Gaining organizational influence is one of the most challenging things for employees and contractors today. People generally like to take pride in their work and their opinions but often times feel this is discounted in today’s companies. This challenge for gaining influence is not only in the realms of big companies either — many people face the same challenge in small companies.

Organizational influence challenges are influenced by organizational hierarchy, players and incentives. Where you play in things and how you interact and develop relationships will mean the difference from being a highly successful person to a mediocre performer. Before getting into this discussion it is important to note that whatever you do you need to do it with relationship building, empathy, and genuineness. If you do so, then you will be significantly more effective than just acting.

Organizational hierarchy: There is simply too much hierarchy in today’s companies but saying this is not going to change it. In reality to gain influence you need to understand the hierarchy and how it works together. Which departments influence what? Which departments are final deciders on what? The organizational hierarchy map is a place to start but that rarely gives the whole picture.

Your role in the hierarchy: Once you understand the hierarchy you need to analyze and map out how your current and future goals align in this hierarchy. For example, if you are a product manager your role will touch most if not every area of the organization including sales, marketing, operations, and R&D.

Organizational players: Understand key organizational players in each of the areas you interact now with or will in the future. Further, make good contacts in these organizations and grab coffees and lunches with people. You will not have time to know everyone but take the time to learn and develop relationships with at least one and better yet two people in each of these aligned organizational areas.

Organizational incentives: In the words of any good economist, it is all about the incentives. What are people incentivized to do? Are they incentivized to work well together? Are they incentivized to make their team members stand out or to have themselves standout? While you may not be in a position to establish broader company incentives, you can incentivize others in getting items you needed completed to reach your goals. Sometimes this incentive may intrinsic and sometimes extrinsic. However, understanding people and their motivations will assist you in efficiently incentivizing others to help you.

Over the next week take an effort to better understand your organizational hierarchy, your role in that hierarchy, the key organizational players and the organizational incentives. Once you start honing resources related on work that focuses on driving increased organizational influence you will be more successful.

Have an awesome week and remember to do something today to supercharge your success.

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