Influencing

by Don Morley

Exploit your strengths

We live in a highly competitive world. Even within our own organisation, we may compete for scarce resources, such as time, money, people, office space and PCs. We constantly have to fight our own corner just to survive, let alone succeed.

Our ability to influence is set against this backcloth – and we need all the help we can get. Fortunately, the greatest help we can access is often close to hand. It is ourselves. The list below indicates just some of the assets we control which can be deployed in the cause of positive influence. You will be able to think of other gifts that could be used to good effect.

  • A team of capable staff with specialist knowledge
  • Personal knowledge or expertise
  • A reputation for making things happen
  • Known for having vision or embracing change
  • A large network of people who matter
  • A reputation for speed of response
  • A departmental budget
  • Control of systems or technologies
  • Known for generating a learning environment
  • Seen as highly motivating
  • Admired for being supportive
  • A reputation for pro-activity
  • A dynamic personality
  • Possessing relevant lengthy experience
  • Having strong ethics/integrity
  • Ability to build highly effective teams
  • Recognised as very approachable

Exploiting strengths

You need to put yourself in the shoes of the other party to ensure a more productive dialogue, but it is equally important not to understate your own position. Playing to your strengths is entirely legitimate. These bargaining counters may not even need to be mentioned; the other party’s awareness of, say, your reputation for attention to detail, may encourage them to go with your proposal. At the very least they know it will be well thought through, with little risk of unpleasant surprises cropping up.