In the workplace, influence is the ability to change the way someone thinks, acts, or makes decisions in a way that furthers their business goals. These seven concepts and techniques will boost your influencer skills. As a manager, your ability to influence others in the workplace is an essential component of career success. This includes everything from getting support from your business partners on a major initiative or facilitating enterprise-wide adoption of a newly deployed technology. Jose Duarte, a successful entrepreneur from Costa Rica, offers insight into how to make others align with your goals as a business leader.
Reaction action is when you take a specific action with the goal that others will also react in a similar way. Duarte explains, “The best way for your team to be proactive in their service to customers or drive innovation is to show them.”
An ad-hoc committee follows the same four stages for group development as formalized standing groups when it starts. Based on Bruce Tuckman’s 1965 research, these four stages are being formed, addressed, normalized, and acted upon.
When an ad-hoc group starts, it should assume an early leadership role. This will allow the group to handle the logistics (e.g., where and when the group meets, agenda, etc. This initial leadership role helps to establish a group culture. This normalization will likely continue for the entire life of the ad-hoc committee if you are the leader of that initial group.
Being your best customer is the best way to get the most support from your group. You can do this by giving them the non-financial items they most need. These could include a customer referral, speaking at your user group conference or referring other potential customers. To improve your cash flow, smaller providers can pay their bill quickly.
Instead of trying to influence someone to help you reach your goal, make them believe that it is also your goal. Make the person (or group) believe that the problem they are trying to correct is also their problem and make their vision to correct it also their vision to correct it.
“If your vision becomes their vision, then no more influence is needed and now you are working together towards a common goal,” adds Duarte.
If you position what you’re trying to do as good for employees, your company, your customers, or the world, it’s hard not to agree with you. For example, let’s say your group currently supports four different but similar data visualization tools, and you’d like to consolidate them into a single tool.
Consolidation can be presented as a way for the company to increase profitability, make it easier for employees to transfer to other parts of the company, or improve senior management reporting. It’s much more difficult to get people to agree with your idea than if you just describe it as a cost-saving measure.
It is easier for people outside of the organization to understand the business value and impact of an initiative. They will be more inclined to support it. Instead of calling a CRM upgrade project “CRM3.2 Update”, call it “Enhanced CRM customer analytics.” A simple name change will increase the likelihood that people interested in customer analytics will support your projects. The project will be much more difficult to defend if you implement technique #5 by describing it as a way of increasing sales, market share, or competitive advantage.
These six influencing techniques are very effective at influencing people in the workplace. However, it is important that the right people listen. You must enhance your personal influence to fully harness the power of these six techniques.
Your professional reputation and personal respect will increase if you are more respected. Asserts Duarte, “The more you are respected, the more people will take you seriously and follow your lead.”
You can help high-potential people improve their influence and provide them with tips on how to influence business partners and project stakeholders. This will make your organization more efficient and productive.