Thanks for the feedback on the last instalment. The next key area of emerging need in management education, and the second largest topic (in terms of papers, time and discussion) from the AGMS (Association of Global Management Studies) conference in Oxford in May was: Effecting management through influence.

In recent years the focus, to my mind, has been on leadership, so it was interesting to see a change, and it was a change. No coverage of things like strategy, staff engagement, authenticity etc.

There seems to have been a Jungian arrival at the belief that in the multidisciplinary world, where you don’t have direct reports (well not ones actually working on your stuff – yours are working on a heap of things for other people), where your success depends on getting things done without control or dedicated resources, and in competition with your peers for outcome and resources – what you need is influence.

The influence to get people to do what you need done, when you need it done.

Most of the sessions were from the perspective of management and managers but a couple sneaked in talking about this matrixed up world from the ‘resources’ point of view.

My interpretation is that influence boils down to trust. Now, don’t go thinking of trust as a worthy thing. You can completely trust evil to consistently do what’s in its best interest – so it’s not always about good. (For the grammar pedants did you spot the split infinitive?)

Research indicates that trust is the single biggest predictor of success (researchers have even arrived at the elements of trust and how to achieve them). Let me know if you’d like the recipe.

The bottom line is that without influence you won’t succeed, and that’s independent of your ability, your connections, your legitimate position and power and your own determination to succeed.

It’s very interesting to witness the change in management thought – and for those of us involved in projects and programs influence is essential for us to be able to deliver. Not so important if you just want to keep the paperwork straight though.

Ok, that’s it for today.

No, I fibbed…. I’ve just done a quick count of the papers related to influence that are scheduled for presentation at the Association of Management Conference in Philadelphia in August. 10,000 attendees, 1500 papers and 587 related to influence. I guess it really is the topic of the day.

That really is it for now. Call if I can help in any way.