Tag Archives: influencing strategies

Influencing skills for Project Management – lessons from the military


By Elisabeth Goodman, 27th April 2019

Photograph of Emma Dutton MBE by Louise Haywood-Schiefer for “How to win wars and influence people” in Project, Spring 2019 pp.22-27

Project is the APM’s (Association for Project Managment) regular publication for its members.  This spring’s issue carries a fascinating article by Ben Hargreaves, editor of Project, featuring Emma Dutton MBE.  The article describes how she has founded a consultancy, the Applied Influence Group, to apply what she has learnt from gathering intelligence for the British Armed forces in Afghanistan, to the world of Project Management.

Parallels between military influencing and influencing projects

The article highlights some of the points made by Emma Dutton in her talk to the APM’s recent National Conference for Women in Project Management.  The parallels between the two worlds of influence include:

Multiple, complex stakeholder relationships

Shifting loyalties and volatile environments

A [or some] very demanding client[s]

The first and last points are certainly ones that the Project Leaders / Managers in the Life Science companies that we work with at RiverRhee would echo:

  • They often have to work with a range of stakeholders within and outside their companies, with different cultural backgrounds and communication styles, and with high expectations of the project team.
  • Although the loyalties are perhaps more stable, and the environment not as volatile as those which Emma Dutton experienced, there is often a high degree of uncertainty as to the possible outcomes of the scientific work

Emotional intelligence at the heart of good influencing skills

Emma Dutton makes an interesting observation from her experience of working in Afghanistan that is quoted in the article:

Afghanistan is a country built on relationships.  Afghans’ interpersonal skills are much more developed than the average Western person’s.  That’s how they survive.

and:

The mission was to influence hearts and minds as much as it was to collect information.  You had to be genuinely empathetic.  We are all humans, and we know when people are being real.

Emotional intelligence is a strong component of RiverRhee’s training, workshops and coaching for project and operational leaders, managers and team members.  See www.riverrhee.com for details of our various courses, including those on influencing and communication skills.

This, together with what Emma Dutton describes as “emotional management” or regulation of ones emotions, is also described by Daniel Goleman* and others as emotional and social intelligence:

  • being aware of our own emotions, attitudes, behaviours and those of the people we are interacting with
  • making conscious choices about how we express or adapt these emotions, attitudes and behaviours in order to get positive outcomes for all parties

These are the qualities that will enable project managers and leaders to influence the diverse and challenging stakeholders that they interact with.

Emma Dutton’s advice seems very wise indeed:

[do] your work  before you get in the room. Understand the people you are talking to.

As Ben Hargreaves concludes in his article:

Understanding drivers, likes and dislikes, motivations, anxieties, interests, attitudes and beliefs is all-important for the influencer.

Notes

*Daniel Goleman et al are authors of a very helpful series of booklets “Building Blocks of Emotional Intelligence” that Elisabeth Goodman has reviewed in earlier blogs as listed here:

About the author

Elisabeth Goodman is the Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting., a consultancy that specialises in “creating exceptional managers and teams”, with a focus on the Life Sciences. (We support our clients through courses, workshops and personal one-to-one coaching.)  Elisabeth founded RiverRhee Consulting in 2009, and prior to that had 25+ years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry in line management and internal training and consultancy roles supporting Information Management and other business teams on a global basis.  RiverRhee is a member-to-member training provider for One Nucleus. 

Elisabeth is accredited in Change Management, in Lean Sigma, in Belbin Team Roles, MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and is an NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming) Practitioner. She is a member of CILIP (Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals) and of APM (Association for Project Management) in which she was a founding member of the Enabling Change SIG.

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On leadership, emotional intelligence and influencing skills


By Elisabeth Goodman, 9th March 2018

My colleague, Liz Mercer, and I recently bought the whole set of  Daniel Goleman et al’s twelve”Building Blocks of Emotional Intelligence” between us.

The 70+ page booklet on “Influence” caught my attention as we have a course on Effective Influencing and Communication Skills with RiverRhee.  We also have a section on Influence in our Transition to Leadership course.  And how to influence others is also a topic that comes up in our one-to-one personal coaching for individual contributors and managers. I wanted to see what I could learn to pass onto our delegates.

8. Influence in “Building blocks of emotional intelligence”, More than Sound, LLC, 2017

We all need to influence, whether formal leaders or not

As Daniel Goleman reminds us, we all find ourselves in situations where we need to influence others to do something.

In a home situation it could be encouraging a friend or a member of our family to join us on an outing or to stop doing something that annoys us!

In a work situation it could be asking a colleague or a direct report to carry out a piece of work, or get involved in a new initiative.

We are all potential leaders for any given activity, whether we have a formal leadership job title or not!

The relevance of emotional intelligence for influencing strategies

Our influencing strategies will have more long-lasting effect if we achieve buy-in and engagement from those concerned in a positive way, than if we coerce them to do something against their will.

In RiverRhee’s course and module on influencing strategies we help delegates to appreciate potential differences in their own and others’ communication and influencing styles and preferences.  They explore how they can use this understanding to adapt their approach so as to build greater rapport and interact more effectively with those that they seek to influence.

We use the MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) to help build this form of emotional intelligence.  But indeed use of any personality tool could help with this.

Daniel Goleman researched the competencies of about 100 organisations.  He found that emotional intelligence was, on average, twice as important as cognitive ability for jobs at all levels of an organisation.  For top leadership positions, 80-90% or even 100% of the competencies for star performers were based on emotional intelligence.

Leaders with these competencies are the ones who tend to produce a “positive work climate” that is more conducive to employee engagement.  They are the ones who are more likely to achieve long-lasting influencing strategies.

Leadership styles conducive to effective influencing strategies

Goleman lists four leadership styles which will result in greater engagement and commitment from their teams.  They echo some of the ideas we’ve picked up previously on inspirational leaders.

