Leadership extends beyond taking care of the people in your own department. As part of
the senior management team, you need to work well with your peers in other departments. To do this effectively, you must master the art of influencing these folks when it comes to making key business decisions. John Baldoni, chair of leadership development at N2Growth, has a few suggestions to help you succeed.
Maybe you’ve finally figured out how to negotiate a deal with a key business partner. The only problem is the partner wants too much money for his participation in this deal. To make this work, you’ll have convince the CFO to make a concession.
It would be easier if the CFO reported to you, of course. You could just tell her what you want and be done with it. But, in this case, you’ll need to methodically build your case and work hard to influence the CFO and other members of the management team.
Baldoni encourages you to do your homework in these situations. If a big initiative you’re trying to push through must be approved by several peers, don’t assume you know what they think. Talk to them directly and ask about their concerns. This approach may be enough to influence one or two peers. Once a few people are on board with what you want to do, make sure the other folks on the leadership team know. Even a single person’s support can help your case.
To sway the peers who don’t like the deal you’re proposing, dive deeper. Be prepared to negotiate on some details. Your willingness to give a little will encourage others to be flexible.
Above all, Baldoni encourages you to follow up. You’ll need to be the primary driver in order to get the deal done. Assure your peers that you’ll take responsibility for the outcome of the deal they agree to. Make sure you keep your word, and the next time you’ve got a deal that requires the approval of others in your company, you may find it’s easier to get what you want.