J.D. Meier's Blog

Software Engineering, Project Management, and Effectiveness

Influencing Without Authority

Influencing Without Authority

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Today I got some relevant training for today's world - how to succeed when you don't have authority and control over execution.  This is a common scenario in cross-team, cross-group scenarios.  At Microsoft, you don't get rewarded by saying, "...if only I had control over authority and execution ... I would be successful."

At the heart of the class was the model of influence without authority:

  1. assume all potential allies
  2. clarify goals and priorities
  3. diagnose the allies world
  4. identify relevanc currencies
  5. deal with relationships
  6. influence through give and take

You obviously deal with relationships throughout the process.  If you assume those you need to influence are allies, you're in a more resourceful state.  If you don't clarify goals or understand the world of those you influence, then you can miss out on finding mutual purpose or understanding why or where you get stuck.  Currency is more than money; it's any type of exchangable value, such as expertise, resources, ... etc.    

I liked the class.  The ideas weren't brand new, but instead of sit back and think, it was roll up our sleeves and apply the tools.

  • Even if you "had control over authority and execution" it wouldn't help.  Ordering people around military style can only get you narrowly focused, short term results.  The long term results are lethargy and apathy.

  • Here's a brief set of success patterns I've shared with a few colleagues. These are the patterns I see

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