How to influence decisions

Anchor the debate on your terms

Strike early and set the terms of the debate around your agenda.

Build your coalition

Manage disagreements in private, let people change their view without loss of face and publicise any agreements widely to build a bandwagon of support. Find powerful sponsors to endorse your position.

Build incremental agreement

Do not scare people by asking for everything at one. Ask individuals to back the one part of your idea where they have relevant expertise (finance, health and safety etc)

Size the prize

Build a clear, logical case that shows the benefits of your proposed course of action, and then quantify the benefits and have them endorsed appropriately.

Frame the decision favourably

Align your agenda with the corporate agenda, frame your idea in the right language and style for each person, and be relentlessly positive.

Restrict choice

Do not give too many options as it will tend to confuse. Offer two or three choices at most.

Work risk and loss aversion to your favour

Show that alternatives to your idea are even riskier.

Put idleness to work

Make it easy for people to agree by removing any logistical or administrative hurdles for them.

Be persistent

Repetition works. The harder you practice, the luckier you get. Never give up.

Adjust to each individual

See the world through their eyes, respect their needs in terms of substance, style and format, build common cause, align your agendas.

Owen, J., 2006. How to manage. Pearson Education.

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