Breakout 5B: Influence, politics and power: how to understand your internal landscape to best get things done

“Influence is the key to successful leadership, not authority” – Ken Blanchard.

Working in complex organisations with a variety of stakeholders brings its own set of unique challenges. Our working environments are often quite political and working a creative or innovative idea through the system is not something that is easily done – made more difficult if additional financial resources are required. Where do you start? What key messages do you need to focus on? How do you best influence an SLT or Exec team? How do you build an understanding of the target audience for your stakeholders? What happens if your idea is rejected?

In this session, Jo will test these questions, examining the often intimidating routes through university approval cycles through to implementation. Jo will focus on understanding the system, the identification of potential internal barriers and champions and how best to build your own personal brand in order to maximise your influence.

By way of a sector example, Danielle Fitzgerald from The University of Gloucestershire will then talk through the process that she undertook to convince University Leaders and Academics of the need for investment in technological platforms. This was completed against the backdrop of an increasingly competitive market and tight finances. Her case study focuses on the business case put to the University Executive and how it was successfully taken through the approval cycle.

Key takeaways:

1. Personal awareness of your own ability to influence

2. Confidence in selling a concept to an unreceptive audience

3. The importance of considering the whole picture beyond just the ‘good idea’.

Track B: Managing People & Processes