When Your Influence Is Ineffective | HBR Blog Network

Because a style’s effectiveness or ineffectiveness is completely situational, it’s tricky to recognize when a style you are using isn’t working. Since the same argument or presentation can be “heard” differently by different people, recognizing when a style is ineffective requires enough interpersonal insight to accurately judge how your appeal is being perceived.

In order to gain agility between styles — and make sure that you’re using each effectively — take a moment to consider situations where specific influencing styles are ineffective. We’ve provided a breakdown for each of the five styles below:

Rationalizing: Rationalizing can be ineffective when it makes others feel overwhelmed, that their perspectives are not being heard, or that the influencer values data more than their feelings. This can happen when the influencer repeats the same factual argument, ignores value-based solutions, or fails to consider the emotions or feelings of others. These behaviors can be perceived as competitive or self-serving, and may generate a competitive response.

Asserting: Asserting generally won’t work when people feel pressured — especially when asserting statements start to feel like aggressive, heavy-handed, or unreasonable demands. This can lead to resistance or resentment accompanied by passive aggressive or negative behavior, which can result in compliance when the influencer really needs commitment. In other words, people may say they are in agreement with the influencer, but when the time comes for action, they may not behave the way the influencer had in mind. The asserting style is especially ineffective when one is influencing up or there is need for collaboration.

Negotiating: Negotiating is being used ineffectively when people become confused about the influencer’s key position. This can happen when the influencer negotiates too much, loses sight of the bigger picture, or gives up something that is seemingly critical to his or her long-term strategic interest. When an influencer gives in to the demands or needs of other stakeholders to avoid conflict, it may communicate that the influencer is less concerned about an issue than they really are. When one is in an inferior position or there is nothing to exchange, the negotiating style is especially questionable.

Inspiring: Inspiring isn’t working when people feel misled, especially when there is a lack of trust at the start. This can happen when people are influenced toward a common ground only to discover there is none; others may assume that the influencer has a hidden agenda or an overall lack of transparency. All of this erodes trust, causes suspicion, and costs the influencer future credibility.

Bridging: Bridging is ineffective when the influencer uses what he or she knows about the stakeholders’ interests during the influencing process to the extent that they feel manipulated. Instead of connecting people to one’s position, the influencer may be making them suspicious about his or her motives. This can happen when there is too little common ground or open conflict at the outset. The influencer may be perceived as self-serving or insincere about the interests of other stakeholders. More so, when bridging includes a push for collaboration when the prerequisites or time doesn’t allow it, this can lead to distrust in the organization.

It’s clear that unless we take the time to learn enough about the different influencing styles and take notice of the situations around us, we run the risk of damaging our personal effectiveness in the short term and harming our organization in the long run.

Can you tell when the influencing style you are using is ineffective? How are you going to improve your influencing abilities?

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Chris Musselwhite and Tammie Plouffe

In today’s highly matrixed workplace, your ability to influence others can be the key to your professional success. In a previous blog post, we asked questions and provided links to influencing style assessment tools — all in the effort to demonstrate why learning about influencing styles, including identifying our own primary style, is critical to personal effectiveness. The bottom line: Since we naturally default to the one (sometimes two) styles that work best at influencing us, our influencing ability and our effectiveness to influence others will remain limited until we develop influencing style agility, achieving the ability to use any style comfortably.

Once we have identified our style and learned about the others, the next step is learning how to recognize when a style is being used ineffectively. As some readers of our previous blog wisely commented, everyone has used all of the influencing styles at one time or another. This underscores the fact that no style is inherently bad. In fact, any influencing style can be used effectively as long as the influencer fully considers the situation — the people involved, what’s at stake for everyone, and the organizational culture in which everyone is operating.

But influence becomes ineffective when individuals become so focused on the desired outcome that they fail to fully consider the situation. While the influencer may still gain the short-term desired outcome, he or she can do long-term damage to personal effectiveness and the organization, as it creates an atmosphere of distrust where people stop listening, and the potential for innovation or progress is diminished. Leer más “When Your Influence Is Ineffective | HBR Blog Network”

Experience Trumps Theory: Reviving the Apprenticeship Model

Once upon a time, we learned only by doing. A quality education meant finding an expert to take you under his or her wing. Whether you wanted to be a blacksmith or a shoemaker, the ultimate break was ultimately a relationship. In exchange, your capacity would be stretched. You would learn in real-time, soaking up the knowledge through trial and error. You would learn the trade in practice rather than theory. You would also build a network and gain respect based on your performance rather than any sort of degree.This era of apprenticeship is now largely a relic of history. Somewhere along the line we decided to economize and scale education. Given the time-intensive and intimate nature of apprenticeships, we sought to train more people at once with a streamlined curriculum. As we moved more and more learning into the classroom, we compromised the intense learning that happened in the field. We traded experiential learning for a more standardized but less potent education.

