Enhance your influence and impact by focusing on the mission-critical parts of your role and adapting to the culture of the organization to do “Their job, their way.”
In most jobs, people find meaning and value by being able to influence others and have a direct and observable impact on their organization and its mission. When this is diminished, people feel overwhelmed, overburdened, under-resourced, time-pressured, stressed, lonely, exhausted or a general sense of malaise – as though they are stuck in place – and do not look forward to going to work every day.
Often, the root cause of this is misunderstanding critical aspects of their job and/or not focusing on its essential elements, doing someone else’s job, or only the parts of the job they like; or, doing the right things, but in a way that is inconsistent with the culture of their organization.
But that’s not going to happen to you. You’re going to think “Their job, their way,” and follow these steps to focus on the mission-critical parts of your role (the what) and adapt to the culture of the organization (the how):
1. Get what you want by doing what your organization needs. Switch your attention from the distractions of doing what is comfortable or familiar or what you desire to what is most important to them.
2. Change your mindset: Accept your situation as it is currently along with all the emotions that come with not being in control of your job. Assess your strengths, opportunities, values, preferences, and mental models. Apply yourself to the job needed the most by them.
3. Discover the essentials of your job. Collect the data on your business, the organizational culture, your managers, and other stakeholders including trusted colleagues.
4. Document your Working Job Description – what, why, and how: working title, deliverables, future vision, cultural norms, how to work with stakeholders up, across, down.
5. If bias keeps you from being effective: Calibrate/validate. Gather information. Demonstrate performance. Negotiate to align. Transform others as necessary, possible, and appropriate.
6. Commit or quit. Now that you know the truth about what your organization “actually” needs from you, do you still want this job? (If so, continue. If not, jump to step 10.)
7. Document your Personal Strategic Plan – likely including a mission/working mission, values/guidelines/ways of working, priorities/change objectives, and tactics and actions.
8. Work your plan, build your influence. Implement in steps. Evaluate with your manager’s involvement. And improve after each iteration.
9. Take on more responsibility, expand your impact. Sell your value without selling yourself by talking about the work, bringing insights instead of information, putting your hand up, or jumping in to fill gaps.
10. Get over the job you thought you had by working through the stages of grief including disbelief/denial, anger/disappointment, bargaining/yearning, sadness/depression, to acceptance, and especially self-acceptance.
11. Negotiate for a better role inside your organization, with better alignment of mission and fit for your strengths and influence.
12. … or, make a plan to move on. Leave strong. Minimize the damage. Know yourself. Then position yourself to create value for others.
13. A primer for managers: Coach your employees to enhance their influence and impact – essentially by helping them work through the first nine steps above.
You generally cannot control your situation. But you can take charge of your own reactions, focus on the mission-critical parts of your role, and adapt to the culture. Then, you will enhance your influence and impact. Your part of the world will be better.
Click here for a free executive summary of Bill Berman’s and my upcoming book, Influence and Impact.
Click here for a list of my Forbes articles (of which this is #711) and a summary of my book on executive onboarding: The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan.