Unless you know exactly what you are shooting for, you will lose ground, miss opportunities and struggle to get buy-in. If you are clear, you’ll move much faster, save time and get even better results. You need to get focused not only on your end goal, but also on what you need to influence to get there. The first step in the Stakeholder Influence Process is to clarify what you want to focus on.
Pause to consider all of the important things which are going on in your life/work at the moment
- What targets and projects have you got at work this year?
- What are your personal goals for this year? Next year?
- Where are you hoping to take your career?
- Are you facing particular difficulties or issues at work (or at home) at present which you’d like to resolve?
- What do you want to achieve in the next couple of years?
- What goals are there beyond the ones right in front of you?
This is a warm-up exercise to get your thoughts moving, and considering your bigger picture. In a moment, you can start to work on developing the focus. This action can be very useful in making sure you’ve not missed anything critical. If you’ve already done this general thinking, no problem, just move on to the next action. Otherwise, put the article down and muse a short while. Pen and paper would be quite useful here too!
Once you’ve taken a little time to reflect on this, you need to settle on one or two topics which you can use site to move forward on. Ideally, you’re looking for a goal which…
- Is of critical importance to you.
- Can motivate you – or even get you really excited!
- Will stretch your skill set and involve a fair degree of influencing to make it happen.
- Ranks high in your list of priorities overall when deciding where to spend your time and energy.
Bear in mind that the goal you want to move forward could be a shared goal – it doesn’t have to be something which is only important to you. In fact, if it is a goal shared by a team or a few of your peers, this will make it even better to work on with the Stakeholder Influence Process because you can all share, learn and play your part in realising the objective.
You may also decide to work on somebody else’s goal. By that, I mean that you may not have formal responsibility for it; but if you feel strongly that something needs to happen, you could choose to make it your business to push it forward. But before you rush off poking your nose into other people’s business, stop to consider how your action may be perceived – not only by the person who should be pushing forward on that goal, but also by the stakeholders who are connected with it. Some may wonder about your motives, so think about doing some careful positioning before you go too far, too fast. But at the end of the day, sometimes acts like these are necessary!