TechNExt - Hainton Agile - Influence, Power and Stakeholder Management

TechNExt - Hainton Agile - Influence, Power and Stakeholder Management - Jordan Rochester

Hainton Agile User Group for TechNExt with Influence, Power and Stakeholder Management by Jordan Rochester on 20th June 2023

Leadership, power, stakeholder management - we are all leaders. Only successful leaders have a nose for opportunity and a knack for getting things done. Understand your power and influence over a project. Tend to plot where the stakeholders are and then think about strategies but we tend not to think about how to influence stakeholders.

Organisation can be split conceptually into three layers. S - Strategic which is the top board layer and those to drive strategy. T - Tactical which is middle layer which brings it into action. Operational delivers the actions to fulfil the strategy and information flows up and it also flows down such as feedback.

Change is a movement, when you think about it like “I have a dream” or women's suffrage. But it is where someone has a vision and need to affect change and needed to have a movement that would then affect change. Organisation change is a movement that improves the organisation's ability to deliver against its obligations to its shareholders. Wanting to drive towards a certain objective and influence people.

How to start a movement? By Derek Sivers A leader needs to have guts to stand out and be ridiculed and show everyone else how to follow. First follower is another form of leadership and transforms a lone person into a leader, a movement must be public, must show the leaders not just the followers and people will follow the followers not the leaders, once there are more people more can follow and won't stand out as much and people can stick with the crowd. When standing alone remember to nurture your first few followers. Leadership is over glorified and the first follower was the one that transformed that first person into a leader, have courage to follow and encourage more people to follow, be the first to join in. One of the key things from Derek is you have this individual has a little bit of a vision, the lone person all by themselves to influence people, and can be very difficult, but for anything to occur they needed more people and just needed to influence that first person to come across and have power sources to drive that kind of movement.

Where it all started? They worked for nPower and was in a really good place in what they delivered for the company. Performance of Bulk Upload where 60% of bulk uploads into the system failed that were coming in from price comparison website, they helped reduce account failures to 17% and saving millions. They also worked on performance on registration where 72% of accounts were being switched within 21 days but regulatory target was 89% and helped increase this to meet the target consistently. Knowledge, lack of knowledge of how the systems worked and built up system knowledge and became the go-to guy for switching accounts. Information - lack of access to data and they managed to gain access to multiple systems and get information and be able to pull data and had a great network where others who hit red tape they formed connections to get across boundaries. They did quite well in terms of influence and were reviewing a situation and they will told they maybe need to think about their influencing techniques, this wasn't something they needed help with, there was a project that wasn't working well and was dawn of agile within nPower and they went into a room in front of multiple people in the team and had a member of IT and had differences of opinion where people would agree with IT but didn't really get it.

They got led on a journey on what they could have done differently and started writing books by Terry R. Bacon who wrote The Elements of Influence and The Elements of Power. What they had missed wasn't the influencing techniques but there is a concept about power - power in people is like power in batteries, the higher the voltage the more if can deliver and the more powerful you are the more influence you have and influence is the application of power to accomplish a specific purpose - the person in that room had more power than them.

You have the power to create your own movement, they is always a responsibility on us which is E + R = O which is Event - and event that is outside of your control + Response - which is what can you change and this equals the Outcome. If you keep doing the same thing and you don't change but expect a different outcome that's the definition of insanity. How do you change your response?

Power - five different sources of power. 1. Knowledge is your skills and abilities derived from what you know and what you can do. 2. Expressiveness is how you can communicate with people and if want to influence people is how you communicate in written or oral forms. 3. History if have history with someone, it's not about what you know but who you know, power is derived from familiarity and trust. 4. Attraction is the ability to cause them to like you, personal attractiveness, authenticity, commonality of values and experiences. 5. Character based on people's perceptions, integrity, honesty and fairness.

Organisational power can come from your Role - it is your position whether you have to defer to someone else. Resources - could be ownership of important resources including access to things. Information - is access and control of information - retrieval, access, dissemination, interpretation and organisation. Network - is power from breadth and quality of connections with other people. Reputation - is based on estimation of overall quality of a person by others. You have two currencies in an organisation which are performance and network which is building relationships, and this helps build up your reputation.

Will is the most important power source which magnifies every other source and based on desire and courage to act and to believe you can get something done and make it happen - may often have a will rather than a plan to do something. Someone says here are all the initiatives and someone says what we are trying to achieve with those initiatives.

