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How to Build Influence.

January 1, 2014

Daily ReadOn How to Build Influence.

Whether you need to make changes in your business, organization or family, it’s not always easy. Resistance can come in the form of size of organization needing change, lacking vision/understanding or contentment/lack of desire to change. Sometimes, however change is necessary and while it may be good for all parties involved not everyone shares the same vision as you. Here is a seven pronged blueprint, which you can use to drive change of any kind in any organization.

  1. Accumulate evidence. To gain influence for an idea, you need supporting material (data, references, cases, stories, and analysis). Accumulate enough material to make you the ‘resident expert’ before you begin talking about it in public.
  2. Develop practices. An idea is an abstraction that won’t produce change until you provide people with specific, practical ways to put it into everyday use.
  3. Create a sacred expression. Practices without theory are nothing more than tips and techniques. Find your best form (a talk, a video, a written piece, etc.) and use it to create a ‘sacred’ expression—a complete, authoritative, and compelling articulation of your idea to energize and emotionally engage people.
  4. Encourage ‘respiration’ around your idea.  Engage with the audience to ‘breath’ life into your idea. Get people talking, conversing and responding.
  5. Include your personal narrative. Present your business case first, but give your personal story to give the idea personality.
  6. Align with a metric. Influence cannot be definitively measured in financial terms, but people need some way to calculate its value, such as volunteer participation rates, that demonstrates its success.
  7. Expect backlash. When you propose a new idea, expect an intense response–from useful debate to useless sniping.  An intense response–positive and negative–is a sign that people are taking the idea seriously.

How have you had success leading your organization through change?

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