge simply gets in the way of doing a good job. What do you think? Necessary evil, or waste of time? Read More
Metaphors in business life are a great way of developing new ideas about what you can do to become more successful. If you are ambitious and working in a large organisation, consider for a moment the metaphor that gaining promotion to a senior post is akin to running for election. This would mean that you need to stand for something that the electorate identify with and believe it is an important issue affecting them. They would also need to feel confident that they can trust you and that you are the right person to get the job done. You would need to understand them well, have critical insights about the threats and opportunities your country faces, and keep a canny watch on the political moves of the opposition. Indeed, just like a politician, you would need to really stand out from the crowd with a compelling and inspirational manifesto. Read More
Incredible it may be, but the data is beginning to emerge that this could indeed be the case. The usual caveat about generalisations aside, this is what my recent research is starting to reveal. And, you don’t have to be a project manager to learn from these results. Based on a group of 195 project managers I have discovered, somewhat to my surprise, that they are more likely to be high in Tact and Diplomacy and low in Determination, than the general (professional) working population. To be honest, I had expected the opposite. These people all completed my Influence Profile that measures preferred behaviours when working with others. This is not looking at their actual behaviour, but rather the way they would most like to behave (which is reality is the default behaviour they use most of the time). Within this psychometric, four dimensions of behaviour are analysed and Read More
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
Colin has been specialising in power and influence in large and complex organisations for nearly 15 years. As a prolific author, presenter, coach and facilitator, many people are exposed to his work every day. Since 2003, Colin has published 6 books, contributed to may others and has written countless articles. His published content now exceeds 1,000,000 words and his video tutorials (available in Breakthrough Influence) amounts to over 50 hours. This page represents a selection of the endorsements that keep rolling in. Since we don't publicise individual clients, these have been disguised. In fact, many people are a little coy about letting others know they are working with Colin and the Gautrey Group!
What People are Saying, about Colin Gautrey
June 2017"I found the session very useful and most importantly you helped focus my ideas for the next stage in my career. Managing to do that in the space of 45 minutes was little short of amazing! You’ll be pleased to know my family all agree with you that my main challenge is..." AR, Edinburgh (Private Client). "Highly practical and applicable to the goals I have to land. Getting everyone aligned is always a challenge and it is great to have the extra toolkit to slot the action into a clear plan." PD, Washington DC (Applying Strategic Influence) For 28 years I've been avoiding politics in the office if at all possible. It helped me to survive and remain said. Now I see the error of my ways, and how it is never too late to learn how to defend yourself without cutting off your nose to spite your face. Simple analysis that cuts straight to the heart of the matter. Thanks." BB, Sydney (Mastering the Politics).
May 2017"Colin, Thank you for your excellent presentation on "How to Handle Project Politics." It is a topic of great interest to me as it is one of the toughest nuts to crack for me for several reasons. However, your presentation has kindled my desire to master politics so that I am more successful and less stressed out from project to project and from organization to organization. Keep up the excellent contributions to our vocation! Thank you!" MS, United States (Mastering the Politics). "I find your suggestions very practical and actionable. It is a must have for anyone who wish to make an impact both on a personal and professional level. It also serves a mechanism for self evaluation on what value is being added. I will definitely be using them soon on my new assignment. Thanks once again," OA, Manchester. "For several years I have been reflecting on my direction, what I want to do. Life is so full of opportunities and while good, that makes it confusing. This course has helped me to pin down exactly what I wish to get known for and I feel quite liberated now. Refreshing approach too and not something I've seen anywhere else. Well done Colin, really useful!" PT, Los Angeles (Building a Powerful Reputation) "Part of my problem is that I get overly emotional when things don't go my way. This has caused me a lot of bad feedback. I've only just started to do this course but modules 1/2 have already had a big (positive) impact. I still have to sit on my hands a bit, but the new insight I am gaining is actually quite interesting as well as useful." FC, Toronto (Unlocking Critical Relationships). "Amazing Seminar on Strategic Influencing, As a PM, I appreciate learning new tools, especially maintaining integrity. Thank you," GK, New York. "I've been in my role for a number of years and am very ambitious. Thing is, I don't seem to be getting anywhere and am stuck. Based on some recent feedback, and quite a bit of reflection, I've realised I need to get much better at judging what others are shooting for in the wider organization. I don't want to play politics, too straightforward for that, but I do want to be able to understand what others are doing so I can engage more effectively with the whole organisation." PV, Brussels (Mastering the Politics). 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
Some writers on leadership like to imagine that the ancient leadership style of command and control is obsolete and disappearing fast. Does it feel like that to you? It is certainly less prevalent than it may have been in the 70s and 80s, but it remains pretty vigorous — at least judging by the volume of examples I hear of each month. And perhaps it should be too. Command and control still has a place in leadership and it always will — provided it is done in the right way. Alive and kicking it is and you should be taking the latter word metaphorically rather than literally! Below I will share with you three scenarios where I believe command and control is absolutely the right style to adopt. And to help me avoid becoming the friend and mentor to mini-despots the world over, please make sure and also read the criteria for appropriate use of command and control at the end of this article! Read More