Octet’s latest deep-dive guide explores influence and how businesses can excel by utilising this quality or skill. The writing process involved intensive research, including two lengthy interviews with influential Sydney-based figures, Brett Kelly of Kelly+Partners Chartered Accountants and Fred Schebesta of Finder.com and HiveEx.com.
It quickly became apparent that there were patterns in the advice given by each interviewee. So, here are those patterns – as 5 key steps to becoming more influential in business. May it whet your appetite for more wisdom and insight, to be found in the comprehensive Power of Influence guide.
1. Set the agenda
Before you attempt to influence others, an important step is to focus on yourself. Develop a clear understanding of what you wish to achieve – your objectives – why you want to achieve them and how. The next step is to see where other people fit into this, finding common objectives and then doing the necessary hard work to transform your vision into a reality.
In order to become influential externally, one must first turn inward – Brett Kelly shares, “To me, it comes from influencing yourself. To have done the work in order to understand what it is you’re trying to do, who you’re trying to do it for, how you’re going to do it and why that makes a positive difference to people.”
2. Keep your hands dirty
Respect is earned. And the same is true of influence. You’ll never be able to win people over to your point of view or objective if you don’t demonstate to them that you’re reliable and hard-working. Influence is all about leading by example. If your team doesn’t believe you’re working hard, then they’re not going to follow suit. Simple as that.
Fred Schebesta shares that his confidence as a leader comes from his willingness to put nose to grindstone: “I am confident. I did a lot of things, and I knew they were going to work because I calculated it. I’ve done the extra work and I’ve done the extra plan. I’m the one who’s there at night looking at the spreadsheet, making sure and speaking to the customer, checking it out and double checking.”
3. Ooze confidence
Confidence is something that Brett Kelly agrees is fundamental to being able to influence effectively. He believes, “The thing that you can do that can most help people is to inspire confidence in them, to give them certainty where often they don’t have it. Where they’re a little bit, “Oh, I’m not sure,” you need to be very certain.”
As is true in so many of life’s contexts – confidence is key to success. Being able to transpose that confidence onto your team, colleagues or partners is a powerful tool of influence.
4. Foster healthy relationships
Rather than referring to expanding one’s sphere of influence as “networking”, Kelly prefers to think about the process as “relationship building”. Meanwhile, Schebesta uses the term “social engineering”.
Being liked by people is an obvious way to get them onside. By keeping this consistent, taking a genuine interest in others and doing your best to help them, you’re likely to be treated in the same way. This is as important in business as it is socially, a simple concept that shouldn’t be underestimated.
5. Get your finances straight
Having a financially stable position in business, as an owner or an employee, is vital to maintaining influence. Being well-funded is the support that allows you to put in the hardwork. It removes pressure and can help you lead confidently, unencumbered by financial strain. Octet can help you decipher what the best options are for you, delivering finances to help you build and exercise your influence effectively.
In the words of Kelly: “Get your accounts, straight. Get the financing in place that will allow you to hit your growth objectives. And make sure you build a personal relationship with whoever’s providing your finance, whether that’s debt or equity, such that they understand your business, they trust you, and that they will continue to back and invest in you.”
Get your free copy of The Power of Influence to learn more about how you can become more influential and bring power to your business.