3 Influence Mistakes That Block Your Success & What to Do Instead

No matter your job, your influence skills directly impact your performance and power on a daily basis. Influence is your ability to affect the actions and opinions of others. It’s how you work with and through people to effectively get your job done.


Influence may come naturally to you. But without a roadmap, you can make critical mistakes that block your success without your even knowing it. The key is to identify your mistakes so you can change your approach. That way you can move forward with a strategic plan, accomplish your goals, and watch as the path is cleared.

Make sure you learn these three common influence mistakes… 

Continue Reading »

Your 6 Sources of Power at Work

Why and How to Use Them

Power is often seen as a dirty word. It evokes the idea of bosses and underlings. But the meaning of power we’re talking about here is not “power over others” — we’re talking about power in the sense of the ability to do, to act, and to accomplish.

There are 6 types of power available to you at work regardless of where you sit in the hierarchy. Understanding all 6 of your power sources and how to leverage them in the workplace is crucial to being effective in your role and being a successful influencer. 

Continue Reading »

3 Tips for Hearing More YES at Work

You know that moment when you’re lying in bed staring at the ceiling and you have a golden idea?

Influence tips at work

You’ve come up with the perfect game changing solution that will rocket your team, your business unit, or your current project to stratospheric heights. Or you’ve thought of an initiative that will shift your work culture towards a more positive atmosphere. The only catch is that you’re going to have to convince the key decision makers, like your boss, your colleagues or your customers that this is the best way forward.

Many of us struggle to get buy-in from the right people when we have a great idea. So how do you get them on board? This is how your golden idea can translate to that golden word: yes.

Your influence skills are what impact the people around you to take action on your ideas and recommendations. But first, you need to identify who all the key players are, beyond the person who will ultimately give you the green light. To hear more yes at work, these are the three categories of people you need to identify and influence. They can make or break any pitch you have coming up. 

Continue Reading »

How to Get Results at Work Faster

Master the 3 P's of Influence: Power, Politics and Planning

Ever wondered how your colleague got promoted before you did? Or how Jill in accounting seems to be across every aspect of the business from the kitchen to the boardroom and works it to her advantage?

influence strategy

Influence strategy is crucial for achieving your goals for your career and business. Why?Because your influence skills are what get the people around you to take action on your ideas and recommendations. Influence is a fine art but rather than being about Machiavellian manipulation, it’s a strategy that anyone can master.

It’s a common misconception that influence is the same thing as effective communication. Granted, communication is a crucial part of successful influence but it is just one component. Here are the three P’s to mastering influence strategy in the workplace.

  1. Power: instead of relying solely on positional power, build relationships across the board

Rather than just leveraging a high position of power (like a managerial role), influencers build relationships at all levels. Building relationships is crucial in today’s global organizations. Successful influencers develop alliances and connections because positional power only goes so far. You can build relationships by… 

Continue Reading »

Influence and Negotiation — Do You Know The Difference?

Formal negotiations such as contract discussions, salary negotiations, and territorial disputes are easy to identify — you know when you’re in one. But there are many informal negotiations you can find yourself in without warning and without recognizing them. And this happens way more often than we realize.

influence and negotiation

Informal negotiations are commonly confused with either problem-solving discussions or influence situations. Here’s how to tell the difference between negotiation and problem-solving and below is the key to recognizing the difference between negotiation and influence.

Knowing the difference between negotiation and influence helps you use the right strategy at the right time. Without knowing the correct strategy, you put your success at risk and set yourself up for unnecessary frustration.

You know you’re in a negotiation when…

Continue Reading »

The Fastest Way to Rejection When Influencing

For many people, there is one mistake tripping up their influence efforts and causing decision makers to reject their otherwise great ideas and proposals. And it’s something totally avoidable. So, what is this big mistake we’re talking about?

Influence Tips

Focusing on Yourself = Big Mistake

Focusing your proposal or pitch on yourself, your department, your team, or your needs is the big mistake we’re talking about here. And while it’s easy to make this mistake, we have some good news for you: It’s easy to fix.

Easily Increase Your Odds of Success

Decision makers are significantly more likely to say yes to your proposal when it centers on their concerns, their considerations, and their needs. Before you propose anything, do your due diligence and be aware of what’s important and of value to the decision maker. When you link your proposal to those considerations, you increase your chances of getting a yes.

Here’s an Example

What not to say: “I can’t get work out the door on time because of the delays with our vendor parts shipments. Can we switch to another vendor who can help me meet my schedule?” This is all about your failure or success and not the decision maker’s or the organization’s. Here’s what to do instead…

Continue Reading »

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. 

Continue Reading »

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

Continue Reading »

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. 

Continue Reading »

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.

Continue Reading »