International Project Management Day




5-Step Tactical Influence Plan


Quick Summary
Screenshot Tons of project responsibility but no direct authority? It's nothing new - but it sure can get old. Instead of feeling frustrated and stuck, take charge in a different way - by using a simple 5-step process to think through how to influence one or more people in each challenging situation.


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What this is

A guideline on exercising influence on projects, including a simple 5-step process for thinking through how to influence one or more people in a particular situation. Includes a personal worksheet for crafting an informal plan.


Why it's useful

Project managers usually don't have title-based authority over the people on their teams. And all of us at one time or another need to influence people that we have no authority over – e.g. colleagues, other managers, partners, executives. We need to get support from other groups, ensure other people keep their commitments, get timely decisions made, and so forth.

All these situations involve other people; we need a way to get across the importance of what we need, affect people's opinions and perceptions, and cause action. When we don't have positional authority, these situations can additionally feel difficult. A simple step-by-step common-sense influence process can help make those situations less daunting and provide a clear path forward.


How to use it

For a project situation where you need something, but do not have positional authority to make it happen:
  • Understand sources of personal influence by reviewing the next page.
  • Use the 5-step approach on page 3 to think through your situation thoroughly – what you need to happen and why; who you need to influence; what they care about; and then what to say to best make your case to them. If desired, the worksheet on page 6 provides a place to jot down thoughts on each step.
  • You can also reference our related guideline on "Speaking Up" for more ideas on step 4, making your case.
  • Use the Influence Circles Mapping technique on page 4 if you determined that you will need to influence more than one person, or you do not have a direct connection to the person you need to influence. Mapping influence "circles" can help you strategize how to influence people you are not currently close to.
  • Consider bouncing your influence plan off of someone else to get their insights on the situation and their independent take on who needs to be influenced, before you approach those people.
  • Look for opportunities to utilize concise and objective information to help make your case. For example, if you need support for a major project trade-off decision, bring a trade-off table to provide backup information on the choices and the rationale for your recommendation.

This template requires a Premium Subscription
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