Understanding the Power of Influence Model to Energize Project Management

Understanding the Power of Influence Model to Energize Project Management

Having authority over people may create fear, but need not necessary gain support or commitment. Enlisting the support and cooperation of people requires influencing them, and for exerting such influence, authority is not required. The Cohen-Bradford Influence Model, developed by Allen R. Cohen and David L. Bradford and first published in their 2005 book Influence without Authority explains how to influence people without applying authority. It recommends understanding what others want or value, builds up such resources, and structures the position based on such values so the other person tends to view the proposal in favorable light.

This model bases itself on the law of reciprocity, or the belief that all positive and negative things done pay back over time, or that one good or bad thing deserves another. For instance, doing a favor obliges the recipient of the favor to return in kind at a later date.

The Cohen-Bradford Model is a six-step approach to control behavior at work.

The ways of influencing others are many: rational persuasion, inspirational appeal, personal appeal, forming a coalition or alliance, relentless pressure, etc. Success, however, depends on ensuring the person targeted values such measures. The core of the influence model is identifying such relevant currencies, or understanding what motivates or works with the other person.

The possible types of currencies are endless. The following are five currencies that most people value:

The Cohen-Bradford Model finds use for a variety of purpose, such as seeking help from someone outside one’s span of authority, ensuring that subordinates put their heart and soul into work, overcome any resistance or challenges to authority, establishing a new vendor, supplier or contractor relationship with a stranger and requiring instant support, and more.

In the corporate world, the concept finds application in many ways, mainly in give and takes. It may range from an employee covering up for a colleague who messed up the network by browsing dangerous sites, and in return, the colleague may cover up when the employee walks in late on another day.

One employee may help another in formatting a presentation, and the other may reciprocate by managing a difficult customer through his persuasive skills. The converse may also hold true. If, for instance, the human resource executive sticks to the rule book and refuses to accept the system administrator’s leave application just because he submitted two minutes late, causing him a loss of pay or leave, the human resource executive can expect the system administrator to give priority to fixing his computer above practicing for the choir six months down the lane.

Again, a software project may require the support or cooperation from people outside the project team. Support from the external broadband provider to resolve breakdown of Internet access real-time may require prompt payments. The project manager requiring the team member to work on weekends to meet the deadline, and understanding that he values position-related currencies might shower him with praise, and publish the initiative in the in-house newsletter.

When applied right, the influence model goes a long way to ensure the vitality of the product.

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Understanding the Power of Influence Model to Energize Project Management

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