Want Influence? Eliminate Your Blind Spots

A guide from Spitfire Strategies to help nonprofits and foundations successfully navigate “a trail of influence” by identifying—and eliminating—blind spots before they sabotage change strategies.

Success is often tied to influencing a targeted person or set of people. The “Want Influence?” guide provides organizations that are working to create change with recommendations for swaying the ultimate decision maker or audience.
Blind spots that sneak into change strategies:
  1. Starting fast and don’t do their homework
  2. Making strategic decisions out of order
  3. Failing to see potential downsides
  4. Overestimating the simplicity of influence
  5. Lacking objectivity
  6. Assuming decisions are made for certain reasons
  7. Plugging away instead of taking stock
Four elements needed to eliminate blind spots and craft successful influence strategies:
1. A clear sense of the decisions that need to get made
  • Any successful change effort must start with a clear sense of what decisions need to get made in order to create the desired change.
  • The more complicated a situation, the more clearly a group needs to define necessary decisions.
  • Each decision will be made by different people, based on different factors, and will require different influence campaigns.
2. An understanding of who makes the necessary decisions
  • Once a group has determined what decisions need to get made, it must clearly identify who will make those decisions.
  • People, not institutions, make decisions.
  • Once a group determines what decisions must be made, it can identify the likely decision makers.
3. An informed hypothesis about how the decisions will get made
  • An organization needs to understand how the decision is likely to get made.
  • It is critical for an organization to have a clear understanding of the decision maker’s values, allegiances, preconceptions and misconceptions.
4. An understanding of how the organization can influence the decision-making process and a gameplan for making that happen
  • With a clear understanding of how the decision will get made, the group needs to honestly assess its strengths, networks, reputation and reach to decide if and how it can influence the decision-making process.
  • At this point, organizations need to identify pressure points it can credibly weigh in on.



Photo via (cc) Flickr user buddawiggi


Date: 2013
Authors: Kristen Grimm
Organization: Spitfire Strategies
Strategic Approach: Engagement, Evaluation, Framing, Other
Organization: Spitfire Strategies
Strategic Approach: Engagement, Evaluation, Framing, Other

Related resources

Related Resources