How to create a ‘Framework of Influence’ to manage engagement effectively.
It’s easy because ‘relocate A <business entity> to B <SqFt> space by C <date> to meet D <growth forecast> using E <desk sharing %>’ doesn’t tell you everything required to be included within the Design Management workstreams. For that you need to start asking questions about how people use the space, how they should use the space, how the business leaders want to lead business change in their staff. These kind of topics define a good amount of how the space will be designed.
This is where, if you are not careful, that you will end up unwittingly setting expectations and a brief that far outstrips the scope. This is avoidable.
- Know your audience. It is cynical though it is useful to assume they know little about project processes and will ask for the moon.
- Always go into a conversation knowing what you can/cannot offer.
- Promise nothing, consider most things.
Why not consider everything? Because this comes back to the scope. It’s easier in the long run to be very clear up front about what can/cannot be affected or influenced. This is why having a Framework of Influence (FoI) is critical for every piece of work that requires engagement – with clients, colleagues and suppliers.
An example below is taken from a previous project of mine. It was targeted at the Working Group which included selected end users, the architects and the change manager. The outcome was assessed and incorporated into the brief.
Objectives of the FoI
- Confirm what is not possible or not up for debate (Out of Influence). This is the ‘to be obeyed’ bit.
- Make clear where staff can debate and innovate, including simple target metrics (the human brain loves a puzzle).
- Provide a clear direction for their journey; if you reference other sources, ie: business case, make sure the relevant pages can be shared – and fast.
- Start behaviour awareness (liaise with the Change Manager to ensure you are on message, ideally they should be part of the Discovery process).
- Those you engage with many not schooled in processes or language of projects, programme or construction. Keep it simple, keep it honest. Be prepared to help their understanding.
- They also may be an old hand at this kind of thing and be more help co-leading the Working Group than being a delegate.
- Include another slide explaining a simple timeline of when any decisions and sign offs need to be completed, and by whom.
- A Framework of Influence can be applied to any situation where you want to seek engagement or put governance structures into place that you require to be applied to the outcome.