You don’t have to be a person of influence to be influential
Jerry Yoshitomi writes on leading with limited authority — influencing others with whom we have no direct authority to change what they are doing, as well as influencing others over whom we have authority, but often have little influence. This articles was first published in JAM (issue 32 / October 2008 ).
Some ways to lead with limited authority
- Listen to your superiors and identify the intractable problems they are concerned with, but don’t seem to have many answers. How many times have we heard, ‘Our audiences are greying/retiring/dying,
what are we going to do to attract younger audiences?’
- Challenge the prevailing organisational wisdom.
- Identify the problem (with other sources, third parties), yet draw attention to issues without drawing too much attention to yourself. Don’t make it Jerry’s issue. Make it many people’s issue.
- Invite/gather the guiding coalition – colleagues from up/down within the organisation – to begin creating solutions.
- Identify solutions in other places or others solving similar problems (take workshops, read about innovations in other organisations).
- Identify resources for experiments (if possible within your own control) to facilitate action.
- Create new outcome measures to evaluate programmes – ten years ago our understanding of the term ‘number of hits’ would have had a very different connotation from today’s.
- Create a dashboard to quickly and effectively communicate progress (consider an automobile dashboard or the money thermometer for a local fundraising goal).
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