In project-oriented organizations, the project management role lies outside the authority hierarchy. Project managers must accomplish their objectives without invoking the authority that organizational managers seem to use so effectively. They must negotiate for resources, budget, and schedule, all without organizational authority. And once the project is underway, they must secure the cooperation of others, including project team members, without authority. How is this even possible?
Success depends on recognizing that managing a project requires a series of negotiations. But it is also essential to realize that one need not execute all negotiations personally. At times, one can stand aside, and permit, facilitate, or encourage negotiations undertaken by others. These methods, taken together, are perhaps best described as influence. And by their nature, these methods require a high level of sophistication in organizational politics.
Effective use of influence entails creating or participating in a sequence of exchanges. Some are formally acknowledged; some are so quickly proposed and accepted that they are hardly noticed as exchanges. In any case the exchange partners rely on the health of their relationship as the foundation of their deals. They know each other, trust each other, and respect each other's competence.
This program gives attendees the tools and concepts they need to use influence in this way. It deals with issues such as:
- How can I become more influential?
- When someone seeks a favor from me, how can I ask for something in exchange without triggering a confrontation?
- What can I do when someone I want to influence rejects my attempts?
- How can I influence someone with more organizational authority than I have?
- How can I influence someone who is a favorite of a powerful person, and who has rejected my previous attempts?
This program helps people who make decisions or who want or need to influence others as they make decisions. As it turns out, that's just about everyone in the knowledge-oriented workplace. Participants learn:
- What is influence? What is politics?
- The ethics of influence: how influence differs from manipulation
- The connections between influence, authority, and power
- How to influence others one-on-one
- How to influence groups
- Confusing winning with achieving the objective
- The seduction of dominance
- How to identify influencers
- How to build and maintain alliances
- Techniques for saying no
Participants learn to appreciate the true challenges of dealing with cognitive biases. Most important, they learn strategies and tactics for limiting their effects, or, having discovered that a cognitive bias might be playing a role, how to intervene to enhance decision quality.
Program structure and content
We learn through presentation, discussion, exercises, simulations, and post-program activities. We can tailor a program for you that addresses your specific challenges, or we can deliver a tried-and-true format that has worked well for other clients. Participants usually favor a mix of presentation, discussion, and focused exercises.
Based on attendee interest, topics will include, for example:
- Influence as change: a model of change
- The ethics of influence
- Determining your preferred influencing style
- Choosing an influencing style
- Relationships and alliances
- Your power inventory
- Exchange and reciprocity
- Tools of persuasion: communication, credibility, logic, and emotion
- When an offer of an exchange can seem like a threat
- The dynamics of impasses
- How people lose influence
- Defending yourself against unethical influence
Whether you're a veteran influencer, or a relative newcomer to influence as a workplace practice, this program is a real eye-opener.
When we learn most new skills, we intend to apply them in situations with low emotional content. But knowledge about how people work together is most needed in highly charged situations. That's why we use a learning model that goes beyond presentation and discussion — it includes in the mix simulation, role-play, metaphorical problems, and group processing. This gives participants the resources they need to make new, more constructive choices even in tense situations. And it's a lot more fun for everybody.
Decision makers at all levels, including managers of global operations, sponsors of global projects, managers, business analysts, team leads, project managers, and team members.
Available formats range from 50 minutes to one full day. The longer formats allow for more coverage or more material, more experiential content and deeper understanding of issues specific to audience experience.
- Influence and Belief Perseverance
- Belief perseverance is the pattern that causes us to cling more tightly to our beliefs when contradictory information arrives. Those who understand belief perseverance can use it to manipulate others.
- The Opposite of Influence
- The question of why some people are so influential has a partner question: why are others largely ignored, or opposed, even when their contributions are valuable?
- Cognitive Biases and Influence: II
- Most advice about influencing others offers intentional tactics. Yet, the techniques we actually use are often unintentional, and we're therefore unaware of them. Among these are tactics exploiting cognitive biases.
- Cognitive Biases and Influence: I
- The techniques of influence include inadvertent — and not-so-inadvertent — uses of cognitive biases. They are one way we lead each other to accept or decide things that rationality cannot support.
- Speak for Influence
- Among the factors that determine the influence of contributions in meetings are the content of the contribution and how it fits into the conversation. Most of the time, we focus too much on content and not enough on fit.
- Power, Authority, and Influence: A Systems View
- Power, Authority, and Influence are often understood as personal attributes. To fully grasp how they function in organizations, we must adopt a systems view.
- Ethical Influence: II
- When we influence others as they're making tough decisions, it's easy to enter a gray area. How can we be certain that our influence isn't manipulation? How can we influence others ethically?
- Ethical Influence: I
- Influencing others can be difficult. Even more difficult is defining a set of approaches to influencing that almost all of us consider ethical. Here's a framework that makes a good starting point.
- "Rick is a dynamic presenter who thinks on his feet to keep the material relevant to the
— Tina L. Lawson, Technical Project Manager, BankOne (now J.P. Morgan Chase)
- "Rick truly has his finger on the pulse of teams and their communication."
— Mark Middleton, Team Lead, SERS