|Kendell Brown, Associate Director of Graduate Career Services|
The ability to influence is essential to leadership. If you can get people to buy into an idea that you set forth, you’re golden. But how can you get people to listen and take you seriously when you are the most junior person on the team? I’m going to guide you through a step-by-step plan you can use to get the buy-in you want.
Developing a thorough plan shows the upfront effort you have already made, in addition to highlighting your commitment to the idea. This course of action should include key steps, decision points and goals. With a clearly articulated action it is easier for people understand your ideas, rationale and goals and thus put forth the effort necessary to achieve your vision.
In business, facts trump theory, so find what you can to support your idea and bolster your plan. Do an analysis, “run the numbers”, create a case study - the idea is to accumulate evidence to show that you’ve done your homework and that your suggestion isn’t a fly by night proposal. Another form of evidence gathering is to become a subject matter expert. Take the time to learn the ins and outs of a process, a client, a tool, etc. – know the good and bad points, become the “go-to” person in the office on that topic. When it’s common knowledge that you know more than anyone on particular subject, your opinions and plans on that subject will carry significant weight.
Let’s say you’ve got a plan to grow the margin on the team’s 3rd largest product line. If you’ve been exclusively managing the product line and you’ve done a thorough analysis of the biggest factors affecting the line’s margin – your idea will get heard because you know the business better than anyone else.