This was originally published on the Aileron blog; since it has been deleted from the blog I have reposted it here.
In looking to create great results, we have to balance getting results in the near-term with building our organization’s capability to maximize results in the long-term.
But what are the methods and ways in which we can help encourage this kind of continual improvement within our organization? And how can anyone, no matter their role or authority level, create value and shape their influence so that the company can amplify positive results?
To answer these questions, we asked John Hunter, a Senior Facilitator for the W. Edwards Deming Institute. John has also written a book called Management Matters: Building Enterprise Capability, a book that provides an overview for using a systems view of management.
The Art of Influence in an Organization
John says that in Steven Covey’s book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, there are three concepts brought up: the circle of control, the circle of influence, and the circle of concern. When it comes to leading and influencing other people in an organization, these concepts provide an effective framework to look at how you can influence decisions over time.
The circle of concern is what we are concerned with at work. “Our circle of concern covers those things we worry about. Often, we believe because we worry, that we should find solutions,” explains John. For example, an employee who regularly has face-to-face interaction with customers might have a sphere of concern that is centered on pleasing customers.
In your circle of control, you have much more autonomy—and much more perceived control. “The idea is that this domain is totally within your control, you don’t have to worry about convincing other people,” he says.
“This is a useful construct, but it is often much more complex than it sounds. What it really comes down to is almost everything is in your sphere of influence. When you’re talking about organizations—which are made up of people—nearly everything is about sphere of influence. Even the stuff that’s called circle of control is largely influence,” says John.
Recognize that you can change (and grow) your sphere of influence over time