Posts tagged Influence and Persuasion
Your boss called. They want you to manage up.

Bosses are frustrating creatures.

They want you to take the lead… But when you do, they micromanage.

They say, “Ask me questions any time!” But they also say, “Can you try to figure it out on your own?”

They say they don’t want status updates. Then they come by your desk frantic asking what you’ve been doing for the past two weeks.

Basically, they want you to read their mind. Which isn’t great for you, because mind-reading is hard.

Luckily, there’s a workaround which is pretty darn close. And that is the skill of managing up.

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Concentric circles of customers: Focus on people who already share your worldviews

“Don’t try to market to everyone.” By now, this advice is obvious. We know we can’t appeal to everyone.

But what if you feel like your product really is for everyone? Where do you start?

One way to narrow down your focus is to think about your customers as concentric circles on a bullseye. In the center of the bullseye are your core customers. These are people who are die-hard fans, who completely “get it.” They are excited you exist.

Start by marketing to them, then expand outwards. This is especially valuable if you have limited resources and bandwidth. 

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Inception is real. Here’s how to plant your ideas.

In the movie Inception, the characters debate whether it’s possible to plant ideas in people’s heads.

Can you make them think YOUR idea was THEIR idea to begin with? 🤔

LOL. Anyone who has ever worked in an office knows the answer is YES.

Inception is 80% of what “leadership without authority” is. Lao Tzu said it best: “A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.”

All those times your manager agreed to your idea because they thought it was their idea? That was inception.

Now that we agree inception is real, be mindful of the ideas you’re planting. Why? Because the issues you shine attention on will influence what your audience thinks about. And ultimately, whether they agree to your idea.

What you spend time on gets aggrandized--which means you might accidentally turn a non-issue into an issue.

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Why A-players make assertions

Early in my career, I worked with some of the smartest people at the Gap headquarters in San Francisco. I was bright-eyed and excited to be there, so I’d spend time after work putting together “trend boards” about styles that were trending in the market.

“I’m seeing a lot of high-end designers using plaid.”

“Leggings sales have been steadily going up while pants sales stayed constant.”

“A lot brands are beginning to offer activewear this year.”

I would pat myself on the back when I pointed out an insight. I thought everyone else would pat me on the back too.

This wasn’t the case.

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How to get an enthusiastic yes: A framework and exercise

You and I rarely have enough leverage to get something done all by ourselves.

I know, I know. Sometimes, it would be a lot easier if you could use your sheer willpower to push things through. (Believe me, I’ve tried.) But the reality is, we live in an interconnected world and we need other people's cooperation to make change happen.

Having cooperation and support from stakeholders is a game-changer. It means more momentum for your project. More confidence and speed. More energy spent doing great work you're proud of. And a lot less worrying.

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Read your messaging in a robot voice

My obsession with messaging is based on my personal experience editing hundreds of pages of copy for myself, my direct reports, and my clients. When your brand is on the line, you're incentivized to make sure copy gets your audience to take action, achieves the outcome you want, and represents you well (so you don't invite a flurry of customer complaints).

In other words, if you're a leader or changemaker who uses words to persuade, this post is for you.

I want to tell you about what I call the robot voice method.

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“What will I tell my boss?”: Why leaders should understand the worldview of bureaucrats

“This is policy.”

When someone cites policy on you, it’s hard to push back. It’s a strong frame because the person uttering these three little words has the power of an entire organization behind them. Who are you, a mere mortal, to challenge policy?

Never mind if the policy doesn’t make sense in your situation. Policy is policy.

What can you do? When you’re trying to do something new, you might have to deal with the most dreadful kind of person: a bureaucrat.

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Speak up before the train crashes

I'm not good at holding my tongue when I sense that a train wreck might happen. If you've tried speaking up before, and no one listened, it's tempting to want to teach them a lesson.

Okay fine, well the train will crash. THEN they'll see why they should have listened to me all along...

You don't get to take the moral high ground there. If you sense that something might be wrong, speak up before it's too late.

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