Photo by Marco Bellucci on Flickr

This week, I’ll have a two-part post. This morning I am asking you to reflect on and consider your skills and opportunities to influence the outcomes you desire.

In my work, influence means ” your personal power to produce an effect without directing or forcing.” If you can make something happen, either through directing a person or taking a set of actions that are predetermined to deliver the results, you don’t need to think about influence at all.  But, since you are in control of few of the most difficult sales, project deliverables, or organization results, influencing should be a conscious process for you by now.

In fact, most people do consider how to influence a situation before or during the “play.” But, their process is often not data-rich and often centers on what they think or hope should work. And all too often, the real strategic thinking occurs after some difficult bumps in the road.

Over the next weeks, I’m going to take us through and deepen my work on influencing (with your help). If you’ve worked this material with me before, take your skills to a new level. If you haven’t, hang on for the ride. In either case, I hope you will create a new and remarkable result (or two).

Five questions to guide your observation over the next few days

  1. What meetings, decisions, project milestones, etc. do you need to influence in order to get the result you want?
  2. Who are the key people to influence?
  3. Of those people, who are the “tough” ones for you–the ones for whom your emotional reaction gets in your way?
  4. Why are they tough for you (e.g., personality, pattern of behavior, history, etc.)?
  5. What about you or your interaction is successful, and what’s not?

Print this page, or copy the questions to your favorite note app,  and record your observations and thinking this week. I’ll be back to you near the end of the week to gather your input, confidentially of course.