RoundedPuzzleI have been working with teams and leaders on becoming more influential for many years. As I’ve done the work, a number of human realities have emerged in my conversations with you:

  1. Understand. We don’t really know our key stakeholders very well. We know the work, not the people. And, if we do, we are sometimes not using what we know very well or at all.
  2. Value. Is there a clear reciprocal value exchange in the relationship? When questioned, you often look up and out, thinking about what you offer, even more uncertain about what you should expect from the other person.
  3. Trust. When we lack trust, a personal barrier is raised to impede our interest and action with a person. When questioned, so may people have huge assumptions or little understanding of the very person they distrust—making a new opening almost impossible. Remember, I know that some people act in untrustworthy ways; I’m not saying to be unaware or unprotective.

That’s the framework I’ve been working on: Understand-Value-Trust. Over the next weeks, I’ll be pulling the puzzle pieces apart and sharing a tool for assessing your key relationships. One last point for today. Access to gain understanding can be somewhere between rare to illusive. It would, at least,  take new initiative to create the right time. In a highly pressured workday, how does one take time for building relationships? Last question: Can you be influential without a relationship?