Once you have built your personal power
, and you keep building it, you are ready to influence other people. I like Genie Laborde's approach to influence. This is her model:
- Aim for a specific result. Be very specific. Don't say, "Let's go agile." Say, "Let's go agile on this project on this day." Yes, that specific.
- Be positive when you have the conversation. It's way too easy to predict the conversation will go badly. Or, to talk yourself into a bad conversation before it even starts! It's okay to give yourself a little pep talk before you have the conversation, which leads us to...
- Stay in the moment for the conversation and use your active listening skills. It's very easy for each of us to start listening to the other person and immediately rush to think of the argument about why we are correct. I do this. I bet I'm not the only imperfect person out there. Watch for the music that accompanies the words of the conversation, too. Is the other person being sarcastic? Listen and watch for the entire conversation.
- Now, here's the good part. The other person often tells you what he or she wants. This is the WIIFM, What's In It For Me. Listen for the other person's WIIFM, and see if you can't match your desires with the other person.
- Sometimes you need to look at the long-term and the short-term.
See how this all links together? First, you deliver on your commitments. As you deliver, you let people know that you have delivered. Not obnoxiously, but enough so you build a reputation for success. Now, you've built a reputation for delivery and success. You have earned your personal power. You keep doing that.
Now, you have power in the organization. You can start influencing people. You see what other people want, and you explain what you want. You listen. You explain. You look for short and long-term wins. You're not salesy, that doesn't work. But what does work is looking for an outcome that both of you can live with for the short and long term.
There's more for influence, but this works for verbal influence and was the topic of my keynote at the Better Software/Agile Development Practices conference. I posted my slides on slideshare.
You start from where you are. This is a building process. You are not going to get there overnight. But, you can be more powerful and more influential. Do try and let me know what you did.