With conversations that build trust we earn the right to influence.
Everything changes, all the time. We influence and are influenced, all the time. Why is it so hard?
It isn’t changing or influencing that is hard - it’s where we decide to start and how we decide to get there, that makes it hard. Aikido is a Japanese martial art that understands influence and change. In conflict, Aikido uses the opponent’s energy to control the situation. That’s a great analogy for effective influence and change.
As leaders we are required to influence and change others. It’s a lot easier if we do two things.
First – start where they are – I mean physically, rationally, emotionally, culturally, politically and spiritually. Let go of our attachment to our own agenda and take the time to understand. Stephen Covey was right when he said ‘seek first to understand’.
Second – take the path of least resistance. Use their energy to lead them gently to where you want to go. This requires creativity and patience. Sometimes the answer is to do very little, sometimes nothing other than listen.
Let our influence be subtle and the change be as nature intended. The best path is the one that requires the least force.
With influence we can start to exercise personal power.