Influence: An Essential Executive Skill
If you look at the skills most executives would consider to be essential for success, the ability to influence underpins and even enables all of the other skills.
Consider two essential skills: strategic thinking and leadership. A Chief Executive Officer needs to be able to persuade the Board of Directors and the Executive Management Committee of the wisdom and insight of his vision and go-forward strategy. Big data and crunched numbers can’t stand on their own. The CEO must also be able to influence people to follow his lead.
Influence and persuasion are both essential skills, but they are not quite the same. Persuasion is a verbal skill, an ability to communicate effectively, to get a message across. The power to persuade impacts beliefs, opinions and sentiments.
Influence is the ability to change hearts, minds and behaviors. It impacts actions, events and results. Change agents and visionaries need to be able to influence people. It is an essential executive skill.
Influence can be learned.
Here’s the good news: The ability to influence is a skill that can be learned and optimized. It turns out there is an “influencing process” and there are “influencing strategies,” according to “Influencer, The Power to Change Anything.”
The key is to:
- identify, analyze and focus on “vital behaviors” that can impact results and have a cascading effect;
- and to understand the six core forces that drive people to do what they do.
The six core forces are:
- personal motivation
- personal ability
- social motivation
- social ability
- structural motivation
- structural ability
Have we persuaded you? Maybe not yet. This is just an overview. We will dig deeper. Stay tuned.
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