The Principles of Influence

Business Relationship Management

Baxter Thompson Ltd, Jon Baxter

Achieving your goals as a Business Relationship manager begins with clarifying some core principles of what you do and why mastering influence impacts your effectiveness. 

  1. The goal of the Business Relationship manager is to become a Strategic Partner. In order to do that, you will need to master influencing people.
  2. Self-assessment is important. To measure your effectiveness in influencing people you will need to have an appreciation of your own Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and Political Intelligence (PQ).  This provides a baseline on which competencies are your opportunities for improvement.

  3. Personal power, credibility, and impact are outcomes and symptomatic of the level of the EQ and PQ you have.

  4. A BRM needs to master those competencies at a lower level in for those existing skills at a higher level to be truly effective.

  5. The ability of the Business Partner to reflect and to react to influence is also determining factor on convergence to strategic goals. Despite best efforts and the most mature influencing competencies brought to bear, it may not be possible to achieve a strategic outcome.

Further reference material and measurements on (EQ) and (PQ) are found here:

  • EQ: - “Emotional Intelligence 2.0” by Travis Bradberry

  • PQ: - “Workplace Politics Pocketbook” by David Bancroft-Turner.

You can buy the book and take an online test to assess your EQ and PQ. The higher your EQ score, the more likely you as a BRM can contribute to an improved relationship maturity level with business stakeholders.

Influencing Competencies

A collection of competencies is presented below on a scale aligned to a Maturity Model below. In practice, you will already have skills in many different areas across the levels. Based on the past experience, these groupings are consistent with the idea of getting the basics right first, focusing on the inner-self, then focusing outwards (engagement with other people) and building on the foundational competencies. The purpose here is to provide a roadmap and help you identify areas that need improving.

Based on your assessment of your Emotional Intelligence and Political Intelligence you may want to consider whether you have reached sufficient proficiency in competencies at a lower level before considering those higher. Tip: It takes years of practice to master these competencies, as they require changes to behaviour and attitude. Having a personal development plan, reviewing it regularly and having a trusted ally who can provide feedback are key.

Getting to Level 2

Competencies that BRMs need to have mastered:

  • Creating and reviewing a personal mission statement.
  • Self awareness
  • Applying feedback
  • Managing your personal development
  • Etiquette and manners (including cultural awareness).

Getting to Level 3

Competencies that BRMs need to have mastered:

  • Self control
  • Mindfulness
  • Being authentic
  • Managing personal presence
  • Management of self esteem and confidence.

Getting to Level 4

Competencies that BRMs need to have mastered:

  • Social Awareness and Relationship Management
  • Political awareness
  • Team working and collaboration (use of MBTI and “Belbin” tools)
  • Effective listening and questioning
  • Networking
  • Presentation and communication skills
  • Stakeholder management.

Getting to Level 5

The more advanced influence competencies that are required for Strategic Partnership are:

  • Managing your personal brand and value proposition
  • Conflict management skills
  • Negotiation skills
  • Selling skills
  • Dealing with challenging people
  • Adopting different styles of engagement.

Author J Baxter. IP given to BRMI. (C) BRMI. Reprinted and edited under licence.
If you're interested in honing your influencing skills, then have a look at our brand new workshop Influencing Skills.

How Baxter Thompson Associates can help

We help IT understand the opportunity with business partners through our Reconnaissance for IT framework and can help implement a business relationship management capability to ensure that the Value in IT is delivered. We also provide training - the BRMP(R) and soon the CBRM(R) courses in addition to coaching and Interim Management.

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