I believe the classroom underserves us. We become dissuaded by theoretical lessons, disenchanted teachers, and a reward system that is all about the grade and not at all about the trade. If experiential education is so important, why don’t we give college credits for what happens outside the classroom?

As we moved more learning into the classroom, we compromised the intense learning that happened in the field.

Unfortunately, undergraduate education is centered on the classroom experience and takes extracurricular activities (clubs, etc.) as an
afterthought. Many schools provide credit for internships, but they don’t stress them as an integrated aspect of the overall program. What’s more, the schools usually play little to no role in coordinating the internships, so it’s very hit or miss: A student could have a life-changing experience, or spend a semester fetching coffee and sitting on the sidelines.

Most of the passionate creative people I have met are motivated more by a genuine interest than by money. We are driven by our pursuit of an expertise in what fascinates us. The Holy Grail for most creative careers is becoming a leader in your interests and making an impact. Experiential on-the-job learning is the most natural conduit for developing such an expertise.


Once upon a time, we learned only by doing. A quality education meant finding an expert to take you under his or her wing. Whether you wanted to be a blacksmith or a shoemaker, the ultimate break was ultimately a relationship. In exchange, your capacity would be stretched. You would learn in real-time, soaking up the knowledge through trial and error. You would learn the trade in practice rather than theory. You would also build a network and gain respect based on your performance rather than any sort of degree.This era of apprenticeship is now largely a relic of history. Somewhere along the line we decided to economize and scale education. Given the time-intensive and intimate nature of apprenticeships, we sought to train more people at once with a streamlined curriculum. As we moved more and more learning into the classroom, we compromised the intense learning that happened in the field. We traded experiential learning for a more standardized but less potent education.

I believe the classroom underserves us. We become dissuaded by theoretical lessons, disenchanted teachers, and a reward system that is all about the grade and not at all about the trade. If experiential education is so important, why don’t we give college credits for what happens outside the classroom?

As we moved more learning into the classroom, we compromised the intense learning that happened in the field.

Unfortunately, undergraduate education is centered on the classroom experience and takes extracurricular activities (clubs, etc.) as an
afterthought. Many schools provide credit for internships, but they don’t stress them as an integrated aspect of the overall program. What’s more, the schools usually play little to no role in coordinating the internships, so it’s very hit or miss: A student could have a life-changing experience, or spend a semester fetching coffee and sitting on the sidelines.

Most of the passionate creative people I have met are motivated more by a genuine interest than by money. We are driven by our pursuit of an expertise in what fascinates us. The Holy Grail for most creative careers is becoming a leader in your interests and making an impact.  Experiential on-the-job learning is the most natural conduit for developing such an expertise.
Leer más “Experience Trumps Theory: Reviving the Apprenticeship Model”

The Web Design Community Offers Advice To Beginners

* By Robert Bowen

At one time or another, we are all newbies. That’s right: you can deny it all you want, but not one of us got into this game with a full deck stacked in our favor. We entered as newbies, born fresh after the start screen loaded. However, unlike in a game, we are not immediately launched into a tutorial level to learn the ropes in this new world — what to avoid, how to progress, etc. And if we feel overwhelmed by our newbie status, we may not be able to find our way to the tutorials and guides that the community has put together to help us sort all of this out. So, feeling very alone in all this is easy.

Train in The Web Design Community Offers Advice To Beginners
Jumping in a new passion can be difficult and time-consuming at first. The support of the community can be extremely helpful in overcoming the learning curve and helping to find the right route for your career and your professional skills. Image credit.

But this is the great thing about being part of the online development community — that you are never truly alone. Your experience may be unique in its details, but it’s not generally, which is great because the community is very open to sharing its experiences and offering guidance to help newbies navigate the twists and turns we are sure to face as we continue down the developer’s path. In most cases, all you have to do to get some helpful advice is to venture into the social media neighborhoods and ask the community at large. At times, the answers just pour in.

That is what we found when we went out on Twitter and on Facebook recently to poll our followers and fans. We asked “What is the single best tip from your experience that you would give to newbie developers?” This article is the result of all of the amazing responses we have received. Before we go any further, we would like to thank those who took the time to answer our query and who offered so much great advice to all the newbies out there in the development arena. As usual, the advice also serves as a nice refresher to all those seasoned veterans who have been in the game for a while.


At one time or another, we are all newbies. That’s right: you can deny it all you want, but not one of us got into this game with a full deck stacked in our favor. We entered as newbies, born fresh after the start screen loaded. However, unlike in a game, we are not immediately launched into a tutorial level to learn the ropes in this new world — what to avoid, how to progress, etc. And if we feel overwhelmed by our newbie status, we may not be able to find our way to the tutorials and guides that the community has put together to help us sort all of this out. So, feeling very alone in all this is easy.

