5 Tips to Influence Without Authority

Felicia Davis - 5 Tips to Influence Without AuthorityGuest post by Felicia Davis, author of the book, The Leadership Mastery Formula

Leadership has taken on new meaning and much greater challenges in the last decade and being able to influence, even when you feel powerless, is a must. The VUCA environment that we are in now makes being a leader even tougher, but with the right communication and influencing skills, it can be done. People bring a vast amount of skills, experience and points of view with them and with that comes the challenge of trying to reach an agreement. Often times, the difference between getting a Yes and a No is how you show up inside of the conversation.

If you have a hard time stating what you want, use a three step process to get it done:

  1. State your observations. These are the facts and things that can be seen and heard. Observations are different from opinions. Facts are objective and can not be argued.
  2. State your thoughts and feelings about the situation. Be sure to start each of these statements with the word “I” so that it’s clear that these are your opinions.
  3. State what you want the other person to do. If you truly want the door to be open to alternative solutions, make statements about your needs rather than presenting solutions up front. If you state the solution too early, it might close the door on other possible alternatives.

Be Proactive and Build a Power Base

Build a foundation for influence before you need it. Having a good power base of relationships with others will make influencing a much easier task. Be proactive and do not wait until you need something to start showing an interest in what others are doing. Build all around positive relationships both vertically and horizontally. This means that you establish rapport and build relationships with everyone from the receptionist to people at higher levels within the organization or community. Most importantly, act with integrity and work to earn the trust of your colleagues.

Inspire Cooperation to Overcome Resistance

Do your research so that you can anticipate reactions and be prepared to address them. If you know in advance how people are likely to respond to your proposition or idea, you will be better prepared to deal with their reactions or resistance. A few things that you must do are to determine whose support you absolutely need to have and speak with others to clearly understand what you need to do to get their buy-in. Identify peers or others who may have some insight about that person’s purpose and values and ask for insight. Ask for feedback from those you trust and anyone else who may be involved. Keeping these things in mind will allow you to get meaningful commitments.

Go In to Win With An Agreeable Exchange

Ensure that your position addresses the needs of others. Research, research, research is the key here. If you go in with the goal of creating a win/win outcome, getting the buy-in of others will be much easier. Be sure to think of everyone that your proposal will affect not just the key stakeholder. Consider their concerns and how you might address them in your proposal. Offer something of value in exchange. It’s a give and take world and knowing this up front will increase your overall chances of success.

Continued Skill Building

Now that you’ve had experience with using this process to win someone over, continue building on your expertise. Look for small projects where you can use your influencing skills and create more wins for yourself. This will build your influence muscle and prepare you for the day that the “BIG” idea shows up. You’ll now be equipped with the skill, knowledge and confidence that you need to tackle it with ease.

Self Assessment & Action Steps:

Think about your own career and the position that you currently hold. Now really dig deep, be honest and ask yourself the following questions:

  • I place a premium on being able to positively influence others.
    ___ Yes ___ No
  • I thoroughly do my research before any meeting where I am trying gain buy-in from others.
    ___ Yes ___ No
  • I work hard to build alliances throughout the organization and/or community so that I will have the support that I need before I actually need it.
    ___ Yes ___ No
  • I proactively seek feedback vertically and horizontally throughout the organization on any and all influencing initiatives. When I receive that feedback, I take what’s useful and relevant and put a plan into place to work it.
    ___ Yes ___ No
  • I have a mentor or professional coach to assist and give me guidance and feedback.
    ___ Yes ___ No
  • I am fully accountable for my level of success. I own it, take action and celebrate when I win.
    ___ Yes ___ No

For every YES, write specifically what you are currently doing that makes it effective. Now look for opportunities to build upon these engagements to help continue to grow and develop. What will you do next?

For every NO, write one thing that you will do to implement this into your career development strategy. Be very specific and give yourself a deadline to get it done.

If you found these tips to be helpful and you want more ideas on effectively using your power to influence, I’d love for you to celebrate Women’s History Month with me and join us at the 2016 Women & Power Symposium. The theme is Leading Across Generations and the reason why is because the human capital shift is major and we must have deep conversations and education that explores how to effectively leverage the shift. Be sure to join the interest list and be the first to know when all of the details, including the Call for Speakers -both virtual and in-person, will be announced, wpsymposium.org.

