Tip #1 – Influence and Change: Prepare Your Case

People resist change naturally – sometimes it’s just too much effort. Leaders must build a proper case for “why” a change is needed. People will believe in change only when it’s seen as in their best interest to change. So the case-build must contain reasons and rationale that apply to the individual.

The following points generally hold true when influencing for change:

  • Give no more than three main reasons to back up your ideas. People like three. They can remember three.
  • Tell people what will happen if the change is not done.
  • Be prepared to defend your case. The attacks will give you clues on the real concerns of the others.

Change is tough and a properly prepared case will help persuade others that you have done your homework.

Tip #2 – Influence and Leadership: Your Vision for Success

It doesn’t matter at what level of the organization your leadership starts. From project manager to CEO people want a direction for success from you. Where are we going? What does this payoff look like in doing this hard work? In other words we want your picture of success – your vision for the future.

Most people think that it’s up to senior management to develop a “vision”. However research tells us that people look to their immediate manager for a picture of success for their team or a specific project.

Use language like:
“Imagine this.”
“This is what it will look like.”
“Here is what I can see happening.”

Have the picture of success in your “minds eye” first, then simply describe it to your audience.

Tip #3 – Influence and Negotiation: Be Ready to Give In Order to Receive

When approached to do something for you that may not be easy for them (i.e. change a priority), most people will ask themselves, “Why?” or “What’s in it for me?”

As a first step, be prepared to share your reasons why something should happen. Next, be prepared to exchange values to make something happen. It’s called a negotiation and it’s an influence attempt that includes giving something to the other in exchange for an agreement on how to proceed.

When you make your offer you want to make it clear to the other that you want something specific in return. This is the essence of negotiation. “I will do this for you if you do that for me.” You are making a deal and influence and negotiation are the tools of deal-making.

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