Influence is the application of power to accomplish a specific purpose. 1. Logical persuading - when you use logic to explain what you believe or what you want and is the number one technique where vision relates to traceability. One person's logic is not the same as someone else's. Derek Sivers explains logic that someone asks a question may ask what is name of block and it may not have one but the street does but in Japan the streets have no names but the blocks do and the house numbers go in the order they were built, realise you may have assumptions you never knew you had or pay doctors when healthy and not when you are sick. If trying to explain something to someone but if someone has a completely different thought it doesn't necessarily mean it is wrong, approach something in a different way vs this is the way we have always done it. If we explain something if they don't quite get it and often just describe it in a different way but it may still not work, think about another way that may work. 2. Legitimising - which is appealing to authority but is the least effective influence technique, don't quite say you are the one but say someone else and when done correctly can result in quick compliance, it is not me it is the CEO who has said it for example but if overused it can look like it is you who want it and just using them as an excuse. 3. Exchanging is negotiating or trading for cooperation, if you do something for me, I'll do something for you and often only way to gain cooperation or agreement. 4. Stating is asserting whether you believe it or not with compelling tone of voice but if overused they can cause resistance, like at the end of a sales pitch and then state something and asserting what you want.

There are also four social techniques. Socialising - getting to know the other person, being open and friendly, people are always trying to influence other people, if say “hello” to someone you will be pleasant you want people to like you and is a good way to get over silos and rifts, only takes one night out for people to be yeah, it's all good. Appealing to relationships- gaining agreement and cooperation with people you know well. Consulting - engaging and stimulating people by involving them in the problem or solutions. Alliance building - building alliances to influence people by using peer and group pressure to gain cooperation or agreement but sounds negative but can go around people and get their ideas and be prepared and make sure others are on the same page as you.

There are two emotional techniques which is appealing to values - making an appeal to someone's values or an appeal to the heart, this is one of the principal ways to influence many people at once. Politicians will say we know what you need and appeal to your values but whether they do it or not is another thing. Modelling - may not be intentionally influence people by being a role model, teaching, coaching, counselling, and mentoring and can influence people without people being aware that you are influencing.

The Dark Side. Avoiding - forcing others to act, often against best interests, by avoiding responsibility or conflict or behaving passive-aggressively, know that you are upset about something or give someone the cold shoulder. Manipulating - intentionally withholding information others need to make the right decision or influencing through lies, deceit and hoaxes. Intimidating - imposing yourself on others, forcing people to comply, being loud or overbearing. Threatening - harming others or threatening others if they don't comply and making examples so know threats are real.

Case Studies

Case Management Product - deliver in-house solution to allow business to track incidents and manage risk within a one-year timescale. Background information is project sponsor had lost confidence, senior stakeholders had disengaged with the project, and each had own agendas, had silos and in-team conflict. Deliverables - things were too wide and too broad and requirements were not fully understood, and the team were greenfield agile team with little experience. Were talking about structuring tickets correctly for devs but the devs were saying to structure them as they actually needed. Timescale - six months had passed, and six months left to deliver. Navigating senior stakeholders with differing agendas, bringing them back into the fold and getting them to see what was going on and had some meetings, built some reputational power, they disagreed with vision were trying to build. TOPS which is a formula to look at how powerful are so for techniques used consulting, alliance building, logical persuading and exchanging. Power sources were reputation + knowledge of how to interact with departments, character to know people would have conflicts but would be neutral, expressiveness to take complex information and simplify and will as may not be sure how to get there but want to get it done. Skill for strongest and most used technique and approach was consulting and alliance building - met with each stakeholder and understand their needs and vision, it became apparent it was mostly political and a want to be consulted, just needed to get their needs out and often wanted same thing as sponsor. Logical persuading - present a summary and at next steering based on stakeholder needs and wants, present their needs, and wants back based on their words. Exchanging - make recommendations based on finding how to proceed by agreeing vision and roadmap and where each stakeholder would get what they want, when can logically see where you get were you want and where there is a difference need to re-agree it and see that if it is what they want and show where wants and needs would be fulfilled. Result was agreed a vision and roadmap and expectations where clear, and stakeholders felt consulted and when had everyone's agreement and there was no conflict. It was more of a natural thing at the time, had built up a good reputation with stakeholders and realised they had more of those power sources.

Committing the Project Team to deliver to a tight timescale, delivery manager had agreed a three-month extension which came from a meeting and was believed a year project could be done in eight months and project didn't have time to waste. Techniques were stating, legitimising and exchanging. Power sources were role + knowledge in terms of delivery and business and was a very good communicator and had will and drive to make it happen. Skill with influence was advanced and approach was stating & legitimising - meet with the entire team and make them aware what was required including the deadline and let everyone know that's when had to do it for and was a time for compliance rather than consultation and negotiation. Exchanging - gave options on how to support the team to achieve the profile, couldn't move the time but could move the scope and increase the resources in exchange for commitment. Results were project was delivered at the agreed extension date, they stripped out lots of features and had a lot of people on it and team were pleased with success and highly motivated for next phase of delivery and people had forgotten how anti-doing it they were at the time, and wanted to go forward and deliver that as quickly as possible, this did work from the delivery manager but may not have been their technique. If give people as much space as they want but people will fill it.