Felicia DavisFelicia Davis is an award-winning leadership development consultant, speaker and author of the book, The Leadership Mastery Formula. She works with emerging and experienced women leaders to help them develop more effective leadership brands, more compelling communication skills and the confidence to show up and lead with radical integrity. For more ideas on how to become a more effective leader, download your free copy of my 10 Mistakes ebook at FeliciaRDavis.com. Find out what mistakes may be lurking in your blind spot and compromising your impact and influence as a leader.

Meet Your New Board of Directors for 2015-16

NAWBO DD Board 1 2015 smallJune is a month of transition for NAWBO leadership as we conclude the 2014-15 membership year and begin the 2015-16 year. Thank you to all the dedicated members who have volunteered to lead our organization in the next year while paving the way for future leaders to achieve at an even higher level.

Serving on the Board’s Executive Committee are:

President, Nancy Sanders of the Maricopa Small Business Development Center;

President Elect, Phaedra Earhart of Farmers Insurance;

Finance Director, Nancy Hetrick of Smarter Divorce Solutions;

Secretary, Paula Wittekind of CDQ Learning;

Past President, Dorothy Wolden of Creative Intuition;

Women’s Enterprise Foundation President, Melanie Dunlap of Peaceful Spirit Enrichment Center (ex-officio); and

NAWBO Executive Director, Suzanne Lanctot (ex-officio).


Other members serving on the NAWBO Board are:

Director of Communications, Sara Korn of WriteSmith;

Director of Marketing, Tracie Rollins of The Rollins Advantage;

Director of Media Relations, Laurie Anderson of Cactus Creative;

Director of Corporate Partners and Economic Development, Susan Ratliff of Susan Ratliff Presents, Inc.;

Director of Public Policy, Wendy Anderton of Kyle Moyer & Co.;

Director of Programs, Kristin Slice of Splash Printing and Marketing;

Director of NAWBO University, Jody Owen, Business Coach, Speaker and Trainer;

Director of Mentoring, Paula Wittekind of CDQ Learning;

Director of Membership, Isabel Bannerjee of GroYourBiz;

Ambassador Chair, Carmella Dodge of Diamond Visions, Inc.;

Community Alliance Chair, Polly Phelan of Visit Phoenix;

Neighborhood NAWBO Chair, Connie Zimmerlich of Click Chick Photography; and

Retention Chair, Victoria Trafton of The Sisterhood of Happiness.

President’s Post – The Importance of Connections for your Business

NAWBO has hit the ground running this new program year. We had a record number of attendees at the August NAWBO Phoenix Luncheon, which means to me that people are ready to Get Down to Business. Part of getting down to business is making good connections.

When I joined NAWBO over 5 years ago, one of the first things I noticed was that everyone was so supportive and willing to help me get connected to other members that could help benefit me and my business.

I was pretty new to the business ownership thing, so I didn’t realize the impact that having a well-connected network would have on my business. Now that I have gained some insight on the importance of connections, I want to share some of them with you.

Connections is a broad term for business relationships that benefit both you and the person you have developed the connection with. These connections can take place in many different ways. You can create useful connections with fellow entrepreneurs, executives in the business community and even your neighbors. Also, online social media is a great way to start a connection with others. In the professional world, these connections tend to pay off in a big way. If you leverage your NAWBO membership and develop connections with the people you meet you can see a significant impact on your business.

Photo courtesy of Easel photography

Photo courtesy of Easel photography

Connections Lead to Business

As you continue to make connections, you will find they open up business opportunities in unexpected ways. You may not make the connection to the exact person you need, BUT the connections you do have can introduce you to the person you DO need to meet. Remember, most companies prefer to work with people they know, like and trust. Your connections can help get you in the door and warm up that contact before you even reach out to them. Getting referrals from your connections to the businesses that buy the products or services you offer is the best way to leverage the contacts you have.

Connections Develop Your Marketing Skills

Connections require important communication and nurturing skills, the same type of skills that prove useful when you are marketing your business. As you make business connections, you will learn how to address different personality types and how to effectively communicate your ideas. These “understanding” skills can help you craft better messaging to your target market based on how they like to be communicated to.

Connections Are a Great Source of Ideas and Information

In casual business networking, there is rarely time to discuss topics in-depth or offer innovative ideas. However, I have learned that a good connection is a constant flow of information between you and another person. The key to this exchange of information, stories, and ideas, is that it’s mutually beneficial. If you need new marketing methods or to meet a challenge that has you at a loss, you can seek out answers using the connections you have formed.

