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Westside Toastmasters is located in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, California

LEVELS OF INFLUENCE

One of the biggest frustrations for any professional is not being taken seriously. If you feel you are a lone voice but speaking with wisdom it is even more frustrating if you feel that no one is listening to you. As with any other influencing situation you need to have a strategy. The first thing is to identify the reality of your own position. Many entrepreneurs or adventurers start with their own idea or belief; then they seek to find sponsorship, funding or other people to support or back them.

You do not need to start trying to influence the whole organization; focus on the parts that you can influence. Explore the concept of change, read about it, identify case studies of other organizations, talk to colleagues and network with other professionals. Knowledge equals power; seek to influence those around you. Have confidence when talking to colleagues or senior managers based on the knowledge that you have gained. All the great writers and business leaders had to start somewhere; they learnt to be persistent, to keep going when others gave up.

Focus on becoming a person with influence. One of the saddest comments that I hear when coaching individuals is people saying, 'I don't think I am good enough', with the result that they have not fulfilled their potential because they live with a fear of failure, or they do not speak out because they believe that others will not listen to them, give them a job or take them seriously. If you are looking to develop others, to build a coaching culture, it is important that you build your own inner resilience, that you are confident, that you develop self-belief and, most importantly, that you become the person you always aspired to be.

There are a number of references within this resource to becoming a business partner. You may want to use the following questions as the basis of assessing how effective a business partner you could be:

  1. Can you accurately describe the current business success of your organization?

  2. Do you know what issues in the business would keep your CEO awake at night?

  3. What are the current challenges being faced by your business sector?

  4. Who are the key competitors?

  5. If you had an opportunity to meet with the CEO and board of your business, what would you share as the challenges and opportunities in people development currently?

  6. You have been given the opportunity to take a three-month paid work experience/study leave on the condition that you research into an area that could enhance your business on your return. Where would you like to go?

  7. Are you in tune globally with the latest trends in learning technology?

  8. Do you blend together different cultural and creative influences in your work with learners?

  9. Do you regularly undertake stretching personal development each year?

  10. Do you have an extensive network of colleagues and business acquaintances?

  11. Looking back over your career, do you have examples of work that you have undertaken that could be described as leading-edge?

  12. Do you regularly research new areas of development?

As well as helping you to become a more effective business partner, addressing the learning opportunities on this list can help with your own continuing professional development.


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