FountainBlue’s February 14 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of Expanding Your Circle of Influence. Below are notes from the conversation. Our panelists this month represented a variety of backgrounds from product management to CSR, marketing to engineering, and a variety of educational backgrounds and experience – some technical, some not so much, but they all had successes in the business arena, influencing with or without authority. They were generous in sharing their advice and insights, which are synopsized below.
- All successful leaders work with people from a wide range of backgrounds, experiences and motivations. They take the time to understand the mindset, perspective and motivations of the people that they work with, and build a relationship with all stakeholders at all levels. They are great leaders for a cause, great cheerleaders for their team, authentic communicators to their range of stakeholders.
- Listen to all communications of others – the verbal, non-verbal, the things-that-said, the things-that-others-say-about-them. Use this along with direct communications to figure out what makes someone tick, what’s important to him or her, and work with her or him to create a win-for-all.
- People who are great at influencing others are authentic in their communication, transparent and clear about their motivations, invested in the success of the company, humble about themselves and what-they-know, and genuinely care about the people with whom they connect.
- Influencers embrace change, and find a way to communicate why change is good for all the constituents they work with.
- Leaders who influence broadly and deeply have a track record for making things happen and delivering results for and alignment toward a corporate goal. Often, they leverage data, including market research and social media data, to help influence decision-makers and implementers to align behind a vision or goal or cause.
- No matter what they are feeling, influencers don’t make it personal – remaining focused on the relationships and the results. This unwavering commitment, coupled with their credibility and authenticity helps instill loyalty and commitment from the people they work with, even if there isn’t yet a deep personal relationship.
- Rather than trying to impress others with who you are and what you do, focus instead on solving the problems of the people with whom you’d like to connect and you will make an impact on them.
- Help the people you work with focus on the business objectives, rather than distractions and personal agendas and platforms.
- Sometimes influence occurs in the incremental changes made. Make a stand for a goal, and accept every concession toward achieving that goal, especially if you can help someone take the credit for the results.
10. Above all, build trust with all the people you work with directly and indirectly, and deliver results in the name of the higher cause, rather than for your own personal motivations. The bottom line is that you should keep a bank of influencing skills ready for use, from listening to direct confrontation, from bartering to negotiating. Remember to focus on relationships between stakeholders, and delivering results in alignment with corporate goals. The successful influencer challenges the status quo, facilitates new ways of thinking and doing, and ultimately fosters change for companies and leaders, in a good way. Resources:
- Edelman Trust Barometer (2014) – http://www.edelman.com/insights/intellectual-property/2014-edelman-trust-barometer
- Andrew O’Connell, What People Really Care About When They Meet You: Are You a Good Person? http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/01/what-people-really-care-about-when-they-meet-you-are-you-a-good-person
- Jennifer B. Kahnnweiler, http://www.amazon.com/Quiet-Influence-Introverts-Making-Difference/dp/160994562X
Please join us in thanking our speakers for FountainBlue’s February 14 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event, on the topic of Expanding Your Circle of Influence, With or Without Authority and our generous hosts at LifeScan:
Facilitator Lucie Newcomb, President & Chief Executive Officer, The NewComm Global Group, Inc.
Panelist Tonie Hansen, Director, CSR and Sustainability, NVIDIA
Panelist Karen Pieper, Director of Synthesis, Tabula
Panelist Dawn Torres, Project Manager, CLS PMO, Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems
Panelist Kelly Vincent, Senior Director of Product Management, eBay