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.
To get elected, you would need to establish a campaign, get significant influencers to support you, work on your party communications strategy, and even mobilise the party faithful to print and hand out the leaflets while you get up on the podium to move the masses. And of course, once elected, you would need to reward your supporters for their loyalty and hard work — otherwise your reign could be short-lived.
So, back to corporate life (if in fact we ever left it!), as a rising star in your organisation, you need to stand for something different. Not having clear opinions about strategy, policy or direction is not an option. You have to be clear and stand out from the crowd. You also need to attract the attention of senior executives and gain their support along the way. In short, you need to find your voice.
A few questions to get you started…
- Where is your organisation going wrong?
- How should it change to succeed in the current climate?
- What does it need to stop doing, start doing or completely transform?
- What significant cultural or mindset shifts need to take place?
- List three things you think should change — significant things.
- Are these ideas radical and different from what other prominent people are saying?
- Finalise your manifesto and start planning.
If you’ve followed my previous posts about influence, you will notice that effectively what you are arriving at here is an influencing goal. Once you have your goal, you can pull out the Stakeholder Influence Process and get to work. Bring the campaign planning team around your Influence Map and start to identify the people who can help or hinder your goal, and agree your strategy and plan.
By doing this you are entering the political fray. You risk others noticing you and moving to ambush or assassinate you. By not doing this you run the risk of remaining one of the crowd waving the party flag. By doing this you run the very real risk that you might actually win the election and then be able to implement your ideas.
Colin Gautrey is becoming the most sought-after expert in power and influence by ambitious and talented professionals who are serious about accelerating their careers and their results. But, Colin is certainly not for the faint-hearted.
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Seven Ways to Become More Powerful
Being powerful enables you to get things done. It encourages people to do what you want them to do, often without you even asking. Generally, people like to please powerful people because of what they may gain, or because they don’t want to lose something.
Here are seven ways that you can become more powerful:
- Build Greater Networks. The more people you know, the more potential resources you have to call on. These can provide you with useful knowledge, resources or friendly help and support. This needs to be a two-way process, so make sure to make yourself available to help people in your network too. Don’t just focus on those nearest to you; get to know people in other parts of your organisation, and those outside of it in related work. Make sure and delicately let others know you have this network (read Five Steps to a Healthier Network and Networking: Missing a Trick? for more ideas).
- Acquire Scarce Capabilities. Think about the work that you do and the organisation where you are right now. What does everyone seem to be wanting by way of capability? Perhaps this…
Clarity and focus around what you can contribute is vital if you wish to accelerate your progress and realise your full potential. Carefully assembling the base for your credibility, demonstrating substance, and focusing on your own competitive advantages will enable you to position yourself correctly, with the right people, and reap the rewards.
Time to Take More Control?
Most people in leadership roles are so busy surviving that they miss opportunities to become more powerful and influential. Rather than being a shaper, they remain stuck in reaction mode. Although understandable, it is not excusable if you want to be highly successful.
The pressures exerted on people to achieve miracles with limited resources can be extreme. Hitting deadlines and year-end targets becomes an all-consuming pursuit. If you are feeling like this and struggling to survive, it is likely that you are not in control and are simply reacting to those around you.
Happy with that?
More importantly, do…