The sphere of influence is often represented engulfed in the sphere of concern and was made famous in Stephen Covey’s ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’. The sphere’s are so important that they were covered off in his very first habit! The key point to remember is that the sphere of influence encompasses all those things which we can affect, and the sphere of concern are those that we cannot.
We have all experienced our sphere of concern expand this year, and that pressure has in turn squeezed our sphere of influence into a much smaller ball. Your influence has shrunk and your actions may no longer be capable of warding off the circle of concern. Much of our personal and organization anxiety stems from this.
While Stephen Covey’s approach was focused on the individual’s mindset, the same can be applied to the overriding attitudes and mindsets within organizations. We are going to look at how this model can help organizations to address their strategic approach to maximize their outcomes at this time and re-establish resiliency.
As our sphere of concern has ballooned and bulged over the past twelve months, it is easy to focus on this sphere and become drawn into believing very little can be done, therefore a fear of action sets in, or simply just an inertia, or a ‘wait and see’ approach. This can be seen in companies that have not yet refocused and addressed the imbalance between what they are able to influence and what they cannot, and that is seen primarily in how they govern themselves.
However, by changing an organization’s focus to that which it can influence and actively re-establishing the balance of pressure between these two sphere’s – an organization can take back control and indeed drive change, growth and success. It goes without saying that to be effective in driving up the pressure of Influence, it must be as great a drive and passion as to offset the pressure which the concern exerts – in other words, in today’s world, a great deal of drive and determination will be needed, more so than normal to reach a balance, but it is worth it, and a few simple steps will help you to achieve this.
7 steps to guide an organisation through the process of reestablishing balance:
- Observe what type of actions and outcomes your teams are proposing. What decisions have you made. Where is your focus? How much is concern driving your behavior as an organization and the decisions being made?
- Recognise where you have slowed down, where you are not considering any action, or where the action is negatively affecting your outcomes, it may be preventative or defensive maneuvers. Highlight them.
- Accept where you are and become aware of the assumptions that you’ve been holding on to that are not entirely true. Assumptions will have the greatest affect of limiting your ability to focus on what you can influence. You can affect change.
- Consciously and actively Shift your focus to that which you can influence – that means changing how you respond to what is happening and look to make it work for you, to give you a new revenue model, build company culture, gain competitive advantage through your adaptions, create new solutions and services, create new products, make changes in how you do business that you previously could not.
- Plan to do things differently through:
- Your Presence (the way you present yourself to the world as a business, what you communicate and your brand message),
- Build this new proactive mentality into your corporate strategy and decision making,
- and most importantly drive Action across the organization.
- Encouragement – Engage honestly and with a renewed vigour, support and motivate your organisation, as this will take a collective strength.
- Finally Actively hunt out opportunities and act on them with purpose.