Saturday, July 27, 2013

The basics of influencing others

A recommended article to explain the different between "to influence" and "to command/control". The ability to influence others is a basic competency of leaders. However, what they thought "to influence" sometime it meant "to command/control". Of course, one of the failures in leading the people is when leaders give too much attention in command and control. They should change the way how they lead.


The ability to influence others may be the most important thing leaders do. An organization I work with lists influence as one of its top leadership proficiencies. Their description, paraphrased:
“The ability to generate support from others to achieve desired business outcomes. Leaders who exhibit this competency apply it in a planned and strategic way, never randomly. They motivate people to want to follow them even when they don’t have to,”
When I ask leaders what influence means to them, they often say they want to win others over to their ideas or that they want employees to do things their way. This isn’t influence. It’s command and control, an outdated way of managing people that rarely moves people or an organization forward in our modern workplace.
Even seasoned executives can awaken to the fact that, to be more effective, they need to learn to influence others better. Whatever methods they were using may no longer be working, so they need examine some ineffective habits they’ve formed or look at the context they’re now in to decide the best way to influence in that particular situation.
Influence is where the leadership rubber meets the road for you. The ability to influence others needs to be a part of your leadership toolkit, because without it, you aren’t leading anyone. With ever-greater demands on you to compete in a global marketplace and manage change, you need to sharpen this skill.
Here are some basics that are foundational to the conversations you need to have to be able to influence:
Relationships: The old saying that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care is appropriate here. Expecting others to be influenced to your way of thinking simply because you’re smart or have credentials isn’t realistic. They need to trust you. They want to know that you have their best interests in mind every bit as much as your own interests and the greater good of the organization. This may not happen overnight, and may require you to moderate your self-interest to get to know what interests them.
Adaptation: Influencing others isn’t one-size-fits-all. It requires that you adapt your conversations and your communication style to the audience, whether one person or thousands. Consider what’s in it for them and how they want to hear what you have to say. We’ve had a few recent presidents who are examples of good influencers (Reagan and Clinton). You, too, can be a master of persuasion when you focus more on others and are flexible in how you present your case.
Inclusion and compromise: Include important stakeholders from the beginning as your thought process unfolds. This will assist with buy-in and avoiding errors down the road. Understand the principles you will stand on and what you might be willing to let go of in order to sway others. This takes reflection and thought. It also requires courage to take risks. If you decide that you only want things your way, you may suffer consequences. If you decide to compromise based on what they want, there may be issues. Consider what you will refuse to compromise on.
Work: It takes intentional and systematic effort to influence others. Make a plan for the work of building relationships, deciding who you need to influence and figuring out what matters to them; this might help with influencing them. Think about where you need to build coalitions and when it makes sense to talk to individuals before and after group meetings. This isn’t “politics” (with the negative connotation that suggests); it’s the real work of leadership. You are responsible for managing change, and this is how you do it.
As a leader, your ability to influence others will make or break you. Start with the foundations of influence, and the rest will follow with more ease.

Honesty in Releasing the Evaluation Results of Public Services Quality

This week, Indonesian  Ombudsman Office released its report related with public services quality. According to its report, some government offices are listed as the worse government offices in serving the public. They are Ministry of Education, Ministry of Public Works, Ministry of Social Services, Ministry of Labour, and Ministry of Agricultural.

This report has been quoted by some media. It has also been published as an headline in some newspapers. The worse government offices are given red flag. Of course, some of the ministers were not happy with the release. However, I think they should not reluctant with report. It could be used as an initial indicator of their public services quality. Government offices that received red flag should give full attention on how to improve their services in the future.

On the other side, we should give appreciation to Ombudsman Office because its courage in releasing the objective and transparent evaluation results. In reality, Ministry of Public Sector Reform has also done something like this. However, it does not have enough courage or hesitates to release the report. In the past, all government offices had been required to do self evaluation about the reform progress in their offices. The self evaluation process was supported with information system. However, until now the Ministry does not have enough brave to release the self evaluation result.

In fact there were many evaluation process had been done in the government offices. Some of the processes were initiated by the responsibility ministry. Some the processes were initiated internally. However, people never know the results.

I think in the future all of the evaluation results should be released transparently. Based on these results, all government offices could learn on how to solve their problems in serving the public.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Leaders, Choose Your Words Wisely

New good article from Harvard Blog Network. Every leader should read this article.

