In my experience, many people consider influencing to be some kind of black magic; that only special people endowed with special gifts can do it. In fact, I’ve read in leadership books and doctrine that influencing is a key skill for any leader who aspires to be a great one. Sadly, from a military perspective, I’ve read very few books that actually tell you precisely how to do it.
Having recently worked in two large military headquarters I’ve been struck how utterly essential the need to influence is. EVERYTHING that was achieved in both of these headquarters was a result of influencing the ideas that decision makers have which, in turn, influences the decisions that they make. If you don’t know how to do that well, you may as well just sit at your desk checking your emails; you will be ineffective in a strategic or joint workplace. Just doing your job well and being a good technical expert is not enough. You’ll flounder.
It goes far beyond just strategic headquarters.
“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because they want to do it” D. Eisenhower.
If that’s not influencing, I don’t know what is. Fundamentally, it’s the art of selling, but selling appears to be a dirty word in the public sector. Furthermore, the problem with calling it an art is that it suggests you have to be gifted to do it. That’s simply not the case. It can be learned.
None of the ACOTC (All-Corps Officer Training Continuum) courses I have attended has even broached the topic of influencing. We all know it’s a ‘thing’ and it’s important, but not once have I been given any clue as to ‘how’ to do it. In fact, the first time I saw any kind of teaching to do with influence was very recently, when I was visiting a III Class activity at RMC-D where the Cadets were shown a TED Talk on how to influence. It gave me hope that we might be pointing in the right direction.
That’s why I wrote this book. To give normal human beings a chance to decode the mystery of influencing decisions. That’s what we’re talking about here, not influencing people; it’s the people that ultimately make the decision to say yes or no, to follow or not, to do so productively or begrudgingly, or to help create change or to passively obstruct.
In this book, you’ll learn whether you need to learn more about how to influence, about the different kinds of decision makers, how to identify them and how to communicate with them. It’s based off DISC behaviour profiling methodology, which was based off the original behaviour psychologist, Carl Jung. The code works just as well up, across or down the chain of command. I trust you’ll get as much value out of this book as I have done.
About the Author:
Sarah Macarthur-King is an experienced Army Officer and Leadership Coach with a passion for human behaviour, the study of excellence in human performance and empowering women to achieve great things. She is currently posted to Army Headquarters and deployed as an Australian embed in the US lead Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve in 2015.