February 6, 2020

Influencing leaders over the weekend


His performance review happened on Friday. He received an important feedback. Or, in a more modern way, his boss pointed out an opportunity for his development. In this case, he needed to increase his influence skills. His role involves leading top executives, even though he is low in hierarchy. Persuasion is key.

Right after wrapping up the conversation about development and getting back to business, his boss asked him to work over the weekend. They needed to finish that project no matter what. But for that, the executive director of the other business unit also needed to finish his part. His boss was crystal clear about it: - "talk to him, do whatever needed".

Still on Friday, he sent a text message to such executive director, asking for a status. On Saturday, no answer. Same thing on Sunday morning. In the afternoon, he decided to call: - "sorry to bother you, but have you seen my message about the project"? The executive director asked: - "what message"?

He explained everything to the executive director. Spoke for a couple of minutes about the strategic vision of the project. Quantified the importance of it for the company results. Reminded him about the deadline agreed weeks ago. At last, talked seriously about the expectations of the board and the attention given to this topic by the president himself. This project is the main pillar of the growth plan. The executive director, bored with all that information, said: - "I'll read my messages tomorrow".

Concerned, he insisted: - "please, it's critical for you to send me your part today, otherwise we won't be able to finish the project on time". Not bored anymore, but angry, the executive director said frankly: - "never call me during the weekend anymore". And hung up the call.

He felt uncomfortable. Deep inside, he made that call against his principles. He wouldn't be happy to receive a business call on Sunday either. Anyway, he will keep on trying to develop his influence skills. From now on, during business days only.

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