Connections Can be Made Anywhere and With Anyone

I always say, never underestimate who a person knows or where you can make a great connection. Your stay-at-home neighbor could be the sister of a decision maker in a company you are trying to get into. The other parent on your kid’s sports team may be the owner of a business that could really use your services. I hear people all the time make judgment on whether they think someone can help them without ever getting to know them. That is a bad idea in my book. Yes it takes time to get to know people and build connections but the rewards outweigh the efforts.

The next NAWBO event you attend, keep in mind that everyone in the room may not be your next client but the people THEY know can be. It’s important to connect with them to start building and expanding your powerful and profitable network.

President’s Post – Let’s get down to business

Five years ago when I became a member of NABWO Phoenix I never thought I would have the privilege and opportunity to server as its President. I’m thrilled to have the good fortune to give back to the organization that has helped my business growth. One thing I did learn very quickly is that NAWBO Phoenix is the premier organization for women in business who are not just looking for a place to network, but who are looking for resources, connections and the ability to collaborate with others to grow their businesses.

The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) propels women entrepreneurs into economic, social and political spheres of power worldwide by: STRENGTHEN the wealth-creating capacity of our members and promote economic development; CREATE innovative and effective changes in the business culture; BUILD strategic alliances, coalitions, and affiliations; and TRANSFORM public policy and influence opinion makers.

I started thinking about a theme for the 2014/15 program year and began by reflecting on what we had already accomplished. The list is very long. A few things we’ve focused on, were honoring our past, deepening our connections, collaborating with other organization and strengthening the power of NAWBO. Now it’s time to leverage what know, and who we are and “get down to business.” So the theme I have chosen for this year is “Let’s Get Down to Business.”

The members of NAWBO Phoenix are ultimately here to grown their businesses, companies and corporations. NAWBO Phoenix has some of the best programs in the country to support women in achieving their business goals. We are kicking off our award winning Mentoring program, if you are interested to learn more visit our website.

I know I have benefitted greatly from my NAWBO membership and as an organization we want to make sure that all our members and partners receive a return on their investment that is over and above what they expect. I’ve experienced it so I know it’s possible.

We have put together a rock star group of women to lead this program year as the Board of Directors. Learn all about them at our website. These fantastic women have raised their hands to support this organization, its members and me as President, and I could not be more thrilled and excited to work with them. They are ready to rollup their sleeves and “Get Down to Business.”

We are looking forward to growing our membership and to continue to provide the world-class events and educational opportunities our organization has become known for. I invite business owners throughout the Valley, men and women alike, to come to a NAWBO Phoenix event, we have a variety of workshops, speakers, and networking opportunities for just about anyone. To learn more about NAWBO register for an event, and “Let’s Get Down To Business.”

Dorothy Wolden
2014/15 President NAWBO Phoenix

The Power of Promotion

NAWBO U This months luncheon demonstrated the power of NAWBO. The panel was on the topic of promotion. Lots of women business owners struggle with the idea of promotion.  We don’t want to sound pushy or arrogant. So we let opportunities to slip by. We don’t tell others about our accomplishments, we don’t nominate ourselves for awards and when someone asks what we do we sheepishly use generic words.   This months NAWBO University and NAWBO lunch was filled with award winning women business owner from across the nation sharing their tips on how to overcome promotion apprehension. Here are couple of the stand out message:

  • Learn to tell your story. Talk about your passion and what makes you unique. Learn the language to promote your business so when presented with the opportunity you can promote your business easily.
  • The difference between promotion and “shameless self promotion” is putting your mission (why you do what you do) first, being authentic, listening to others first and respect.
  • GET OVER IT! Awards are a great opportunity to get exposure for your business. That means you often have to nominate yourself and talk about your accomplishments. It may feel weird at first but push through because awards = opportunity.

Plus, many many more. NAWBO wants to help you promote your business. Nominate yourself or a fellow NAWBO member for our desert diamond award. Have you already one an award? Let us know. Do you blog? Send us your articles or blogs so we can post it on the NAWBO Blog. We are streamlining our process to make it simple. Email any of the above items to Suzanne (suzanne@nawbophx.org) and she will get it submitted to the right place.

