by Don Morley

Know what you want

Before commencing any influencing activity, you will need complete clarity on a number of points.

The following checklist should ensure that nothing will be overlooked. You may wish to print it out so that you can write in your responses, checking that all angles have been covered.

What is the situation?

  • What am I seeking to achieve?
  • Why am I pursuing it?
  • What will the outcomes be?
  • How will I know when the task is complete?

Who is involved?

  • Who will the activity/outcome affect?
  • Do I fully understand the ramifications?
  • What will their reaction be?
  • Who else do I need to involve?
  • Whose support do I need to get?

What is the task?

  • How will I go about it?
  • Is there a sequence to be followed?
  • When do I need to start?
  • What are the priorities?
  • Are there milestones/deadlines to be tracked?
  • Should I consider alternative approaches?

Are there resource implications?

  • What resources do I have?
  • What more do I need?
  • How will I obtain these?
  • Who might contribute some of theirs?

Are there communication issues?

  • Who needs to be advised?
  • What method will be used?
  • When and where should I start?

Where are the risks?

  • Who could jeopardise the outcome?
  • What could get in the way of success?
  • Would a contingency plan make sense?

If taking this rigorous approach seems to involve unnecessary work, remember that lasting influence is no longer based on job title or authority, so you need to ensure that allegiance to your proposition is wholehearted and not just temporary. Maintaining your influence needs ongoing effort, such as continued lobbying and vigilance in detecting any sign of back-tracking.

If you fail to address the checklist questions, you may create opponents to your proposals right from the start – in which case achieving your goal will become more difficult and certainly take longer.