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February 2007
Published by Geoff Kelly, Kelly Strategic Influence

Wisdom to lead minds:

"Steer not in every mariner's direction.

Thomas Fuller

Go against common practice for more impact.

For every leader, 2007 will surpass 2006 to the extent that they better influence others to support their ideas and strategies.

Effective leaders are going somewhere and taking others and their organisations with them. They create value by deciding what needs doing, then earning and guiding the hearts and minds support of followers to do it. Without this support their ideas and strategies fail, and so do they.

So how can they improve their influencing ability this year?

First, they might heed the advice of the late US achievement expert Earl Nightingale. He said that when faced with a new or novel challenge you first should study closely what most others were doing. Then consider doing the opposite. Or at least consider doing something radically different, because most often the herd is doing the wrong thing and getting poor results. This explains the collective lunacy of the majority who lack savings and are deep in debt, and the obsession by most salespeople with cold calling and product knowledge, despite consistently poor results from that focus. Another example is the continuing fixation by most business people on past performance rather than future opportunity. Clearly in each of these arenas the few have outstripped the many by going against the majority practice.

Perhaps the most obvious example is that most people so undervalue their time that they allow others to interrupt them whenever they want. You will see this in any office, railway station, and even in public toilets where people are constantly talking or checking their emails even when mobile. It is not surprising that relatively few find the time to think creatively and differently to go beyond the banal status quo. Contrast that to most high achievers in every field who apply disciplined management to getting the most out of their time and allow interruptions only on their terms.

And so it is in how leaders influence. Most follow the cult of the core message; they and their advisers devise a set of words intended to win the support they need, and then blast them out through verbal, print and digital media. And they fail to get the results they need.

When was the last time you saw people moved to action by a core message on a poster, in a blog or any other medium? Despite this approach failing them time and again, too many continue to follow slavishly this silver bullet approach. Perhaps because the outputs are so easy, or that it looks a good plan on a Gantt chart, or just because that is the way they would like it to be. The flaw in these assumptions is that emotion and spirit move people more than rational triggers.

If you want to improve strongly the support you earn from others this year, here are six questions the ineffective majority don't ask:

  1. Exactly what is my business goal, and what support will I need to achieve it?
  2. Who are the relatively few groups or people who will make the most difference? And what do I know about their thoughts, feelings and actions?
  3. For each key individual or group, what would move them to support fully my idea or strategy? For example, would they change if I highlighted a problem that they currently had and showed how this had a bigger and more immediate impact than they realised?
  4. Taking my conclusion from question 3, what could I add that would magnify the chances of achieving the support I need? For example, can I increase the power of my appeal by showing how others they respect support it, or showing how it aligns with what they already think or do? There are many powerful alternatives available to achieve this.
  5. What actions can I take to consistently and effectively implement this approach?
  6. How will I know I've succeeded?

The most effective leaders understand deeply how to use this approach for consistent outstanding results. Some have developed this intuitively by observation and intense practice. Most have sharpened their observation and practice with study and professional help.

However, even a newcomer will improve their results by simply applying the six steps above.

More next month...

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Geoff Kelly works with leaders who are frustrated that others don't fully support their ideas and strategies. He mainly works with corporate leaders around the world, but also leaders in Government and Not for Profit. He is also a popular speaker on this and related subjects. See www.kellystrategicinfluence.com.au, email gkelly@kellystrategicinfluence.com.au or call +613 9678 9218 for more information

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© 2006 Geoff Kelly All rights reserved.
You are free to use material from the Leading Minds eZine in whole or in part, as long as you include complete attribution, including live web site link. Please also notify me where the material will appear. The attribution should read: "By Geoff Kelly of Kelly Strategic Influence. Please visit Geoff's web site at www.kellystrategicinfluence.com.au for additional articles and resources on earning support for your ideas and strategies." (Make sure the link is live if placed in an eZine or in a web site.)

 


 

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