advocate vision


In Leadership by Jeff Czernicki

without pissing off everyone else in the room.

We are living in the realm of influence and persuasion. Much, much ink is being spent and many dollars sunk into research on these elements of business. So, to address the topic, which could’ve easily been stated as “How you like me now!” It is helpful to think about all of the positive things a person can do to increase their potential. To bring a greater impact on the influence they have or want, in the workplace. In other words; they can be helpful, they can be an expert, and they can be liked.

There were three examples of the passive voice in that paragraph. I flinched subconsciously at the thought of Sister Ann Margaret, and that solid oak rubber tipped pointer loading up for a swing at my knuckles.

Ok then.

All too often the mere mention of influence and persuasion in the workplace conjures up thoughts and visions of having to be smarter, better looking, and more popular than everyone else. You know what? It is true. Yeah, it is, just not in the unpopular sense that you may interpret it to be so.

Look, being helpful, stepping up to take on a little extra work, helping someone out in a pinch, are all ways to generate reciprocity. Reciprocity is a powerful social force that moves us, mostly, to return the favors of others. It is so powerful that it works even when someone does not like you. So powerful that when the help or the gift you have given to others, was not asked for, they usually respond in kind.

There is proof that in reality we each attract and create our personal energy. Let’s face it; everyone wants abundance in life. The same holds true of the positivity that permeates when you interact with others through acknowledging their virtues and validating their successes. It is amazing how quickly the support you seek comes back to you through you resonating with others in an authentic fashion.

Don’t be afraid to share your knowledge, thus expertise, in a subject area. Your ability pulls much weight when influencing someone. Demonstrating your authority can be explicit and obvious, like having a credential or certification. It can also be implicit, like enlisting someone to vouch for your capacity. Just a word of caution, don’t come off as the “Know it all.”
We all don’t like you already.

So being liked, which is the opposite of pissing everyone off is huge. However, there is a formal definition to being desired in the context of influence and persuasion. Being liked means being attractive (yes, physically attractive), being similar (in dress, in interests, in culture), having positive associations, paying compliments, and cooperating and collaborating.

These are things we can easily control – except the first one. The big caveat for this and the other aspects of influence is personal congruence with yourself and your mission.

You see the harmony you hold within yourself is what can set you apart when it is your turn to speak at the table. Your personal balance and how you apply it is crucial to your ability to influence and persuade. With this approach, the mindset that we all will win through this process, or what’s the point, is of the highest magnitude. It is a path less traveled in most business forums, but one that is proven to pay dividends at a high rate of return.

Now, let’s talk about that authenticity thing a bit further. Being that nice, helpful person is impressive unless it is all a façade of bullshit. The things that can quickly sink being helpful, hold knowledge and thus to be liked, is a blatant attempt to utilize them for your personal end. Most people are aware that doing favors leads to someone returning the favor. If it is evident that the only reason you are helpful is for your narrow needs, people will take notice. Moreover, now you become that “jackhole.” Say hello to all your new jackhole friends. Oh yeah, they will find you, and you deserve them.

So what might your attempt at influencing and persuading others, look like? Well, if you do not want to piss people off, you better damn well be prepared to substantiate your beliefs. When pursuing a vision, enlist the knowledge and experience of others in the workplace. ASK A LOT OF QUESTIONS OF A LOT OF PEOPLE! Find out everything you can on the topic, subject, project. Has your intention been pursued before? Seek feedback.

Lastly, learn to frame from the positive. It is still true you get what give in this world. Frame out your vision/intention through a cooperative, collaborative lens. When you can impress upon others that we are all going to win here, others tend to see it as a gain. Behavioral economics tell us that people are more likely to respond to the possibility of a gain than they are a fear of a loss. So, present yourself with abundance.

Go get em’ kiddo!