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Evaluate our ability to influence others

Evaluate our ability to influence others

“There’s no use worrying about things that are out of your control, because if they’re out of your control, there’s no use worrying… There’s no use worrying about things that are under your control, because if you’re under your control, there’s no use worrying.”

In our leadership and personal development workshops, we often do a “degrees of control” exercise. We ask participants to come up with examples in the following areas: 1. Direct control; 2. Leverage; and 3. Uncontrolled. While there is often much debate and not always full agreement, examples under Out of Control generally include things like the weather, the economy, natural disasters, freak accidents, and the like. Discussions about my degree of Direct Control usually boil down to one thing: me. However, some autocratic people delude themselves into thinking they have direct control over their teams, children, or people who report to them. Many other people are quick to give in to the victimitis virus and declare that they have no control or influence over the behavior of others.

Our degree of influence is clearly the largest area, and the one that is open to the most debate. The amount of influence I have is directly related to the strength of my Influence Rating in each situation. The CLEMMER Group developed the Influence Index to help participants assess their position with a person or group in a particular situation. Every time I try to influence (lead) another person or group toward my point of view or course of action, I need to assess my position of influence. An objective and honest assessment of my position will tell me if the time is right and if I have the strength to proceed.

The evaluation is based on a five point scale. 1 is extremely weak, 2 is fairly weak, 3 is moderate, 4 is fairly strong, and 5 is extremely strong. Using that scale, we can rate ourselves on each of the following 12 areas for a particular situation:

or my clarity on what a successful outcome would look like

or my understanding of their position and victory (how will they benefit?)

or my persuasion and communication skills

o my timing and the fit of my proposed action with the situation

or my tone and approach (will I increase or decrease defensiveness and conflict?)

or my genuine desire for a win/win outcome

or my credibility with this person or group

or my passion and commitment (including persistence)

or our levels of mutual trust

or the strength of our relationship

o How well I have covered the bases with other key influencers and built their support

o My designated role, position and authority

A total score of 45 points or higher shows that I am in a strong position to influence that person or group in that situation. A score of 25 to 44 is not very good. You may want to wait for a better time or strengthen some of my lower areas (which may take some time and hard work). If I get 24 points or less, my ability to influence is very low. Clearly I have a lot of work to do if I want to increase my leadership on that issue or in that situation.

The seventh president of the United States, Andrew Jackson, once said: “a person with courage makes the most”. It often takes courage to use the Influence Index. It’s much easier to throw up your hands and walk away muttering, “I told you so, but you just won’t listen.” The reason they don’t listen often has a lot to do with my ability to influence. My ability to influence has a lot to do with my choice stacks. If I’m going to improve my Influence Rating, I’m going to have to change my choices and get to work on changing myself to help change them.

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