As you learn how to influence more effectively, make sure you don’t miss this on your checklist as you prepare your strategy. All too often, people get consumed with their own ideas and fail to keep a watchful eye on others who may act to protect their own interests. Developing a competitive strategy does not guarantee success, but failing to take account of the forces set against you is plain stupid, or careless, or perhaps just a consequence of being very busy.
Here is a quick process to build into your planning…
- Make a summary list of your top influencing goals.
- For each one, make a list of the people who may lose out if you succeed.
- Rank each list in order of the people who can have the greatest negative impact on your plans.
- Identify the key people you need to protect yourself against — those who are capable of causing the most trouble.
- Finalise your strategy to tackle your competition.
Before you finalise the action, develop a deeper understanding of each individual’s position…
- Exactly what are they about to lose?
- Is there a difference between their likely perception and the reality of the situation?
- What could they conceivably gain or benefit?
- To what extent do you think they are aware of the situation?
- Who are their supporters and advocates?
- What action are they likely to take to protect their interests?
- What is the win-win solution?
- What action can you take now to alleviate the competition?
- What plan can you put in place in readiness for when they start to work hard against you?
Naturally, I would encourage you to take a stakeholder management approach to this, particularly if the power set against you is strong. Involve your advocates and develop a team-based approach wherever possible.