Time to continue our series on the 5 consultative skills that researchers should build to improve business impact:
It’s time to talk Influence, a skill that can sometimes be overlooked in its importance. But think about it: business partners weigh both rational and emotion criteria when making decisions– things like trust, stress, and relationships can be quite influential in business decisions.
The problem is, we’re researchers. And that means that, by definition, most of us naturally gravitate to rational analysis, so if given the choice we’d take training on insight generation or consultative business skills over emotional influencing skills any day. We might assume that things like active listening and conflict resolution are internal traits that cannot be improved, but our research shows this isn’t true: you CAN become more emotional influential with the right focus.
We have seen a number of companies institute training and frameworks to improve researcher influence:
- ConAgra utilizes a two-day training session to make researchers more aware of the importance of influencing skills and the gaps in their own arsenal, and then provide frameworks, tools, and templates to apply influencing skills in their interactions.
- EMC2 conducts peer review sessions (with clear expectations for the audience to learn and actively engage) to provide constructive criticism for upcoming research presentations and discussions.
- Nokia utilizes an engagement strategy that maps business partner relationships and power levels to improve recommendation adoption.
MREB members, read more about these influence-building initiatives here. And you can also access interactive versions of Nokia’s engagement tools.