Gaining Influence – Strategies that Work

In the Harvard Business Review article, “How Experts Gain Influence,” by Anette Mikes, Matthew Hall, and Yuval Millo, the authors provide an overview of their study of two risk management groups within two banks. They suggest that the four competencies that helped one of the groups excel can also help leaders in other industries gain influence throughout their own organizations.

4 Strategies to Gain Expert Influence

1. Trailblazing: finding new opportunities to use expertise

Trailblazing is not about just making a new path for yourself and/or others, but making an effort to acquire deep learning about your organization from your colleagues so you can better understand where the new opportunities lie and then determine how you can best make a difference in new areas.

2. Toolmaking: developing and deploying tools that embody and spread expertise

Whether it’s in the form of a document, spreadsheet, or presentation, creating tools that highlight issues, and help others understand the issues that need to be discussed is a key competency to demonstrate your expertise applied to business challenges.

3. Teamwork: using personal interaction to take in others’ expertise and convince people of the relevance of your own

Asking for feedback and incorporating that feedback into your tools is an important collaboration strategy. Collaborating with others is smart. Through collaboration, we can learn more and get more done.

4. Translation: personally helping decision makers understand complex content

The work we do is often highly technical or complex. When we can help others understand it more easily, we’re providing important value. What are some strategies to help understanding? Tell a story, use metaphors, or make it a fun game. Any of these approaches can help others learn and retain complex information.

The authors argue that putting any one of these strategies into practice will improve influence, but consistently employing all four is the key to gaining influence that can make a difference in your career and in the organization.

It’s about being open, looking for opportunities, being fully engaged, and helping others.

Your thoughts? Have you used one or more of these strategies successfully?

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