How to Use Workplace Situational Influence to Your Professional Advantage

Situational influence, as the name suggests, is the level of influence at the current moment. Historically, this topic is heavily discussed and analyzed in marketing and psychology. This blog provides a brief overview of situational influence from these two important perspectives, then expands on them into my area of study: influence between individuals in the workplace. In the marketing world, situational influence is a deeply researched, well-known, and respected area of research, focused on producing best practices for creating an environment in which customers buy products in physical locations, and more recently, internet-based retail outlets. It considers customer-based buying factors, such as the product’s physical surroundings, customers’ social interaction with others, the emotional reason to buy, immediacy of product availability, and other related factors. The next time you walk into a store and wonder why you are tempted to buy products you originally had no intention of purchasing, it’s because [...]

By |2020-07-13T22:35:16+00:00August 24th, 2020|

How to Prioritize Your Influence-Related Activities

The ability to influence your coworkers is, of course, a very important skill. To maximize its effectiveness, however, you must also know whom to influence. The strategic ability to decide who, where, and when to influence allows you to prioritize your time, carefully use your political capital, and not accidently wear out your welcome. To this end, the following worksheet (Figure 1) illustrates the intersection of people’s commitment to your vision/project and the importance of their approval to your success. It is this intersection of commitment and need that defines the prioritization of those who must be influenced to meet your business objectives. Enter the necessary names into the appropriate intersecting cells on the Commitment/Support Matrix (Figure 1) based upon their current commitment and your need. This gives you a visual representation of where to spend your influence-related energies. The definition of each of the matrix values is listed below: [...]

By |2020-07-13T22:28:38+00:00August 17th, 2020|

8 Influence-Based Strategies that Maximize Project Management Success

For a project to succeed, various groups of people must support it. If one of these groups falls short, then the entire project is at risk. These groups are: Project stakeholders who provide people Project stakeholders who provide budgets and other resources Dotted-line employees working on the project but reporting to other managers Compliance and regulatory staff that must approve the project Project Stakeholders Who Provide People Dotted-line resources are those who do not administratively report to the person directing their day-to-day work activities. For example, a project manager working with a software developer on loan from the company’s IT department. If dotted-line resources don’t work directly for you, you must influence them and their administrative manager. The techniques for influencing and motivating your dotted-line employees are much the same as those used to influence your staff. Influencing the managers of your dotted-line resources requires different techniques, because the goal [...]

By |2020-07-13T22:20:12+00:00August 10th, 2020|

4 Influence Strategies That Get Your Manager to Say “Yes”

Delegating up is the art of using your manager to help you get things done. After all, completion of your tasks is their responsibility.  Therefore, if presented properly, it’s relatively easy to gain their assistance, because your win is also their win and your loss is also their loss. Influence strategies you can use to manage up to your manager include: Influencer #1: Producing quality work Above all else, the best way to influence your manager and other superiors is to be seen as an important company resource with a reputation for producing high quality work. Whom would you be more likely to take advice from, a person known for generating great results or someone thought of as creating inferior quality products? Influencer #2: Transparency With transparency comes trust. When your manager believes you are honest and willing to tell the truth, good or bad, they are more likely to [...]

By |2020-07-13T22:14:46+00:00August 3rd, 2020|

6 Ways to Use Influence Strategies When Delegating to Your Peers

Properly delegating to your peers has many professional advantages. It helps you complete needed tasks. It helps your manager’s team (you and your peers) work as a team for the greater good. Also, and potentially most important for your career, it places you in a leadership role among your peers because they are performing tasks based on your requests. This positions you for future promotions, and eventually, to be their manager, not just their peer. When delegating to your peers, consider using the following influence techniques: Influencer #1: Reciprocity If you are willing to help your peers when they need assistance, they will be more likely to assist you when you need their help. Influencer #2: Taking the high road When trying to influence a peer to assist you in a project, rather than making it all about you, talk about it from the company’s, customer’s, or another’s perspective that [...]

