The Art of Influencing

Written by Alistair Gordon 11 May 2022

The Challenge

Often experts have a more introverted nature. This might have suited the acquisition of their technical skills. However, ensuring that their advice is taken up, or that they influence a variety of different stakeholders to adopt their recommendations, commit to new disciplines and so on requires advanced collaboration skills such as influencing, relating, listening, initiating, and effectively conducting challenging conversations.

Where experts are under-developed in such skills, they can end up frustrated at their apparent lack of influence. They can rub people up the wrong way and end up marginalised. Their advice and recommendations, though intellectually sound, can go unheeded to the disadvantage of the expert him/herself, to his/her function, to stakeholders and to the organisation overall.

Despite unhelpful beliefs to the contrary, anyone can develop advanced collaboration skills by applying themselves – and practising tried and tested tools and frameworks. Experts are often surprised at how quickly they develop proficiency once they have some tools and strategies to work with. It turns out that effective behaviours need not be an elusive mystery that technically minded people lack the “software” for. In our experience, experts are quick learners in this area and can achieve radical breakthroughs quite swiftly.

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