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Influence Challenge 1: Influencing Beyond the Task

 In your next meeting look beyond the task. Have you agreed on group procedures and are they working well? Is the climate positive and is everyone contributing? Notice opportunities to influence these elements, be intentional about which Style you will use, and shape the environment.

In any interaction, whether with one other person, or a whole group, we can categorise activities into:

  • Task – meeting objectives, doing the job
  • Procedures – how we complete the task
  • Climate – how we work together

We often fall into the trap of focussing exclusively on the task, but in high performing groups more attention is paid to procedure and climate.

Each activity is potentially open to influence.

It’s not unusual for people to start one of our programmes feeling that they have a limited sphere of influence. They don’t recognise the opportunities or the power that they can apply to effect change.

As well as leaving with a toolkit of behaviours, confidence, and a desire to be more intentional about influence, our alumni also tell us that they have a heightened awareness of all the situations that are open to influence.

In any interaction, whether with one other person, or a whole group, we can categorise activities into Task, Procedures, and Climate. Each activity is potentially open to influence.

  • Task – the content of the session

Often described as ‘doing the job’ or meeting objectives

  •  Procedures – how we complete the task

Roles, responsibilities, timings, methodology, measuring progress, adjusting the plan

  •  Climate – how we work together

The relationships, atmosphere, and dynamics in the room – agreeing ground rules, managing feedback, building engagement, managing feelings and emotions

Thinking about these levels is helpful because it raises awareness of where our attention and influence is being applied when we are working as a group.

In an average group most of the attention and effort (60-80%) is focussed on achieving the Task. About 20-30% is given to managing the Procedures. Building and maintaining a healthy Climate is often ascribed very little attention.

In high performing groups more attention is focussed on Procedures and Climate. By paying more attention to these activities the quality of the result is improved and outcomes are more meaningful to group members.

So, you might choose to influence the climate by using Bridging behaviours to agree how you are going to work together. How long do people have today? What are they hoping to get from the meeting? Are there other things that they are dealing with that might impact their ability to fully engage in the conversation? How can the rest of the group help them manage those pressures?

You could also do that in Asserting: I love it when you contribute to the discussion and want you to do that today. I want us to agree how long we have before we make a start. I don’t like it when people are distracted in the meeting, and I’d like everyone to turn off their phones. I’d value your feedback.

Any of the influence Styles can be used to influence the procedures and the climate as well as the task. You might want to check in with the Pocket Partner app to help you determine the best Style to use.