So go out and promote you and your business!

If you attended the lunch what tips did you walk away with?

NAWBO- Helping Women Business Owners Make More Money.

Why do people join NAWBO? Support.

Why do people join NAWBO? Support and a little humor. Because running a business isn’t easy.








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Corporate Partner Highlight: Tech Finders


Buiness: Tech Finders
Owner: Sharon Bondurant
Tel: 480.342.9900


What this business offers:

We offer customized staffing solutions for small – large companies throughout Arizona. We find the staff talent that you can’t find on your own!

Whether the need is to find a short-term contract person to assist with a project, or a long term direct hire employee, we can find the right person for the job!

We have two staffing divisions including:

  • Information Technology – finding people with the following skill sets: developer, database administrator, help desk, web designer, project manager, IT manager, business analyst, and more.
  • Human Resources – Our HR division, HR Finders, can assist with any HR need including: HR Consultants, Recruiters, HR Generalists, HR Directors, Benefits and Compensation, Talent Acquisition, and more.

What makes the business unique? – We are one of the largest, boutique staffing firms in Arizona, with 12 recruiters on staff. One of the keys to our success is that we focus on the inside out. To clarify, we focus on finding and retaining the best local recruiters in the market. Most of our staff have at least 10 years of local recruiting experience. Several of our recruiters have the prestigious CPC certification. We focus on quality of our candidates versus quantity and will only present our clients with the best of the best. Our philosophy is once a client, you are client for life!

Biggest daily challenge:
It is currently a candidate market again. This means the best candidates are not looking for a job. We have to be very proactive in finding and seeking out the best talent.

Why should customers choose your product or service?
We focus on quality candidates versus quantity.

We find the staff talent that our clients are not able to find on their own?
We are passionate and client / candidate focused. We service our clients with the goal to “wow” them each time we work with them. We have been named the #1 Technical Recruiting firm by Ranking AZ for 2013 AND 2014

How long have you been a NAWBO Corporate Partner?
1 year

Why did you decide to become a NAWBO Corporate Partner?
The great people and the monthly presentations

What has worked better than you anticipated?
This is a hard question to answer because it has been everything that I anticipated it would be… a great organization made up of passionate people working to be the best they can be.

Empowering Yourself and Others Through Self-Leadership

Leadership isn’t only reserved for the people with a certain job title or authority position. Leadership can come in many forms and show itself differently within each person. The truth is that leadership isn’t a position, it’s an attitude. We all are given small moments where we can start to see ourselves as a leader every day of our lives. We become a leader not by the title on our business card, but by our choices we make and the actions we take. I call this “Self-Leadership” and everyone inherently has this leader inside of them, it just sometimes takes some work to awaken it.

The amazing thing about self-leadership is that it can illuminate and ignite untapped potential within us. By looking within, we can see that there is more to us than just our jobs, our financial status, and who we know. Self-leadership shows us that we have the power to contribute something important to the world and bring about change.

…self-study. By observing with an objective eye our choices, habits, thoughts, and actions, we can see clearly where we are holding ourselves back. This kind of leadership shows us the path to empowerment by examining what we have to let go of and those things that we can work to change.

…taking the power back into your life. You get to choose everything, did you know that?! You get to choose who you are, how you relate to others, what you want to do to find happiness, and on and on. We often give away these choices, and understandably so, because of hard circumstances we might go through in our lives. But I’m hear to say that your power can be reclaimed and you can become a self-leader once again.

Self-leadership allows us to believe in ourselves and the potential we have to do great things.

…that we can consistently make intentional decisions, rather than waiting for something to happen that will passively make the decision for us.

…evolve into the best version of who we can be. By bringing present moment awareness into your life (paying attention to what is happening, and not the mind’s comments about what is happening), this will help us naturally tap into what we want and need. There will be more assuredness in your decisions, because you know what is right for you, and often more importantly, what is not.

…into leadership of others. Until you can be a self-leader, it will be difficult to lead others. We must know first our strengths in order to see those same strengths within others and draw them out.

So, how can you take my words here and take tangible actions to build your self-leadership? Here are 4 tips on how to lead yourself and, in turn, lead others.

1. Open your eyes wide to see what is possible in your life. Envision it. Give this vision to others and find out their dreams.

2. Make happiness a choice and show up to make that choice every day. Inspire others to do the same, even if it is just to start off with a smile.

