Building relationship may not increase influence. But no-one increases influence without building relationship. – Dr. Mark Strom
Our life is a series of interactions, reflection and action. In our organizational and business life, influencing others, be it our direct reports, manager, or customers, helps us progress with our goals. Our personal life is no different but that is another blog!
And yet for many of us, we lose confidence when we have to do this.
The hesitancy embodies messages like, “I am not sure how they will react, what if things get worse to I don’t have the right skills and how do I this when I hold a contrary view and maintain the relationship?”
Can you relate to any of the above? Or perhaps you have your own rationale/story of what gets in the way. (I would love to hear so please feel free to add in the comments section below).
The good news is that you can become more effective at communicating and expressing yourself, being heard and crashing through any self (or other) imposed barriers holding you from success.
Here are three things to be mindful of:
1) Build your relationship first
Ask yourself, “What am I doing to build a relationship with the other party?” It has been shown that when people like and trust us, they are more likely to be open to us and listen to what we have to say.
All of which leads to them being more open to our ideas and we don’t enter engage in an interaction cold.
Think ahead – who are the influential others that you work with and who you may have ignored or not put time and energy into building a positive relationship with?
Remember the time you need to have your proposal approved is not the time to start building the relationship.
Foster your relationships and then do the second step:
2) What is in it for the other party?
Look at the world from the perspective of your stakeholder. Do this before you approach them with your grand idea be it about generating revenues, customer engagement or something else.
Consider what is it that is important to them. Check to see if you can answer some of the following questions:
What is their big vision?
What goals and aspirations do they have with regards to this?
Where does their passion and energy lie? In other words, what drives them? Are there specific motivators such as innovation, profits or being the biggest or the first?
Get to know their value base too? For example – are they someone driven by mostly profits or other core values like making a difference, innovation, creating a sense of adventure and high employee engagement and customer experience?
Have you considered what their blind spot might be? What might they be missing?
3) Your value add
Having taken the above into account, now think about yourself.
How are you similar and or different to the person you are trying to influence? Which of your strengths could be enablers here?
What about your own goals and objectives?
Is there any alignment between what you are both trying to achieve and or your value sets? A meeting of minds on values can really help in working through any surface or substantial issues as at a deeper level you may both want similar things.
And finally, having taken their blind spot into the equation, what might you offer that could really help them in achieving their specific goals and aspirations?
Bringing it together
Having a positive relationship, knowing and understanding the needs, drivers and vision of your stakeholder is an important first step.
This will help you get clearer about how you could help them (and also yourself) achieve success. And do this in a win-win way.
Here’s to your success! I look forward to your thoughts and experiences.