This Strategy Helped Me Jump 3 Job Levels in 3 Years — Twice

If you aren't doing this one thing, you are missing a crucial opportunity

I was teaching Influence to a group of technology industry VPs, directors, and managers last week and I heard a familiar concern voiced by several leaders in the group: I don’t want to have to promote my accomplishments or myself in order to be influential. I don’t want to brag or be viewed as a suck-up. 

They were responding to a strategy we introduce people to when we teach influence – it’s a practical tool we call the sound-bite strategy for getting your work noticed. This tool is not the core of the influence process we teach, but it is a useful add-on; simply put, it’s a formula for generating a short summary of your current projects that you can strategically share in casual settings with leaders above you.

Here’s what I’m talking about: Within the past month, have you had casual run-ins with leaders above you who’ve asked something like, “How are things going?” or “What’s happening?” And your standard response was your version of “Pretty good” or “I am really busy – there is lots going on,” and then you moved on? Or maybe your response was to rattle off everything you have on your plate.

In either case, you’re missing an opportunity. When leaders above you ask how things are going, it’s your opportunity to answer them in a meaningful way that conveys your value and updates them on key projects that matter to the business. It’s your chance to become “sticky,” as in, being more top of mind with senior leadership – and this comes in handy when building your brand, which in turn helps you increase your influence.

Here’s How It Works

Situation: You’re grabbing a snack in the kitchen and Senior Leader X (at your boss’s level or higher) is getting a drink. 

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Why Betsy is Such a Confident Negotiator

Negotiating — and teaching negotiation skills to others — are two of my colleague Betsy Flanagan’s favorite things to do. Betsy was teaching negotiation to a group last week and was going through the 6 points of failure in negotiation, and something important emerged in the class. Betsy and I were discussing it and I wanted to share it with our wider community.

Ugh… Conflict…

Here’s what it is: While some people are comfortable with conflict to varying degrees, many people are truly uncomfortable with conflict and are failing at negotiation for this reason. Betsy addressed this in the class by helping to shift the perspective on what conflict is and by reviewing again what negotiation is. And of course by using a basketball analogy (Betsy is a huge Golden State Warriors fan). 

First of All, What is Negotiation?

A negotiation is a discussion for the purpose of reaching agreement when those involved have conflicting goals and vested interests that they are actively protecting or promoting. In a negotiation, the conflict lies in the different interests and goals of the parties involved, not in personalities.

When our goals and interests conflict, it doesn’t have to mean we are in a conflict

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3 Things You Can Do Right Now to be More Influential

Have you tried to influence someone lately only to walk away not getting what you went in for?

3 Influence Tips

I was talking about influence with a group of educational consultants last week and I was hearing the same story I’ve heard many more times than I can count: You have a specific request, the person you’re influencing can’t or won’t honor that request, and you walk away frustrated and with nothing.

It doesn’t have to be that way. If this has happened to you recently, there are three things you can do right now as an influencer that will significantly increase your rate of success. All it takes is a little bit of planning – either in your head or on paper. 

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Are You Making These 2 Extrovert Mistakes?

Questions are a crucial way to involve others when you’re having important conversations — whether it’s an influence conversation with a decision maker, a performance adjustment conversation with a direct report, or an informal status update chat with your manager. But there’s a wrong way to ask questions, especially for extroverts.

Communication skills for extroverts

Here are 2 common mistakes extroverts make when asking questions — and what to do instead.

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Help Others Say Yes to You

Successful influencers use several strategies to make it easy for people to say yes to them. Among other things, they think ahead and plan for why a decision maker might say no to a proposal, and they come into a pitch session ready to allay fears and concerns. But sometimes even the best influencers cannot predict exactly what a decision maker’s concerns or doubts will be, so they have to find out the old fashioned way — by asking.

Influence tips, useful questions

Just Ask

Successful influencers use a combination of discovery questions and exploratory questions in a pitch session to draw out information, ideas, and concerns from the decision maker in order to take away doubt and uncertainty and clear the path for a yes. Here’s how they do it…

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3 Reasons Decision Makers Say ‘No’

Something people often forget to consider when planning an influence strategy are the reasons that decision makers might say no. There are several reasons decision makers deny requests no matter how compelling the pitch. Your job is to plan ahead for how to address these concerns so they don’t stand in the way of an otherwise great idea or proposal that you’d like to get the green light on.

Influence at work

Following are some of the common reasons decision makers reject influence attempts — and how you can plan for a “No” in order to get a “Yes.”

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Influence and Your Personal Power

You have six sources of power available to you when it comes to influence, but you might not be aware of all of them. Most of us are familiar with the power and authority that come along with position, but five other sources of power — resource, political, knowledge, relationship, and personal — are important, too. In this post I’m discussing your personal power.

Influence and personal power

Your personal power is that engaging force that attracts people to your words, your ideas, and to you. That combination of assets includes your brand message, your leadership style, and your leadership and personal presence demonstrated in the way you walk, talk, and dress.

Along with knowledge power and relationship power, your personal power is internal and not dependent on organizational structure, climate, or leadership. Your personal power is yours to carry with you wherever you go.

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How Your ‘Knowledge Power’ Increases Your Influence Power

Power is not just about authority or position in the chain of command. High ranking position doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be influential and a lack of a high position doesn’t mean you won’t be. You have six sources of power at work that can help you be successful at influence. In this post I’m discussing your knowledge power.

Influence and knowledge power

Knowledge power is one of your internal sources of power. Along with relationship power and personal power, these are your lasting sources of power that stay with you no matter the organization you’re in or the position you hold.

This is good news — you’re the one in control of keeping your knowledge current, then making sure that people know about it. When people are aware of your knowledge as a resource, this ups your influence game.

3 Kinds of Knowledge Power

Your knowledge at work includes your expertise as well as informational and institutional knowledge. You exercise your knowledge power through the acquisition and demonstrated use of expertise, and by gaining and distributing highly regarded informational and institutional knowledge to the right sources.

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We All Have More Power Than We Realize

Not all power is positional or based in traditional authority. So the power we have at work is not derived only from our job title or position in the chain of command.

Power and influence at work

In previous posts I wrote about the resource power and relationship power you have at work and how they can help you be more influential. In addition to resource, relationship, and positional power, we have several other sources of power at work. The problem is we don’t always realize the power we have and therefore don’t make use of it. But if we’re aware of our various sources of power, we can use them to become more successful as influencers.

6 Sources of Power

You have six sources of power that you can call on to help you be a more successful influencer. Positional, political, and resource are your three external power sources. Knowledge, relationship, and personal are your internal and lasting sources of power.

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What the Stockroom Guy Taught Me About Power

I once learned an unforgettable lesson in power from a home improvement store stockroom employee. In fact, the experience so well illustrated power in action that I tell this story in my influence trainings when discussing resource power (more on this below).

Power at work

Here’s what happened. I was in the plumbing department cruising the aisles for a couple of parts for a toilet replacement job I was doing at home. (Seriously.)

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