By |2020-07-13T22:10:14+00:00July 27th, 2020|

10 Influence Strategies that Maximize Negotiation Success

There are many traditional negotiation strategies that can be used to gain an upper hand during negotiations. They include: Threatening to walk away from the deal Pushing the other party to make a quick decision Intimidation (yuck, don’t use this one) Nibbling (asking for a little extra value in anticipation of closing the deal) Crying poor (saying you only have a certain amount of money to spend) Beginning negotiations with a second party (considering a competing bid for the business) Dividing a large vendor proposal into small pieces and then negotiating each smaller task’s price In addition to these time-tested negotiation techniques, the use of influence-based strategies can also enhance your negotiation success. These influence-based strategies include: Influencer #1: Problem/Vision Statements Clearly define the business problem the negotiation is addressing and a future vision (your future vision) of how to solve the problem. If you can get the other party [...]

By |2020-07-13T22:05:59+00:00July 20th, 2020|

6 Ways to Enhance Your Potential Influence in Future Negotiations

If based on your business experience and understanding of future work activities, you have the ability to identify the specific people with whom you will be negotiating, you can set the stage to influence that negotiation well in advance of the actual negotiation process. As an important note of caution, for these preparatory activities to be successful, you must ensure that those being influenced by these strategies cannot connect your influence-based activities to the future negotiation. If a connection is made, it can harm both your negotiating position and your professional brand. Influencer #1: Personal connection Begin to establish a trusted relationship with the opposing negotiators. It will be mutually beneficial for both sides for talking more honestly and openly. You don’t have to be friends, even though that would be nice, but you need to create a positive working relationship. Think about it from your personal experience. You are [...]

By |2020-07-13T21:57:18+00:00July 13th, 2020|

5 Ways to Enhance Your Office Influence in a Virtual World

Office influence is the ability to move a person’s thinking, actions and/or decisions in a way that forwards your business objectives.  This concept holds true regardless of your physical working location. When working from home, there is still the expectation that business goals, deadlines and deliverables must be achieved.  To meet these expectations, you must still have the ability to motivate your team, acquire needed internal resources, coordinate with other organizational silos, and influence them all to move in your needed direction. While influence-related concepts and principles remain the same, regardless of the communication mechanism, the techniques and tactics to employ them must be modified to maximize their effectiveness in a virtual world. Below are five influence techniques designed for a virtual world, but will work equally as well when/if you return to the office. 1. Forward quality whitepapers and blogs to your coworkers When you receive marketing emails containing [...]

By |2020-03-25T14:53:03+00:00March 25th, 2020|

9 Action/Reaction Office Influencer Techniques – Part 2

In last week’s blog I described the first four action/reaction influence techniques.  This week’s blog discusses the remaining five techniques.   Doing Tasks You Don’t Like  As a leader, if you do all the fun stuff and leave the important but uninteresting or dangerous tasks to others, many issues will arise, including: Your team will resent you. Your staff will be unwilling to perform unwanted tasks. Your team’s motivation will be reduced, resulting in lower productivity and increased attrition. Your action of sharing the uninteresting or dangerous tasks has the reaction of: Showing people you are a team player, thus, increasing their willingness to follow your instruction. Causing your team (and others) to perform these tasks more willingly because they know you won’t ask them to do anything you wouldn’t do yourself. Taking Logistical Control Taking logistical control is a negotiation trick that employs both influence and team-building-based concepts. From [...]

By |2020-07-31T16:02:50+00:00March 10th, 2020|

9 Action/Reaction Office Influencer Techniques – Part 1

One of my favorite ways to influence others is to perform a task that needs to be done anyway and to do it a manner that causes the other person to react in a specific way. For example, if you need someone to respond to your emails more quickly, try responding to their emails quickly with the hope that they will return the favor. I worked with a senior manager who took two or three days to respond to my emails. This was problematic because I was under a tight deadline and could not move forward without the manager’s input on certain aspects of the project. In an attempt to speed up his replies, I would answer his messages within five or ten minutes. Because I always replied to his email messages right away, over time, he felt guilty that he did not do the same for me. As a [...]

By |2020-02-03T02:21:07+00:00March 2nd, 2020|
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