The REAP Principles of Influence: 4 Ways to Increase Your Influence

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Rodney Jackson is the founder of Caleb Consulting Group, with a mission is to help individuals become more influential, teams become more aligned, and organizations get better results. Rodney is certified through the International Coach Federation, and teaches influence skills at the Cornell University Dairy Executive Leadership Program and The University of California, San Diego Extension.  He designed The Influential Executive-360 and The Influential Leadership Series for Managers.  

Want to be more influential with others?  We’ve come up with a formula to point you in that direction.  Consider the proverb, “You reap what you sow.”  This old agriculture adage still applies in today’s networked world.  Sow the seeds of the following “REAP” principles, and you will be surprised by the actual results you will reap!

R – Reciprocity

The principle of reciprocity sounds obvious, but often not practiced. It works like this: When you extend a favor or anything of value to someone else at work, you reasonably expect something in return.  This is why influential people are so effective, but it is not because they only provide favors. Rather, they also know when to ask for a favor in return!  It is fine to be of service and do things out of the goodness of your heart, but are any of us truly altruistic?  In the world of work, when people say, Thank you!”, don’t dismiss it!  It is a time when you have considerable influence.  Consider it a deposit into their emotional bank account that you can collect upon at the appropriate time.  

E – Exchange

Not only do influential people reciprocate, but they understand what currency the other party trades in.  This is very important, requiring us to understand the world of those we seek to influence.  For example, Melissa is seeking a role of greater responsibility as a people manager, but has never managed people before.  Her currency might be to find opportunities where she can lead a project and gain some experience.  You might have a project or role that Melissa could participate in that benefits her and allows you to have another resource to get things done.  Knowing and exchanging the currency that each person trades in increases your influence and builds their influence at the same time.

A – Ability

We work with professional at all levels, and we consistently find that most people underestimate their ability to influence others.  Yet you will find that some of the most influential people are those at the lower levels of the organizational chart!  Yes, power and position gives you an edge, but knowing and promoting your abilities leads to greater fulfillment and influence.  Career coaches teach people to market their talents.  There is a good chance that you have significant abilities, but your mindset focuses more on your liabilities, also known by you as your weaknesses.  Sure, you want to improve weaknesses, but influential people focus on strengths first, and find ways to develop their abilities in what is needed and what gives them the most passion.  If you are unsure about your abilities or potential, we can absolutely help you assess your strengths and passion.

P – Purpose

This might be the most important of the four principles of influence.  That great philosopher Yogi Berra once said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”  For if you don’t know where you are going, any direction will do.  As you begin the year, ask yourself, “What would success look like at the end of this year if I were highly influential?” Really take some time to create this “future-perfect” state.  Research shows that if you envision the future as if it already happened, there is a much greater chance that it will come true.  Ask yourself a few questions: “What is my purpose this year?  What will it look like if I am more influential?  What will it take for me to get there?”  Write it down and talk to someone to hold you accountable.  It may be a friend or colleague, but his is one reason that coaching changes behavior, since a coach helps you honor your commitments! 

Best of success in 2019 as you seek to influence others!

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