Influencing in Business is vital to its survival – that’s obvious I hear you say. Well here are some thoughts for you to ‘wrestle’ with.
The OED sees the word influencing as:-
“The capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behaviour of someone or something, or the effect itself.”
Influencing to some is about one person telling another what to do and how to do it. I can remember countless examples of this in industry where a Manager has adopted this approach. It might stem from them being higher up the ‘food chain’ than the person being ‘influenced’. The person on the receiving end of this ‘influence’ does not question or seek greater understanding. They may be concerned that if they asked a question they would be considered stupid or not on board with the company policies. They could in fact be fearful that they will lose their job. So they carry out the allotted task to the letter, they may simply do what is asked of them and no more. This creates behaviour from that other person. I am sure you have heard “I did exactly what you asked me to do!” The co-worker has not failed the task or has not completed it. However they have not had any input as to its outcome and could be disengaged. The result is a behaviour that is not helpful.
On the other hand, the person doing the influencing, takes on board the other persons skill set and works with their motivations. The result will be much better. You do this by stepping into their world. This way you use what they are about to best effect. I am not an expert in martial arts – however there is a school of thought that says – use the others persons momentum, not your own, for you to gain the upper hand. This is the same technique when you are influencing – use their momentum to best effect, to get the job done – to achieve the outcome. The influencer is using the character and development side of the OED definition seen above.
If a person is a mover and shaker – then use that attribute.
Remember not to squash this with your own stuff. Work with their energy and drive to get the end result.
If a person is a thinker – then that is their strength – so use it.
You may have some of the answers, and they might have that little nugget of an idea that will make all the difference.
If a person is a process person – they will have a methodical approach to the task. This is their strength – it may not be yours – so again, use it to best advantage.
Just taking the three examples above – you may not see yourself doing these things. However, if you can step into their world – influence – then step back from their world. You will find that they will walk through a wall for you. By doing this technique you might feel that you are not influencing – maybe you might think you do not have control. In fact you have all the control – as you are conducting the orchestra – not the other way around.
Have a good and very productive day!