I’ve been a runner since I was 17yrs old. Every summer since I first started running, I’ve been privy to an annual phenomenon. I call it “August Light.” It’s that subtle change in the strength and directionality of the sun’s light as it dapples through the trees that lets you know summer will soon be over.
Just as the Ground Hog signals the pending transformation from winter to spring, August Light is the harbinger of change from summer to FOOTBALL SEASON!
I know. I can hardly believe it myself. But, it’s time to start blowing the dust off of the gridiron metaphors and crack open the tome of sage advice from players and coaches alike. I’d like to kick off this season with a goody from Tom Landry, long-time coach of the Dallas Cowboys. Coach said,
“Leadership is getting someone to do what they don’t want to do, to achieve what they want to achieve.”
If you’ve ever tried to convince someone to do something they don’t want to do, even if the end result will be getting what they want, you know that it’s like pushing the proverbial boulder up a hill in Hades. This is largely due to the fact that the likelihood of you forcing your will on the other person has the same odds of success as the temperature dropping below zero in that particular region of the netherworld!
But, in today’s cross-functional world of horizontal organizations chock full of Millenials asking those of us over 40, “Why should I?” it’s imperative for leaders to figure out how to get what we want and need. Long gone are the days when a simple, “Because I said so” was a good enough reason for people to do what the boss wanted them to do. Formal authority doesn’t seem to carry the same weight as it once did. For one thing, leaders are no longer only in charge of people over whom they wield the power of the paycheck. Besides, while a directive approach may get people to comply in the moment, the impact is short lived. Successful leaders of equally successful organizations know how to earn long-term commitment from others.
“Nice Guys,” leaders who have followers that actually like, trust, and respect them, know how to get others to want to do what needs to get done.
There is no quick hit way to motivate someone to change his mind and then act upon this newly modified belief. As Dr. Paul Hersey, in the quintessential book on leadership, The Situational Leader tells us, “Influencing the behavior of others should not be thought of as a single event. It’s a full time job in which every minute must be spent wisely.” For a description of this full time job, you may want to take a moment to read an earlier post on I-Style or Influence Style.
I-Style is a way of life. It’s about dedicating yourself to the pursuit of personal influence in order to help shape events and make meaningful contributions to the greater good. This is the everyday life of influence. Inside of this lifestyle, you will encounter specific circumstances that require you to influence particular individuals or groups in order to achieve certain objectives.
For these occasions, the Positive Influence Method is a step by step approach to leveraging trust, credibility, and value in order to get things done in a constructive timely manner. Following is a breakdown of the method. In the coming posts, we’ll take an in-depth look at each component.
Influence, like all other strategic endeavors, requires a well-thought out plan. Start by clarifying what it is you are trying to accomplish. People will rarely follow a leader who is lost. A set of clearly defined, logically prioritized objectives instill trust and offer proof of your credibility.
The root of power comes from possessing that which other people desire. Invest the time to assess what others value. Then, consider if you can honestly and ethically provide that value or at least help them find someone who can.
Who to Influence
People whose success depends on positive influence carefully guard their reputation. They surround themselves with like-minded people and dwell in a realm swathed in integrity. When you earn the trust of these individuals, you’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to access resources and get decisions made.
A Mile In Their Shoes
Manipulators often skip this step. Influencers spend most of their time and energy learning the world of the person or people with whom they will be collaborating. Discovering what keeps someone up at night, is a crucial first step toward a long term relationship founded on trust and mutual understanding.
Influence Action Plan
The Influence Action Plan is a blueprint for how you and key people can team-up to apply what you’ve learned toward the pursuit of the objectives you set forth in the first step.
Looking for the Full Monty?
Write Influence partners with the Executive Coaching firm of McGurer & Associates, Inc. to provide business people with the tools and techniques needed to enhance and reap the rewards of personal influence.
Through a blended learning approach that couples rigorous personal coaching with action-oriented workshops, we equip professionals in high visibility high pressure positions with the interpersonal, political, and marketing skills needed to thrive and succeed as leaders in cross-functional environments.
We collaborate with clients to create and deliver a customized Positive Influence for Premium Results program that aligns with the most urgent and important business goals facing participants.
For more information about this amazing program, contact us.