B. Kim Barnes (reprinted from “The Influence Guru”)

You’ve thought through how to approach your boss, your colleague, your partner. You have put together a solid and logical case that should meet their decision criteria. You have made an effort to understand their needs and believe you can show them that your idea will meet those needs beautifully. Somehow, though, your case falls flat. They give you a polite excuse, a rational-sounding rebuttal, an angry dismissal, or simply avoid responding at all. You’re puzzled and disappointed. It’s tempting to assume that they are simply resistant to change or to believe that they are being unreasonable. Of course, that often leads to a sense of futility, to giving up on that idea or that person’s potential support.

In 2018 I wrote the following article:

Driverless cars. Smart stores. Bartenders, pharmacists, and journalists replaced by algorithms and machines. Attorneys and surgeons could be the next humans replaced by robots. Is this your future, too? What can humans do that robots can’t?

by B. Kim Barnes
(Originally posted on LinkedIn, February 19, 2019)

“Soft skills” have been much in the news recently. Many studies, including some recently published on LinkedIn, have noted that while AI is coming for many jobs, it will be a long while, if ever, before the robots are sophisticated enough to do the complex work of parent, leader, friend, nurse, or member of the clergy. In fact, there are many roles, jobs, and careers that require a strong set of the skills we have long termed “soft.”

By B. Kim Barnes

Influencing another person requires that person to make a decision – whether to say yes, say no, discuss, negotiate, or offer an alternative that you both can live with. Decision-making related to influence is generally driven by needs, which can be practical or emotional in nature. Sometimes the need is obvious and discussable, such as a need for more time or resources. Sometimes the need is emotional and perhaps below awareness, but powerful all the same. While we may prefer to think of ourselves as rational and thoughtful decision-makers, recent studies by brain scientists and behavioral economists have shown that emotional needs are frequently the primary drivers behind our decisions.