Influence When You Have No Power or Authority – Discussion Group Notes

Peter Bromberg – Facilitator

I began the discussion by suggesting that we all have influence and we are continually influencing each other through our words, deeds, body language, etc.  It is not a matter of whether we have or use influence then, it is only a matter of how conscious we are in owning and using our influence, and learning how to be more influential.  I highly recommend the books “Executive EQ”, by Robert Cooper and Ayman Sawaf. And “Becoming a Resonant Leader” by Annie McKee, Ricard Boyatzis, and Frances Johnston.

Tamara S. then kicked off a great discussion by asking us to reflect on times we have been successful and why?  What correlated with our success?  I recorded the answers from the group, as follows.

  • Offered data
  • Let go of the need for credit
  • Just put it out there and disconnected from the result
  • Know your audience
  • WII-FM  (What’s In It – For Me): A pneumonic to device to remember that others are always asking themselves this question when listening to your idea.
  • Effective use of stories
  • Relationships (This came up repeatedly. People were influential when they had built good/strategic relationships with other others.)
  • They respected me
  • Know your stakeholders
  • Understand different personality styles (Myers-Briggs, DISC, Enneagram).  Learn to “type” others and know your own style.
  • Identify resources
  • Patience (Play the long game)
  • Own your power (i.e. recognize that you have influence and use it.)
  • Take risks
  • Talk about your ideas to many people (you might find a supporter or someone who can connect you to others who can help.)
  • Don’t get stuck on the money.  
  • Just start
  • Align with others who share your goals
  • Be trustworthy
  • Mobilize your constituency to advocate to legislators
  • Focus on how your idea benefits others
  • Find a place that matches your leadership style
  • Know your organizational culture
  • Don’t get hung up on being “nice”
  • Be assertive.  Push back.
  • Pick your battles
  • Be diplomatic
  • Know what management values. Frame your message to appeal to what they value
  • Follow the Golden Rule.  Treat people kindly.
  • Find colleagues who share your goal and partner with them
  • Frame your goal as “How can we help you?”
  • Show up, connect, network.
  • Be active in organizations and associations
  • Be a good listener
  • Empower others to share
  • Invite others to design solutions.  People support what they help build
  • Empathy

Additionally, I recommended the book “Difficult Conversations” as a great resource for effective communication. I also offered a basic coaching model that is designed to get us into a continual state of action and assessment in moving forward towards goals we have identified:

  1. What do I want? (Get clear on what you want )
  2. What have I tried? (Reflect on what you’ve tried.  What actions have you taken to move in the direction of the goal?)
  3. What happened?  (Assess the effectiveness of the actions you’ve taken)
  4. What else can I do?  (Generate a list of actions that might take you in the direction of the goal)
  5. What WILL I do?  (Pick 1-3 specific actions and DO them.  This is most effective if you pick a specific time frame for taking the action and if you tell a 3rd party what you are going to do and by when, and ask them to check in with you to ask about what you did, and what resulted.)

Summary of Book Recommendations