3. Celebrate what you have done in the past and what you are moving towards. Understand the successes and goals of others and find the positive within their journey.

4. Trust the choices you make and don’t double guess yourself once it’s done. Find the commonalities with others and build trust by honoring their thoughts and feelings.

Everything you need is already within you now. You just have to tap into your strength, believe it can take you places, and keep on moving further!

Renie Cavallari

January Luncheon Speaker

Renie Cavallari is an energetic trainer, strategist, speaker, author and leader who has delivered measurable results for businesses around the world over the past 20 years. Renie founded Aspire in 1995 and since then has worked with thousands of clients around the world. As a powerhouse business leader, Renie helps individual assets to global brands achieve breakthrough results by utilizing her time-tested sales approaches, training/learning techniques, strategic marketing processes, team building and revenue optimization solutions.

NAWBO Brings Like-Minded People Together

NAWBO Brings Like-Minded People Together

Amy BruskeBy Amy Bruske

When I was 18 years old, my boyfriend told me that I was “too ambitious.” This was a shocking point of view that I had never considered before. Was there such a thing as being too ambitious? “Why do you have to run a business if you are going to be a mother?” he asked.

Within a few months of that discussion, I got into an argument with a group of girlfriends as we were discussing our future goals. Once again, I found myself defending my desire to go out of state for college and become a businesswoman. All hell really broke loose when I defiantly stated “Well! I never want to rely on any one else for money and I certainly don’t want to buy my husband a birthday present with money that he made!”   My immaturity was apparent in the words I chose to justify my position, and I had never considered that some of my friends would take that statement as an attack on their own mothers who had all chosen to be stay-at-home moms. My self-esteem took a hit and I started to feel like there must be something wrong with me.

It wasn’t until I started meeting other business majors in college that I realized that there were other women who had similar goals. All of us would dream about running companies and discuss which industries could be the best fit for our talents.   Finally, I was around other women who wanted to have families and work, and didn’t think that such a goal was selfish or crazy. It was life changing and affirming for me.

A few years later, I found myself back in a position of being the oddball after I married my college sweetheart who had become a professional baseball player. I met many lovely women through baseball, but I definitely stood out as being one of the only wives with a career. My husband and I frequently received unsolicited advice from coaches and scouts who told us how impossible it was going to be for us both to juggle work and build a life together. On one flight with the team, the pitching coach stopped at my seat and immediately reacted to what I was reading by saying “in all my years of playing and coaching baseball, I’ve NEVER seen a wife read a BusinessWeek Magazine!” Then there was the time when one of the major league wives was shocked to hear that I had a job, and yelled over several other women “You work?” When I said “Yes,” her follow up question was simply, “WHY?” I didn’t even know how to respond to this. Luckily, I was more mature than my 18 year old self and realized that as long as my husband was in this sport I would experience many more conversations like this and a snippy reaction would not be helpful.

Recently, all of these memories came flooding back to me while I was giving advice to my son and found myself encouraging him to seek out people who share similar goals and values when he gets to college. Then it hit me…THIS is why I love being a member of NAWBO Phoenix. I realize now that it is not about surrounding myself with other working women, but finding people who are goal-oriented and strive for constant growth in whatever matters to them most. I know that walking into a NAWBO event, I am going to meet like-minded women who are inspirational and give me new ideas about what is possible. This is also why I am passionate about the Young Entrepreneur’s Academy. Is there such a thing as being too ambitious? If I had access to such a program in High School, I would never have given that question a second thought!

Solution to all of Phoenix’s Economic Development Challenges: Women.

Last Friday, I was invited to attend the In Business Annual Guest Editor Economic Symposium & Be In Business EXPO 2013 (that is a mouth full). It was a panel of business professionals discussing the future of Phoenix. I was invited by the wonderful Susan Ratliff who this year is holding the 10th Annual Women Entrepreneurs’ Small Business Boot Camp. I was also asked to help work the booth for the National Association of Women Business Owners, whose board I serve on. At lunch I sat at the table next to Nancy Sanders my business partner extraordinaire and Dena Paton one of the great women business leaders in Phoenix who also launched a highly successful non-profit that empowers young women.

And I sat there and listened to five middle-aged white men talk about what Phoenix needs to do. There were two women on the panel, Deborah Batemen and Candace Wiest, both of whom are bankers.

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