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Exercising Influence: A Guide for Making Things Happen at Work, at Home, and in Your Community, 3rd Edition by B. Kim Barnes

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Chapter 8Establishing Influence ObjectivesWhat Will Success Look Like?

A good intention clothes itself with sudden power. When a god wishes to ride, any chip or pebble will bud and shoot out winged feet, and serve him for a horse.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

If You Don't Know Where You're Going

To paraphrase the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland, if you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there. Often, the greatest distinction between the person who comes away from a meeting with a good result and the one who is disappointed is that the first person was clear about what he or she wanted before the meeting began. Being aware of your objective and consciously working toward achieving it takes time and energy but is usually considerably more effective than improvisational advocacy. So…the first step in planning how you're going to influence another person or group is to frame an objective.

In this book, we'll generally use the word, “goal” to refer to the longer-term results you hope to achieve and “objective” to mean the result you intend to accomplish during a specific influence opportunity. Most of the time, achieving a larger goal will require that you achieve a number of influence objectives.

I've spent many difficult hours, both as a consultant and as a member of an organization, sitting in meetings and imagining what someone from another, more logical planet, might assume were the influence objectives of the participants.

Judging from the behavior used (such ...

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