Your sphere of influence should be more pear-shaped

I have been working with an organisation recently helping them to build a tribe amongst a tribe. It has been a joy watching staff self-organise to fulfil a common goal whilst having some fun along the way.

What they are doing, however, isn’t easy. They are trying to influence a much larger tribe as a very small tribe of supporters for the risk function. Despite their relative seniority, their sphere of influence is significantly limited.

One part of the answer is for the team to shape their sphere of influence. Make it look more like a pear. Build a narrow but strong focus at the top while making it broad and juicy at the bottom. If the top support it, the bottom will follow, particularly if it is enjoyable.

At the top, the narrow focus for this group is reporting. Ensuring their reports are valuable to the C-Suite. Always asking, “How is what is important to us, important to them?”. If it is not important to them, leave it out. If it is important to some and not others, put it in an attachment. If it is important to them, make sure it is in their language, convert Risk Speak to C-Suite Speak.

At the broad and juicy bottom the strategy is to attach the team to something that is top of mind in the organisation. In this case, it is an innovation drive, organisation-wide. The team has latched onto some key comments from the executive about innovation and risk taking and are working this theme into their own program. Smart, don’t you think?

Can you make your sphere of influence a whole lot more pear-shaped?

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