Use Influence Strategically

In order to make an impact, you need influence. Influence is what gets things done. It's the ability to ethically influence people to do what you want them to do. But influence isn't magic – it needs to be used strategically in order to be effective.

If you don't know who you need to influence and what they need to say yes to, your efforts will fall flat. 

In this blog post, we will discuss how you can use influence strategically for maximum impact!

The Strategy Pyramid

The 'Strategic Pyramid' is a simple framework to use to align your influence efforts. It help you answer 4 key questions

What do I want to achieve?
What needs to be in place to achieve this?
What actions do I need to take?
What help from others do I need?

Once you have clarity on these questions, you can then work to influence the people you need, to take the action you need them to take. Having this understanding is the basis for you to work with others to make it an easy decision for them to take to help you.

So lets dive into the 'Strategy Pyramid' to see how it can help you
'Start with the end in mind'
Stephen Covey

Setting Your Goal

The first step is to set your goal. What is it in the future that you want to achieve, this can be a promotion, increase in sales, extend into a new market or a career change.
It is important at this stage that you take time to gain clarity on what you want to achieve. What is the impact you want to make, and then ensuring that you can describe it in a way that is measurable.
This gives you an idea of the desired outcomes and timescales they need to be achieved in. It is worth while, checking the achievability of the goal. Ensure that what you set yourself is achievable, even if it is stretching and daunting.

Clarify Priorities

The second step is to understand what needs to be in place for you to achieve your goal. This requires you to be clear about where you are, and clear about where you want to be. This will help you understand and prioritise the tasks that need to be completed. Consider the three key priorities that need to be in place to achieve your goals.

Once you have identified the three key priorities, consider the balance. Are they holistic enough to achieve it, or do they concentrate on one specific area.

As an example - if your goal is to increase profit by 20%, you may have selected the key priorities as

Increase sales by 10%
Reduce costs by 10%
Increase prices by 10%

These priorities are mainly financial, and could create too much focus on the financials. It may be better to take a more holistic approach, with perhaps broader priorities. Such as

Increase productivity by 20%
provide 5% of sales from new products
Increase sales by 20%

These are more holistic in approach. They provide for a more balanced approach to achieving the goal, incorporating a broader focus than just financial.

Another example, could be that you want to be promoted to the HR VP role within 12 months. Your priorities may include

Achieve required qualifications within 6 months
Gain VP experience within 6 months
Develop business planning skills

These examples provide a holistic approach, and provide clear direction for you to start thinking about things that need to be done. And ultimately who may need to help you achieve this.


Now it is time to think about actions, what specific actions need to be taken to get your from where you are to achieve your priorities.
A great question to help in this process is
'What needs to be true for .... to be achieved?'
This creates space for you to identify any key deliverables or actions that need to be in place to achieve your priorities.
Following this process enables you to now drill down into specific micro action that is aligned to your goals. Your efforts are therefore clearly linked to what you want to achieve.
For the sales goal and the identified priorities the actions could be
Create an innovation process
Implement quality management processes
Implement customer relationship management
Increase marketing in new market
Review processes
Review and introduce new reward and recognition
Create employee council
All of these are clear actions that are aligned to the identified priorities and linked to the overall goal.
As you can see, taking the time to think through these steps provides you with a clear focus and actions that are necessary to achieve your goal. Now is the time to start thinking about who can help you achieve these things. This takes us onto the next stage of the process...


In order for you to achieve your goals, it is likely that you will need help from others. This could be in the form of direct assistance, or indirect assistance. Direct assistance would be someone doing something for you, such as providing funding or resources. Indirect assistance would be someone removing a barrier or impediment to allow you to progress. It is important to consider both when thinking about who can help you.
A great question to ask here is
'Who needs to do what, for me to achieve my goal?'
This provides a framework for you to start thinking about the people who need to be involved in order for you to achieve your goals.
From the sales example, some people who could help achieve the goal could be
The HR Director - Helping to review the reward and recognition policy
the CFO - Releasing funds for the innovation initiatives
L&D Manager - Providing development in creative and innovation
Line Managers - Working on new ways of working
Union Representative - Supporting the creation of employee council
Employees - Providing feedback
These are just a few examples, but you can see how thinking about who can help you achieve your goals provides a clear list of people to approach. And by thinking about what they need to do, you have a much better chance of them actually doing it!
Once you have this clarity, the next step to move into is the influence itself. Now you know what you need stakeholders to do, you can now prioritise which stakeholders you need to work closely with.
Then use your influence skills to make the decision to take the actions you need as easy as possible for them.


sing influence strategically is a key skill for anyone wanting to make an impact. By taking the time to think through your goals, priorities and actions you can ensure that your efforts are focused in the right areas. And by thinking about who can help you, and what they need to do, you have a much better chance of achieving your goals.
This provides a clear pathway of actions, stakeholders and activities that need to be completed to achieve your goal.

This framework can be adapted to be used on organisational wide change, personal career planning, and small business planning.