by Douglas R. Conant  |  12:00 PM July 12, 2013

Even a brief interaction can change the way people think about themselves, their leaders, and the future. Each of those many connections you make has the potential to become a high point or a low point in someone's day. Each is a chance to transform an ordinary moment into a touchpoint.
What is a touchpoint? A touchpoint is an interaction with one other person, a couple of people, or a group that can last a couple of minutes, a couple of hours, or a couple of days. Those Touchpoints can be planned or spontaneous, casual or carefully choreographed.
Every touchpoint is spring-loaded with possibilities. Each one can build — or break — a relationship.
For instance, when I was a first year graduate student at the J. L. Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University taking a Management Policy class. My professor, Ram Charan, noticed that my schoolwork was starting to slip. I was not only taking a full load of classes but I was also working two jobs. I was stretched pretty thin. One day, Ram called me aside and said, "You can do better." Those four words inspired me to hold myself to a higher standard. I remember those words as if they were spoken yesterday and that was over 35 years ago.
Shortly after I graduated, I accepted a job with General Mills. Like many people starting a new job in a new place, I was completely lost in the building. This older man saw me stumbling around and said, "Young man... you look lost. How can I help?" I asked him if he could help me find my way back to the marketing department. He pointed the way and said, "So you work in the marketing department. If there is one thing that I want to leave you with is that you've got to give it all you've got." We then went our separate ways. Ultimately, I saw this man's picture a couple of weeks later and discovered that he was Jim McFarland, the CEO and Chairman of General Mills. Those five words inspired me to lean into my work with greater intensity. I carry them with me today.
I had been with General Mills for six months and I was up for my first performance review. I was struggling to hit the ground running. I had never worked in an office environment before in my life. Here I was, unmistakably a rookie. During the performance review, my manager offered this observation, "Doug, you are clearly very determined to contribute here but, quite frankly, your work is very mediocre." That comment, in and of itself, was something I was able work through. Next, I was to receive feedback from my boss's boss. In this case, he had written six words down on a piece of paper to be read to me. Those words were, "You should look for another job." This was the first performance review I had received in my life and my boss's boss, whom I thought was a god, just told me to go look for another job. He wasn't inclined to give me the time of the day or the benefit of the doubt. I was devastated and very anxious but ultimately I played through it. Those six words reminded me that the corporate journey is not for the faint of heart. You must bring great resolve to your work. It's not all a bed of roses.
I persevered through some difficult times as I was starting up my career and I was promoted to Product Manager at General Mills in a very timely way. Within 48 hours of that promotion, I received a call from my wife's grandfather, Mr. R. T. Johnstone. R.T., a man I admired greatly, said, "I'm so proud of you."Those five words of encouragement reminded me that I was not alone on this journey, as difficult as it was. My family was, is and will always be with me. Those words ring in my ears to this day.
After six years of working in the General Mills food group, I transferred over to the General Mills toy group. Three years in, I lost my job. I've shared this experience in great detail here before. After I was let go from General Mills, I went to an outplacement counselor; a man by the name of Neil MacKenna. Every time Neil would answer the phone he would say, "Hello, this is Neil MacKenna, how can I help?" With those four words, "How can I help?" Neil changed my entire work life. He helped me see beyond my own agenda to discover the fulfillment of starting every interaction with a desire to be helpful. This was a very powerful lesson, delivered in four words. It took all of two seconds.
On July 2, 2009, I was involved in a very serious automobile accident. I was traveling to my home in Northern New Jersey for the Fourth of July weekend. I was in the back of a Lincoln Navigator asleep with my seat belt on when, while going at least 70 miles an hour, we ran into the back of a stopped dump truck on the New Jersey Turnpike. It was a very serious accident. I was taken to a nearby trauma center and went through an extensive array of surgical procedures. Understandably, I was pretty much out of it for 24 hours. When I woke up in the intensive care unit my wife, Leigh, who had been helping my daughter move into her apartment in Washington D.C., was right by my side. And all she said were three words. She said, "I'm right here." Those three words, said in one second, connected me in a powerfully indescribable way with my wife and my recovery. I'll never forget the moment.
Over the following 40 days, as I was recovering from the automobile accident, I had been moved from the ICU to the trauma center then to a hospital and finally to a rehabilitation program. I dealt with nurses in all four of these facilities that, time and again, reaffirmed for me the power of touchpoints — that they're not just about the words you say, they're about how you say them.
There was the same protocol over all four facilities. In this case, every nurse would come into my room and ask me the same question: "How is your pain?" When the nurses were fully prepared and exceptionally gifted at managing patients they could come into the room and dial-in in a very thoughtful and genuine way. But with nurses who were new to the profession, new to the facility, or who just felt a little bit uncomfortable getting into a conversation, I would quickly realize that those four words weren't about me; it was about how they were going to handle me. It was about them. Those conversations were always awkward.
So, those four words, "How is your pain?" opened up a world that was magical when it was well managed. But when not well managed, the resulting awkwardness could completely undermine the effectiveness of the nurse. Those four words reaffirmed the power of touchpoints.
There you have it:

  • Seven memorable touchpoints

  • 32 words total

  • Less than five words per Touchpoint

  • Strung together, it's generously 20 seconds of conversation

  • That's approximately four seconds per touchpoint

Despite their brevity, those seven touchpoints have had a profound impact on my life. I encourage each of you to look for opportunities to have a profound impact on the next touchpoint you encounter. You have the opportunity to make a tremendous impact on the lives of the people with whom you work and live. Make the most of it. The next touchpoint is right around the corner — use it wisely.
More blog posts by Douglas R. Conant
Douglas R. Conant


Douglas R. Conant is Non-Executive Chairman of Avon Products; Founder & CEO,ConantLeadership; Founder & Chairman, Kellogg Executive Leadership Institute; Chairman, CECP; Board of Directors, AmerisourceBergen; Former President, CEO & Director, Campbell Soup Company; and NYT Bestselling Author of Touchpoints: Creating Powerful Leadership Connections in the Smallest of Moments. He's on Twitter @DougConant and on Facebook.


Some years ago, I developed my new blog with this old address (, after some years configuring my first website address at One day I felt this old address seemed too egocentric. Then, I started to change this address to the new one, i.e., which is supported by Blogger's technology. Thanks to Blogger's team.

Surprisingly, one day, when I was researching the internet, I found that my old blog address had been referring by some website with the internet link directly to this my old blog, like As some people may know, I have been sharing my knowledge in developing e-Audit module for Indonesia e-Procurement system, which we call it Layanan Pengadaan Secara Elektronik (LPSE). I didn't want they felt disappointed because the link was broken. And then I reactivated this address again to serve them. But, know I will share not only for them, but also for the general people.

Now I'm thinking that this address will be used for putting my general idea in improving Indonesia, and on the other side the address at will be used to capture my idea in improving information technology implementation and fighting corruption.

When we have a blog, we felt very touched when the blog was accessed by many people and gave benefit to them. That is why only you who can judge if this blog really gives benefit to the people. I'm just putting my idea in improving the country, to make it better, so our country could be more competitive and wealthy happened for the people.