Train in The Web Design Community Offers Advice To Beginners
Jumping in a new passion can be difficult and time-consuming at first. The support of the community can be extremely helpful in overcoming the learning curve and helping to find the right route for your career and your professional skills. Image credit.

But this is the great thing about being part of the online development community — that you are never truly alone. Your experience may be unique in its details, but it’s not generally, which is great because the community is very open to sharing its experiences and offering guidance to help newbies navigate the twists and turns we are sure to face as we continue down the developer’s path. In most cases, all you have to do to get some helpful advice is to venture into the social media neighborhoods and ask the community at large. At times, the answers just pour in.

That is what we found when we went out on Twitter and on Facebook recently to poll our followers and fans. We asked “What is the single best tip from your experience that you would give to newbie developers?” This article is the result of all of the amazing responses we have received. Before we go any further, we would like to thank those who took the time to answer our query and who offered so much great advice to all the newbies out there in the development arena. As usual, the advice also serves as a nice refresher to all those seasoned veterans who have been in the game for a while. Leer más “The Web Design Community Offers Advice To Beginners”

Project-Based Learning: How Students Learn Teamwork, Critical Thinking And Communication Skills


What is project-based learning? PBL is a new learning approach which places greater emphasis on targeting the learning of complex experiences, geared to a specific goal or objective, in place of the traditional academic approach strongly focusing on rote memorization of multiple information items alienated from their practical, real-world uses. The objective is the one of equipping young generations with the mental tools needed to face the complex, fast-changing nature of the information-based economy they are preparing themselves for.

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Photo credit: Clipart

The big problem is that the present educational paradigm is simply inadequate when it comes to providing our young kids with the challenges, methods, exercises and approaches that can help them use their intellect in critical ways, that can help them analyze and evaluate information, and that trains them to become excellent listeners and communicators.

Did school ever teach you how you can verify, question or even challenge any source of information? Or how you should best organize your work when working in a collaborative team? Or how to present information in effective ways so that complex ideas can be easily communicated to others? I bet the answers to all these is a systematic “no“.

In today’s traditional classrooms, students typically work on simple assignments that emphasize short-term content memorization; they work alone, write for the teacher alone, and rarely make presentations. They are trained day-in and day-out to serve this one-to-one relationship with their teacher(s) which is hardly representative of the demands and challenges that they will have to face in real-life.

Instead, by using this so-calledproject-based learning approach“, students are guided to work on long-term challenges that involve real-life problems. This helps students see the complexity and interdisciplinary aspects of any job or activity in a more realistic fashion, helping them prepare more effectively for the real challenges ahead.

In this process, students are also motivated to learn how to use new technologies to support such assignments. Technology and the internet can in fact greatly help them do better research, analysis, and evaluation of alternative solutions, communicate and present more effectively their ideas and projects to others and learn how to collaborate and work with a distributed team.

In project-based learning students are finally given the opportunity to go through an educational approach which allows them to transcend the limiting nature of the one-to-one teacher-student relationships in favor of mastering how to collaborate and arrive at results efficiently while working with others. And at the same time the classical teacher role itself needs, under this perspective, to transform itself into the one of a facilitator, a guide.

In this fascinating report, Bob Pearlman, illustrates effectively the key traits and characteristics that make project-based learning so different from any traditional school learning curriculum.

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Students Thrive On Cooperation and Problem Solving

by Bob Pearlman

Why Learning and Schooling Must Be Totally Transformed

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Let’s assume the No Child Left Behind Act works fine and that by 2014 every student meets the targeted standards and passes his or her state’s exit exam.

Will those students be successful as citizens and workers in the twenty-first century? Not a chance.

Let’s further assume that each state’s governor gets the one-on-one computer bug and equips all of each state’s students with top-flight portable PCs. Will these students now be successful as citizens and workers in the twenty-first century?

Again, not a chance.

No matter how sophisticated the tools we put in classrooms, the curriculum designed to educate students to meet the new standards is sorely inadequate to help them after they leave school.

In short, learning – and schooling – must be totally transformed.

Today’s graduates need to be critical thinkers, problem solvers, and effective communicators who are proficient in both core subjects and new, twenty-first-century content and skills,” according to Results that Matter: 21st Century Skills and High School Reform, a report issued in March by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills.

These include:

  • Learning and thinking skills,
  • information and communications-technology literacy skills, and
  • life skills.

Students of today enter an increasingly globalized world in which technology plays a vital role. They must be good communicators, as well as great collaborators.

The new work environment requires responsibility and self-management, as well as interpersonal and project-management skills that demand teamwork and leadership.

http://www.masternewmedia.org/project-based-learning-how-students-learn-teamwork-critical-thinking-and-communication-skills/

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