Much of a leader's time is spent, formally or informally, working to
influence decision makers, typically peers, cross-organizational
colleagues, or those higher up in the organization. The Tuesday
Reading this week Effectively Influencing Decision Makers: Ensuring
That Your Knowledge Makes a Difference (PDF) focuses on just this subject.
To begin the article, Marshall Goldsmith quotes Peter Drucker as
having said that knowledge workers can be defined as people who know
more about what they are doing than their managers do. He then notes
that though knowledge workers have years of education and training for
that work, they have little training in how to effectively influence
Goldsmith then sets forth ten guidelines to help in your influencing
of decision makers:
When putting forth a proposal to a decision maker, your
responsibility is to sell the proposal. It is not the decision
maker's responsibility to buy. You need to take responsibility for
Focus on the needs of the decision makers and those they
represent, not on achieving your objectives.
Focus to win "the big battles." Don't waste energy and capital on
the trivial points.
Present real cost-benefit analyses. Don't just sell the benefits.
Never remain silent on the ethical issues.
Remember, those you are working to influence are human too.
Don't be disrespectful.
Support whatever decision is made. This is not a time to say
"They made the wrong decision!" Treat the decision maker like you
would want to be treated in a similar situation.
Make a positive difference - don't just try to win or be right.
Focus on the future; let the past go.
By spending some time learning to influence decision makers, you can
make a much larger positive difference. Today is a good day to start.
. . . . . jim