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Appendix E

Influence Scenarios

LET'S REVISIT THE SCENARIOS from the beginning of the book. In the following few pages, we'll imagine a better (though not necessarily ideal - that's life!) outcome for each scenario through the conscious use of influence. As you read the scenarios, notice which behavioral skills are being used and how some of the principles discussed in the book are being implemented. These are not intended as "school solutions" to these problems. Rather, they represent one productive way to approach the situation. How might you handle the situations now that you have had a chance to think about the process of influence?

  1. It's five o'clock. You have been at your desk since six this morning, and you're nowhere near ready to go home. You have a meeting with your manager tomorrow morning, and you're supposed to have a report finished. You would have, too, if the other people involved had done their parts. First, the data was late from your counterpart in the other group. The people on your team had other priorities and couldn't help you with the analysis. Then the "admin" was too busy to help you print and collate the report. You might have asked your manager for an extension, but you didn't want to look unprepared, so you decided to do it all yourself. It looks like an all-nighter.
  2. It's two weeks before your report is due. You notice that some of the data you are waiting for is overdue from your counterpart in the other group. You call and arrange to meet him briefly in the cafeteria. Your goal is to obtain a commitment from him to give you the information that you need. Over coffee, you have the following conversation:

  3. Your teenage daughter, a bright and successful student, has announced that she will be turning down a scholarship to a prestigious university in favor of taking a year off to travel and "find herself." You have had several heated arguments about this. Recently, you told her that you could not guarantee that you would pay her college tuition when she returned. Her response was that she was perfectly capable of earning her own money and attending a less expensive school. You feel that you have painted yourself into a corner and have not made any progress in convincing her of the importance to her future of making the right college choice. You are also concerned about her safety as a solo traveler in certain parts of the world.
  4. You suspect that the approach you have been taking with your daughter has polarized both of you on the issue. You decide to take a fresh approach. You invite her out to lunch and begin a conversation with her. Your goal is to get her to agree to reconsider her plans.

  5. You are a senior executive who is charged with the responsibility for implementing the final steps in merging two companies. Executives of the other firm, who see this as an acquisition by your company, rather than a merger, are dragging their feet in regard to aligning their systems with yours. They give you excuses that sound rational, but the net effect is to delay the implementation. You are under a lot of pressure to complete this. The new, merged systems should have been up and running by now, and you are feeling very frustrated and angry.
  6. You have decided to meet with your counterpart from the other company to see whether you can enlist her help in merging the systems. You set a time and meet her at her office.

  7. You have volunteered to help plan and host the yearly fundraiser for your child's preschool. You were reluctant to take this on for fear that you might end up, as has happened before, doing it all yourself. The first few meetings of your committee were very positive; several people volunteered to take responsibility for specific tasks. Now it is two weeks before the event, and several important things have not happened. Everyone has an excuse for not delivering on his or her commitments. You feel that the staff and board are depending on you, and you don't want to let them down. This experience has convinced you, however, that you are not cut out for community leadership. You feel burned out and disappointed.
  8. You are determined to get some help to bring this event off. You decide to call one of the committee members and see what you can do to get him or her to recommit.

  9. You have been nurturing an idea for a couple of years now. It would be an application of your current technology that you believe would have a tremendous impact on the market. It would require a moderate commitment of resources, but the payoff could be spectacular. The problem is that such a project is outside of your current area of responsibility and, in fact, might be seen as competitive with another group's current project. Your manager has already told you that you would have to have it approved and funded elsewhere; you suspect it is a political "hot potato." You are still hoping that someone will recognize the potential and support it, but you are discouraged.
  10. You decide to go, with your manager's approval, to the senior manager who is accountable for both groups. Your goal is to influence her to agree to sponsor the idea and provide funding. You have asked your manager to set up the meeting and you are well prepared. You have just finished explaining the proposal to her.

  11. You were recently offered an exciting new position with your company. It would involve spending three years abroad and would probably lead to a significant role for you in the company's future. When you told your spouse about it, you expected enthusiastic support. Instead, you received a flat and resistant response. This surprised you, as you have always agreed that whichever one of you was offered the best opportunity would have the other's support, regardless of any inconvenience and disruption that might occur.
  12. You have just learned that your spouse is highly resistant to moving abroad, which will be required if you are to accept the new position. You expressed a lot of surprise and anger. Now you think that you had better pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and begin to explore the issues. Your goal is to influence your spouse to agree to consider the matter and give it a fair hearing, rather than refuse right away.

  13. You are the leader for an important project for your company. The project is not going as well as you had hoped. There is a lot of conflict, and milestones are not being achieved. You were selected for this role because of your technical skills, but what is dragging you down is just the day-to-day hassle of dealing with people's egos and working out the turf issues that seem to get in the way of every cross-functional team you have worked with.
  14. You decide to meet with a key member of your team. Your goal is to influence him to agree to help you with the "people issues" on the team.

  15. You are chairing a standards task force for your association that could make a major impact on the conduct of your profession. Some members of the group are very resistant to the idea of mandatory compliance with the standards. You and several others believe that it is an exercise in futility to develop and present standards and then let people choose whether to adopt them or not. The differences have divided the group, which has now reached an impasse. If you do not come to an agreement, the entire exercise will be seen as a waste of time, and you feel that you will lose the respect of your colleagues, both within the task force and outside of it; they have been counting on you to resolve this issue.
  16. You decide to begin the next meeting by confronting the issue in a way that you hope will be productive. Your goal is to influence a key colleague to reconsider his or her opposition.

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