In another article, we explained the different components of personal power — the assets you own and the skills that you have. It is important to remember the point about the assets being the short cut to influence because of the time benefit you can achieve.
For instance, imagine that one of your significant skills is your ability to be able to persuade people to your way of thinking. You may be very good at this; however, it still takes time to persuade people. Far easier would be the situation when the person who you want to influence figures out for themselves what you want and, because of your position or reputation, does it automatically.
Either way, without power you are going to have to work very hard to influence people. So the more work you can do to increase the amount of power you have, the better.
At a high level, the process is fairly straightforward. You need to consider these four questions:
- What have you currently got?
- What do you need?
- How can you make more use of what you’ve already got?
- How can you get more of what you need?
Somebody who is highly sociable will enjoy chatting with a wide range of people in the organisation. This can be accompanied by the thought that talking business with friends would be wrong — or even an abuse of the friendship. Reframing that into helping each other become more successful could unlock the power of the network.
Another common one is the influence that can be gained from wide-ranging experience. Often people take their experience for granted and rarely make any reference to it. In many teams however, this is a critical asset which can get people doing what you need them to do far more easily. So taking the time every now and then to link what you are saying back to a previous role, as part of your argument, can have a significant impact: rising credibility. It doesn’t need to be over the top, just a simple reference which will germinate in other people’s minds.