16 May 2013

Building Your Influencing Skills: Influence, Persuade, and Negotiate for Success

Article on - Building Your Influencing Skills: Influence, Persuade, and Negotiate for Success

Anyone engaged in running projects, particularly where changes will be made and you do not have direct authority, needs to build their influencing skills. This will enable you to get support when needed, and overcome obstacles in your path.

One way to build support is to be visible and keep up to date on current events that are relevant in your particular industry or sector.

A good example of a highly relevant event is the annual Information Technology (IT) Excellence Awards ceremony which is held at the Chief Information Officer’s Summit in Singapore every year.
It's interesting to look at the judging criteria. The NUMBER ONE criteria to win a prestigious IT Excellence Award is:

  • Execution: How the nominated project was conceived and implemented

And the skills that are most useful during project execution?

Research conducted in late 2012 with senior project management leaders on the Project Management Institute (PMI) Global Executive Council found that the most important skill for managing today's complex projects is:
  • The ability to align the team to the vision of the project
So, if you are running any sort of project at work, at home, or as part of a job-search, then you really need to develop the skills needed to influence and lead your team during project execution.

This will help you to guide your team, and yourself, to achieve the vision of the project and achieve success.

Influencing skills will help you to achieve an ‘outcome‘ - something gets done, either for you, for the other person(s), or it is mutually beneficial for both parties.
However it is not just WHAT is achieved, it‘s HOW you achieve it – how you approach the situation, what words you use, what body language you exhibit, how you influence or persuade the person.
Remember that the real skill is learning how to influence through commitment, loyalty and trust, rather than through mere compliance or, at worst, coercion.
Change processes in particular are best achieved through influence rather than imposition.
To help you with influencing, here is a list of the Seven Power Bases you might be able to use. The key is to recognise which power you are able to use most effectively in a given situation:
•      Formal (Legitimate) Power
– Power based on one’s formal position within the organization
•      Reward Power
–     Giving incentives for a job well done
•      Expert Power
–     Being influential with one’s expert knowledge
•      Referent Power
–     Reference to higher authority or someone in higher position
•      Punitive (Coercive) Power
–     Employees threatened with penalties and consequences
•      Bureaucratic Power
–     Deep understanding of company processes, and how to get things done
•      Charismatic Power
– The ability to charm and persuade people with the power of personality
Our suggestion is to avoid using Punitive Power whenever possible. Building up the level of support in the other Power Bases, primarily by communicating and learning, will help you to gain support for your ventures and projects.
Use these tips to gain support for your ventures and projects.
Author: Peter James Gilliland
Peter is a Director and Founding Partner of ePM Training Services Pte Ltd. He is an experienced professional consultant, trainer and facilitator with over 25 years of experience leading complex engineering projects in the mobile radio and telecoms infrastructure industry. Peter and his partners provide consultancy and training services to help companies and individuals complete their projects on schedule, within budget, to achieve their goals and maximize customer satisfaction.

Contributed by ePM Training Services Pte Ltd