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Influence: a driving force in leadership

Published on
21 June 2019

Grenoble Ecole de Management and the Institut de Leadership in Montreal, Quebec joined forces to launch a new leadership training program for managers and directors. The first of its kind in France, this program focuses on the international stakes of management and, in particular, in the importance of influence for effective leadership.

How to convert or co-opt the opposition in order to build strong coalitions around a shared project? How can you develop alliances within and around organizations to create allies out of adversaries? How can you ensure a maximum impact in terms of your influence on individuals? The Certificate In Executive Leadership offers tools for analysis, methodology ,and practical and empirical approaches built on solid theoretical foundations.

A leading institute in Quebec

Five years ago, the Institut de Leadership created a widely recognized program on leadership in Canada. The Institute has approximately 1,100 alumni in Quebec, including managers and international directors. “The Certificate in Executive Leadership is geared towards practical application and sharing experiences. Each module includes the participation of a dozen teachers with diverse profiles. In addition, exceptional experts on the subject of influence also partake in sharing content (e.g., Pierre Marc Johnson, ex-prime minister of Quebec),” explains Sébastion Leblanc, co-founder of the Institut de Leadership.

The Certificate in Executive Leadership is geared towards practical application and sharing experiences. 

Six strategic modules, six days of training

To be launched in Paris in November 2019, the certificate will cover six modules in six days: strategic management, creative leadership, communication skills, mobilizing teams, coaching and managing talent, and political meaning and influence. This practical approach enables participants to immediately implement concepts developed by key trainers.

Pierre Lainey is one of the program’s principal trainers, a specialist of leadership influence and a professor at HEC Montreal for the past 17 years. He began working with the Institut de Leadership right after its creation in 2013. “The added value of the Institut de Leadership is the fact that participants can directly apply concepts in a professional environment. The program always includes time dedicated to analyzing and exchanging about concrete cases. Participants have strong, valuable interactions with a visible impact. Each participant shares his or her experiences, compares environments and measures the impact of leadership in a specific organization.”

An intercultural program

Another key aspect of the certificate is the fact that participants can take advantage of the expertise shared by both Canadian and French trainers. This enables them to understand management in French and North American markets. French experts that contribute to the program include: Anne-Marie Couderc, Nicolas de Tavernost, Bernard Giudicelli, Maurice Lévy, Nicole Notat, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, Marie-Christine Saragosse, Jean-Dominique Senard, and Najat Vallaud-Belkacem.

“At the Institute, management education is based on solid academic and theoretical foundations that are confirmed through empirical research,” explains Pierre Lainey “Yet leadership is also extremely dependent upon culture. Culture plays an important role in creating influence. As a result, as of November 2019, the program’s content will be adapted to match the specifics of the French market.”


Interview with Pierre Marc Johnson, ex-prime minister of Quebec, a doctor and currently a lawyer/consultant for Lavery Avocats in Montreal. He notably participated in the inter-ministry negotiations for the CETA framework between Canada and the EU and the TAFT agreement between the US and the EU.

What is your vision of leadership influence?

Leadership influence is the ability to mobilize without constraints to achieve a shared goal. This means mobilizing talent as well as individual behaviors and attitudes, even within a hierarchical organization. A lack of constraints is a fundamental concept for leadership influence. Leaders don’t lead by imposing constraints. The goal must be a shared one if success is to be achieved. A successful shared goal is a good measure of the success of leadership.

How does a leader’s influence impact an organization?

Influence is different from lobbying. Influence is about mobilizing individuals to engage different hierarchical levels, resources and people as well as ensure the acceptability and funding of the project. Influence is related to the efficiency of organizations.

What are the profiles and added value offered by the trainers at the Institut de Leadership?

The external trainers include a dozen people who’ve held leadership positions such as ex-CEOs of major international groups, politicians, and successful authors who influence society. Our ambition is to share a concept of leadership that is defined by our concrete experiences.

What advice do you share as ex-prime minister of Quebec?

I like to share concrete examples of decisions I had to make that required the mobilization of various individuals inside the council of ministers, people with very different profiles and perspectives. I underline the importance of properly considering the power of participating members. Everyone may have the same power but not express it the same way. Lots of behavior is guided by non-written rules or codes. Respect between individuals is a fundamental code no matter the level of hierarchy. You also have to be aware of an individual’s capacity to oppose an action.

You share ideas and examples that help think about attitudes and behavior that can promote consensus within an organization…

Yes I offer management tools that translate to implementing a participative process with consensus around a shared strategic plan to achieve a goal. I also share psychological tools and values. When mobilizing individuals, they have to recognize themselves in the person leading the movement. This means being transparent. It’s a fundamental quality. A leader will say: “Let’s go!” And identify problems, find solutions to be shared by everyone in a manner that respects the individual, his or her values and expectations all the while integrating the need for coherence and discipline.

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