Thursday, February 15, 2007

"Initiative" Maybe Equals "Influence Without Authority"

I was on my way in to work this morning and thinking about what I'd posted yesterday about initiative when, all of a sudden, and interesting connection came to me.

In his book titled Social Intelligence, Karl Albrecht talks about power, influence, and leading when you're not in charge in Chapter 9.

Specifically, he presents a simple general formula for earning influence in unstructured situations:

  1. contributing special / unique skills linked to the group outcomes
  2. help the group improve process and procedures (facilitate.. "take the pen and the flip chart")
  3. having the right information and / or help the group use it effectively
  4. build consensus through summarizing group discussions, propose or confirm next steps, and help the group navigate to a conclusion or decision
  5. helping a group maintain a positive and constructive climate and maintain it's empathy, so healthy debate does not descend into personal rancour

It strikes me that leading with these behaviours that Karl has outlined would serve everyone well in a social / networked workplace.

It also strikes me that these behaviours, in different contexts, would be called facilitation skills. And I've always been a big proponent of these skills being a core competency in knowledge organizations.

And, as a facilitator, and facilitation instructor, I know from experience that these skills can be developed to some degree in everyone.

Perhaps facilitation is the key for helping all generations adapt and be effective in the future.

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