Build Your Influence. Here’s How.

Photo by James Pond on Unsplash

Many people think that influence is simply for sales and marketing people. But actually if you’re a CFO or a purchase director, an in-house attorney or an engineer, you would like influence to advance your career, to sell your ideas and to advocate for your team.

Influence may be a process and not an occasion . And influence doesn’t come from the brilliance of your ideas. Influence comes from your ability to make a robust personal brand and to create a network of advocates around you.

Create a robust personal brand:

Having a robust personal brand is important to influence. When people know they will calculate you, know what you represent , they’re more likely to concentrate to you and “vote” for your ideas.

A brand is a voice and a product is a souvenir.

- Lisa Gansky

One of my clients found that out over the amount of the year I coached him. Chris was the vice chairman of finance for an outsized public tech company. the corporate didn’t have a uniform approach to budgeting, resulting in confusion in what proportion each department could spend and tons of labor rationalizing budgets round the company. Chris wanted to institute some streamlined, consistent processes to enhance the system and economize for the corporate .

When he tried to urge buy-in for this new process, however, he got a awaken call. Key people didn’t support his idea. once I started coaching him, I ask the people around him to urge feedback for him. I acknowledged that he was seen as smart, but that folks believed he focused on the small things and not larger strategic issues. “Smart but tactical” was his brand. Chris was shocked to listen to this, but after digesting it he decided to dig in and work on his brand.

Together we created a focused decide to build Chris’s brand as “strategic.” Before meetings he hung out brooding about the subject of the meeting and the way he could add a strategic insight. He spent longer with a vice chairman of strategy and a vice chairman of corporate development to broaden his view. And he listened carefully to the CFO to ascertain what she determined to be “strategic.”

After about eight months I went back to the people around Chris and asked them what changes that they had seen in him. Unanimously they saw him the maximum amount more strategic, and also positive which was a stimulating side benefit. With this stronger brand as background, Chris positioned his idea as strategic and got buy-in very quickly to try to to a pilot. the method got unrolled fully a year later, and Chris got promoted.

Top tip to create your brand:

Enhance your network:

The right people are all around you. It’s important for you to be connected to the people above you within the organization structure because they will greenlight projects for you. Strong connections together with your peers — especially cross-functionally — are essential because they’re those who assist you imagine and implement large-scale cross-functional projects. And don’t ignore the people that report in to you and their peers. they’re those who will tell you what’s really happening and work extra hard to form you successful if you’ve got the proper relationship.

My client Barbara — the Chief Audit Officer of a public drug company — saw that she needed to create her network when she wasn’t invited to key meetings on potential acquisitions. She was frustrated by this, of course. But after we talked it through she saw that folks got invited to those meetings supported their relationship with the Chief Counsel — someone she had a difficult relationship with — and their head of corporate development — someone she didn’t know in the least .

Here are few facts: Barbara really should be in those meetings as a function of her job. And it’s not fair that she was excluded because she didn’t know the proper people. And yet, that’s exactly what was happening. Yes, life isn’t fair, which goes double for corporate life.

I coached Barbara to form friends with reality and improve her relationship with the Chief Counsel also as get to understand the had of corporate development. She did. Within one year (these things don’t happen overnight) she was invited to meetings associated with acquisitions. As a side benefit she need to know more people at the corporate and will then give her team far more interesting work. Building your network has many rewards.

Top tip to reinforce your network: