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Use Your Influence

Use Your Influence

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Published by: Dheeraj on Jan 29, 2009
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07/07/2011

 
 
Mind Tools Newsletter 88 – November 27th, 2007
This newsletter is published by Mind Tools Ltd of 126 Arthur Road, Wimbledon, London, SW19 8AA, United Kingdom.You have received this email because you have confirmed that you want to receive it using our confirmed subscriptionprocess. To unsubscribe, just click the link at the bottom of this email.
Welcome to our November 27th Newsletter!
How do you get your ideas heard? Or get thingsdone in your project or organization? Whatever thesituation, it's certainly easier when you get other people on side, and involve them in the right ways.Influence Mapping is a great technique to help youdo this. It helps you identify where power andinfluence lie, and use this knowledge to smooth your way.
 
In This Newsletter ...
 
Our article on Influence Maps is just one of our great new resources this week, and it's our Editors' Choicearticle in this newsletter.Another great new article this week looks at "Kotter's 8-Step Change Model". HarvardProfessor John Kotter is a leading authority on managing change, and his 8-Step ChangeModel helps you understand and manage the challenges of major change, from preparationthrough to reaping the benefits. Click hereto read this article. We also take a look this week at some of what's new in the Mind Tools Career ExcellenceClub – from the "Triple Bottom Line" to "Management By Wandering About". And we havenews about our newGift Subscription service, that is now available for membership of theclub.
 
We hope you enjoy the newsletter!
 James & Rachel 
James Manktelow and Rachel ThompsonMindTools.comMind Tools – Essential skills for an excellent career!
 
To find out about new tools on the Mind Tools site the moment they’re uploaded, clickhere to subscribe to the Mind Tools RSS feed (you'll need an RSS newsreader installed), or here to find out more about RSS.
 
Editors' Choice Article:
Influence Maps
Uncovering Where Power Lies in Your Projects
Many people can have influence over your projects. Some influencers are obvious and easyto spot. Others are less obvious, but are no less significant. If you fail to recognize and"manage" these influencers, you'll most-likely experience unexpected resistance to your projects, and sometimes bewildering failure. This is increasingly the case as you run largeprojects, and as the number of people affected by your projects increases. 
Contents:
 
 
People within your organization, at least, are supposed to work together openly and willingly.However, even here, your boss, your teammates, your customers, your boss's boss – eventhe CEO's nephew in the mailroom – can all impact you, given certain sets of circumstances.However people outside your organization have all sorts of interests and motivations that youcan't control. Here, knowing who influences who can be critical if you want to get anythingdone at all.
Influence Mapping
So do you understand who has influence over your projects? Do you know the nature,direction, and strength of these influences? After all, using the normal "chain of command"may not always be the best way to advance your objectives: Knowing who the real influencersare can help you determine where you should put your effort if you really want to succeed.This is what influence mapping is all about – discovering your project's true stakeholders (not just the obvious ones) and the influence relationships between them. This helps you targetthe key influencers so that you can win the resources and support you need to reach your goal.Influence maps are a natural extension of Stakeholder Analysis.Your project's success can depend on identifying its key stakeholders and then managing the various relationshipsbetween them. Stakeholders have the power to help or hurt your initiatives, so stakeholder management is an important aspect of project management. For more on this, see our Winning Support for Your ProjectBite-Sized Training (Club members only).
The Elements of an Influence Map
An influence map is a visual model showing the people who influence and make decisionsabout your project. The map helps you understand how stakeholders relate to one-another, sothat you can quickly see the way in which influence flows.Remember that even the most powerful people rarely act alone. Top executives and other people in authority rely on advisers. Find out who the advisers are, and understand how theyoperate. This can be vital to your project's success.There are three main considerations when you construct an influence map:
1.
The
importance
or weight of a stakeholder's overall influence (represented by thesize of the circle representing that stakeholder).
2.
The
relationships
between stakeholders (represented by the presence of lines or arrows between them).
3.
The
amount of influence
stakeholders have over others (represented by theheaviness of the lines drawn between them).Your completed influence map shows the stakeholders with the most influence as individualswith the largest circles. Lines (arrows) drawn to other stakeholders indicate the presence andstrength of influence.We'll use an example to illustrate.You've proposed a new organizational structure that will encourage people to work in businessunits with cross-functional teams. You know this is a huge change, and you want to make sureit's well supported within the company before you try to implement it.
 
The most obvious stakeholders are:CEOElizabeth BrownCFODennis GordonDirector of MarketingPamela EnnsDirector of Product DevelopmentJon EvansDirector of Human ResourcesWallace HoustonBut are there other stakeholders aswell? And who holds influence over whom?Upon further investigation, here's what you discover:
The entire HR team will be important to the reorganization – but not just the director of HR. Francis Beaton, the newly hired change agent, will be especially important.
Elizabeth Brown has worked with Jon Evans for over 15 years, and she values Jon'sinput on strategic initiatives.
The board of directors is chaired by a longtime associate of Jon Evans. Like ElizabethBrown, the board chair values Jon's opinions and has never objected to any initiativeJon has ever backed.
Wallace Houston and Dennis Gordon have a history of conflict. This is becauseDennis was very late to realize HR's strategic value. Dennis still has difficulty spendingmoney on HR projects, which he considers to be "soft" expenses. Getting Dennis'sbuy-in is critical if you want the financial resources needed for the change.So when you look more closely, you can identify additional people who will have an impact onyour reorganization plan. And not everyone has the same influence.The resulting influence map looks something like this:This influence map clearly shows how important Jon Evans is to the success of your restructuring plan. It also indicates that you should spend energy on gaining support fromWallace Houston and Dennis Gordon before moving on to other executives.Before you thought about stakeholder influences, you might have assumed that the CEO andCFO had the most influence on organization-wide change. But the influence map shows youthat this is probably not for the case in this situation.Influence is not static. It changes over time, just like the circumstances surrounding eachproject or decision. If you create influence maps at regular intervals, you'll chart thesedifferences and gain a much greater appreciation for the way decisions are made. This willhelp you to smooth the decision making process and be more effective.
Creating an Influence Map
Follow these steps to construct an influence map.
Step One:
Prepare astakeholder analysis.This helps you identify, prioritize, and understand your key stakeholders.
Step Two:
For each stakeholder, find out the following:

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