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Real Influence – Part 2

| December 10, 2013

by Jim Bruce

This week’s Tuesday Reading “Real Influence,” from the title of Mark Goulston and John Ullmen’s book “Real Influence:  Persuade Without Pushing and Gain Without Giving In,” is a continuation of the reading begun last week.  Goulston is a business psychiatrist, executive coach and cofounder of Heartfelt Leadership.  Ullmen oversees the website and teaches at the UCLA Anderson School of Management.  This reading is drawn from four HBR blog posts from the two authors.

Last week we focused on the author’s first two (of four) steps – focusing on a great outcome and listening beyond your blind spots – and this week we focus on the last two – really understanding someone else’s point of view and when you’ve done enough, do more.

3. Really Understand Someone Else’s Point of View.   The most influential people want to achieve genuine buy-in and commitment, not just short-term compliance.  To do this, you must begin interacting from where that someone is, that is from their point of view.  To do this, you need to engage in three specific ways:

  • Situation Awareness:  Show that you “Get It.”  Here you demonstrate that you understand the opportunities and challenges your conversational partner is facing.
  • Personal Awareness:  You Get “Them.”  Here you show that you understand his or her strengths, weaknesses, goals, hopes, aspirations, needs, concerns, etc.  Demonstrate that you’re willing to connect on a personal level.
  • Solution Awareness:  You Get Their Path to Progress.  Help your coachee discover a path that enables her to make progress on her own terms.

When you practice all three forms of “awareness,” you understand who the person is, what he or she is facing, and what is needed to move forward.  Simply put, you get their “there.”

4.  When You’ve Done Enough, Do More.  Think back to a time in the past when you’ve helped someone important in your life achieve a goal.  More than likely you didn’t just say or think “I’ll take a few minutes to offer some advice.”  Most likely, you spent hours, some of it doing messy, difficult, time consuming tasks.  You automatically do more for people you care about deeply.  It comes naturally.

These relationships are special.  But, in any relationship that you want to be “real,” you need to go beyond what’s expected.  And, you becoming the main attraction can never be a part of it.  You support others so they can step up and you help them do that important thing.  

Doing more isn’t a one-time thing, it’s an on-going practice.  But, it’s not a practice where you do more to “get” something back.  You are deepening your relationships and making things better.

Goulston and Ullmen close out these four essays by saying “When you find ways to help other people learn, grow, gain, avoid problems, make progress, and achieve their goals, you achieve something more important than near-term gain.  You form the basis for on-going results, enriched relationships, and an integrity-based reputation.”

So, you now have a set of components that you can use individually or together as you seek to influence others to do something really spectacular.

Spend some time this week putting them into practice.  .  .  .    jim