A critical factor to how indispensable you are at work, or how effective you are at your side-hustle - or, let's get real... at how important you are in everything and anything you do - is your level of influence. Your ability to influence people and overcome resistance in situations where you aren’t necessarily the official boss or HBIC (even though we know you’re one at heart) is a great measure of how easy (or hard) it will be for you to get things done and make the difference you want to make.
Many organizations have moved to matrix structures rather than the vertical hierarchies of the past, and several companies considered “cutting edge” in terms of their culture are doing away with titles altogether. And we know that Millennials care a lot less about formal titled authority than any previous generation… so that’s something.
For those of you who operate outside of formal organizations, or working on a side-hustle, your influencing skills are also critical at achieving the impact you’re going after. You often need to influence potential funders, partners and even customers.
So, if you consider influence important (which you should - we certainly do), here's our #WordsOfWisdom for you:
I know, right. Definitely mind-blowing. Boom!
Ok... so let’s do it.
Start with our trusty Influence Audit (yay freebies!). This tool will help you measure your value and evaluate the strength and power of your network. It’ll also walk you through a Red Flag Patrol to help you identify where you might have some opportunities to increase your influence.
Once you’ve given yourself a baseline measurement of your influence, you’re gonna want to take some steps to amp up your game and become that informal powerhouse you know you can be. Yes, building relationships and expanding your influence is easier said than done, but the effort is worth it, and you can get going in the way that’s right for you. For example, if “networking nights” aren’t for you, here are some other (arguably more powerful) ways to build your influence:
- Volunteer to work on projects with folks outside your typical circle of influence.
- Provide more value to the new people you meet without asking for quid pro quo.
- Get involved in things you care about - even if they’re not directly related to your mission (at work, or on the side). These gatherings will be meaningful to you AND connect you with people from other parts of the universe that share a similar passion.
- Think about where you are - literally. Physical placement matters. We coach our leaders to avoid the corner office like the plague because chance meetings are a cornerstone of collaboration, connection, and relationship building. If you’re working on a side-hustle, think about joining a collaborative workspace or become a regular at a local coffee shop. The environment in which you work makes a huge difference in the network that you create for yourself.
- Get to know the motivations, needs, desires of the people in your network...you can only influence others when you know what they care about.
What other ways do you build your influence?
-- Stephanie Judd, Co-Founder, wolf & heron