The four styles that are more likely to be conducive to effective influence are:

  1. The “visionary” leader – who shares a clear and compelling log-term vision
  2. The “participative” leader – who involves the team in generating ideas and agreeing the way forward
  3. The “coaching” leader – who takes time and provides resources for their team’s personal and professional development
  4. The “affiliative” leader – who builds positive relationships within the team

Goleman contrasts these styles with purely directive, or even coercive styles.  He also cites “pacesetting” styles which are focused on meeting targets, often accompanied by negative rather than positive feedback.  Leaders with these styles are apparently characterised by having strengths in only three or less of the 12 Emotional and Social Intelligence (EI / SI) competencies.  Whereas leaders with the more positive styles are likely to have strengths in at least six to ten of the EI / SI competencies.

Additional tips for enhanced influencing strategies

Peter Senge has an excellent chapter in the “Influence” booklet entitled “3 Companies, 3 Paths to Influence”.  I picked out the following tips (some of which the author likened to a salesperson’s skills) in my interpretation of  these case studies:

  1. Listen – to really understand the other’s perspective
  2. Go where the energy is – also known as the “open door” approach.  There is no point in trying to push an idea for which there is no energy.  But when the energy is there..
  3. Have a vision and talk about what it will do for the other person
  4. Find where your interests and the other’s interests converge
  5. Use the language of your decision makers
  6. Understand the other person’s values and how you can help them in that context.  (We sometimes also talk about this in terms of the other person’s motivations.)

Being a “warm-demanding” leader

Matthew Taylor’s chapter in the “Influence” booklet describes the concept of “warm-demanding” leadership.  It’s about deeply believing in others, demonstrating that deep belief, and at the same time “holding them to high expectations”.

A “warm-demanding” leader will use their strong emotional intelligence competencies to build strong rapport with the person they are seeking to influence.  The individual will understand that they are valued and believed in.  They will also have the support, encouragement, challenge even that appeals to their own motivation and values to go beyond what they are doing today.

To conclude

There is a rich mine of lessons available to us, whether individual contributors, managers or leaders, about effective influencing strategies that we could use.

The “Influence” booklet in “The Building Blocks of Emotional Intelligence”, whilst not the final word on the topic, has some very useful insights to add to these.

As always, I would love to hear about other thoughts and experiences from readers of this blog.

Notes

About the author. Elisabeth Goodman is the Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting., a consultancy that specialises in “creating exceptional managers and teams”, with a focus on the Life Sciences. (We support our clients through courses, workshops and personal one-to-one coaching.)  Elisabeth founded RiverRhee Consulting in 2009, and prior to that had 25+ years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry in line management and internal training and consultancy roles supporting Information Management and other business teams on a global basis.  RiverRhee is a support supplier for One Nucleus and a CPD provider for CILIP (Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals). Elisabeth is accredited in Change Management, in Lean Sigma, in Belbin Team Roles, MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and is an NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming) Practitioner. She is a member of CILIP and of APM (Association for Project Management) in which she was a founding member of the Enabling Change SIG.

The Effective Team’s Change Management Workbook – now available!


by Elisabeth Goodman

I’m delighted to say that the first in my new series of  “The Effective Team’s ” workbooks is now available.

The Effective Team’s Change Management Workbook

Elisabeth Goodman (author), Nathaniel Spain (illustrator), November 2013 – ISBN 978-0-9926323-5-9

54777 RR cover design_Page_1 medium

This first book in the series focuses on Change Management.  This is the description on the back of the book:

“A well-managed change initiative is something special to behold!  The author’s experience with business support groups such as Library and Information services, and with organisations in the Life Sciences and SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) have been instrumental in shaping her approach to leading teams and to teaching and coaching individuals about Change Management.  This workbook has been designed to reflect her approach.  It encompasses personal journeys, reactions and resistance to change (the ‘people’ aspect of change) and the processes to use when planning and implementing various types of change.  The plentiful principles and methodologies are explained through scenarios and are accompanied by exercises for team or individual practice.  There are also notes on further reading.  The book is targeted at operational teams, but project teams will also benefit from its rich insights and depth.”

THE detailed content of the book

The book begins by taking the reader through variations of the Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s change curve – where change is perceived as negative or positive.  It then explores how resistance can be useful, using Richard McKnight’s victim, survivor and navigator representations.

The reader is then guided on how to go about articulating the strategic context for change in a way that will help team members be aligned on the key messages to use with their stakeholders, and some influencing techniques that they might use to achieve lasting behavioural change.

The next chapter explores how to go about understanding stakeholders’ perspectives, before getting into communication, training and support techniques for effectively implementing and embedding change.

The final chapter explores how to measure benefits, impact and effectiveness of the change.

Supplemental content includes full page versions of charts and tables for use in the individual and team activities, a detailed coverage of the case studies used to illustrate the book, and some notes on further reading.

Cost and availability

Copies are priced at £10.00 each, plus packaging and posting, and can be ordered via the RiverRhee Publishing web page (http://www.riverrhee.com/publications/books/)

Future books for enhancing team effectiveness

Future books in “The Effective Team’s” workbook series will address other themes relating to RiverRhee Consulting’s work for enhancing team effectiveness.  Topics will include high performance teams, operational excellence, knowledge management, and facilitation.

Notes

Elisabeth Goodman is the Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting, a consultancy that helps business teams to enhance their effectiveness for greater productivity and improved team morale (using training, coaching and consulting).

Elisabeth has 25+ years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry where she held line management and internal training and consultancy roles supporting Information Management and other business teams on a global basis.  Elisabeth is accredited in Change Management, in MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and in Lean Sigma and is a member of CILIP (Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals), and APM (Association for Project Management).