The Gautrey Influence Profile is highly effective at helping people to learn how they prefer to influence. This awareness leads to decisions about when and how to adapt their behaviour to suit a particular stakeholder. It helps them to learn how to become more effective at influence.
Although the main purpose of this article is to help trainers, coaches and managers to prepare for helping others to understand these concepts, it will also be of interest to anyone who has done or is thinking about doing the Influence Profile.
Influence Profile Basics
The Influence Profile helps people to…
- Learn how they prefer to influence.
- Assess how others prefer to influence.
- Decide how to flex their behaviour to increase influence.
It is based on four different areas of behaviour which people will favour or avoid. People differ in their preferences and this gives rise to a wide variety of different styles. The dimensions are…
- Determination: the preference to express clear views, opinions, and goals and then drive them towards realisation (favouring) vs. the preference to consult, accommodate and reach a harmonious solution, direction, or view (avoiding).
- Tact and Diplomacy: the preference to sense the feelings, concerns, and agendas of other people and respond in a sensitive way vs. the preference to be direct and clear with others so they know where they stand, even if this risks upsetting them.
- Sociability and Networking: the preference to use social skills to build a wide and strong network of valuable contacts vs. the preference to focus on the task in hand and to avoid social distraction.
- Emotional Control: the preference to remain calm and focused on facts and processes vs. the preference to express genuine emotions openly as they happen.
The questionnaire assesses the individuals’ preference for each of these dimensions and how extreme their preferences are. The report describes how they may be perceived by others if they behave according to their preference.
Each dimension is scored on a scale of 0-15. The higher the score, the more they prefer that area of behaviour when influencing. The lower the score, the more they will tend to avoid that type of behaviour. If the score is in the middle (7 or 8), they have a balanced approach and are likely to be able to easily use the behaviours from either end of the scale.
For example, an individual who scores 3 on Determination is likely to be fairly easy-going, relaxed and happy for others to take the lead or have their say first. Alternatively, someone scoring 13 on Determination will be highly driven and focused on the results they want to achieve, perhaps to the exclusion of other ideas. In the middle, the individual who scores 7 is likely to be able to easily show their determination, but when appropriate scale down their behaviour to encourage other people to express their views.
The combination of all dimensions and their relative scores then allows us to predict how the individual will prefer to behave when attempting to influence others, with the primary style being the one they score most highly on etc.
Because of the interplay between the dimensions, there are 33 different reports which can be produced by the questionnaire.
Key Concepts Behind the Influence Profile
The Influence Profile is based on many concepts which are rooted in social psychology. Since we’re taking a highly practical approach here, the main ones are covered briefly below in summary form only because we are assuming you have already been trained in these.
These are the concepts we recommend you help your delegates to learn and be able to apply to their engagement and influence of others.
No. 1: We each have a preferred way of influencing others based on our personality and lifetime experiences.
As we live, we are learning and adapting all of the time. If something works for us, we tend to repeat it. Providing it keeps working, the behaviour becomes easier to perform and more likely to be called upon when we need it most. Other behaviours will tend to get pushed out as our favoured approach continues to bring the results we want.
When the pressure is on, we tend to revert to type and use of preferred style of influence. However, most of us are able to use alternative behaviours if we have sufficient presence of mind, skill and/or energy.
No. 2: We prefer to be influenced in the way we prefer to influence others.
Let’s face it; most of the human species is programmed to think that the world should be just like them. Despite sound evidence-based logic of the benefits of diversity and the accompanying political correctness — most of us feel more comfortable associating with people who are similar to ourselves.
No. 3: Any difference in behaviour between two people is likely to create a distraction from the content of their communication.
If someone comes to influence us with an approach contrary to our own preferred way of doing things, we are likely to be distracted and miss what they are saying. This is natural as we try to figure out how to read them; what their motives might be. Unfortunately, this all needs to be processed at the same time as listening and thinking about what the person is actually saying.
No. 4: Adapting your behaviour to match the person you wish to influence is likely to reduce distraction and increase success.
No. 5: In certain situations, it is easy to transform your behaviour.
Fight-or-flight responses free our physical capabilities from their usual constraints in an instant. In a similar way, our thought processes and behaviours can change instantly when triggered by unusual or extreme events. These behaviours are available to us all; we just have to find simple ways to allow them to happen.
No. 6: Although people tend to have one consistent approach, there may be noticeable differences between work and home.
The main reason for these differences is due to the depth and intimacy of relationships; perceived risks and consequences and also the level of tolerance. Amongst friends it is easy to be outspoken, innovative and fun because you are relaxed and not at risk.
No. 7: In normal situations, it takes conscious effort to adapt behaviour.
Most of the time, our behaviour is automatic and corresponds to our preferred way of doing things. Auto-pilot mode switches on as we concentrate on the deadlines, meetings, and tasks we have to accomplish. In fact, the more pressure we are under, the more likely we are to revert to type (unless triggered to major event).
To change our approach takes conscious thought to enact. We need to think, “Ok, with this person I need to tone it down a bit.” Then our ability to deploy the appropriate behaviour is determined by our level of skill or the stress we put in.