The C-level leadership competency of collaboration and influence is about \nworking with peers, partners and others who are not in your line of command, to positively impact business performance. Collaboration and influence involve working indirectly, through persuasion, rather than by formal authority. RELATED LINKS\nHow to Influence People\n\nBe a Strategic CIO\n\n\nAt basic levels of performance, individuals are willing to collaborate if they \nare asked. At the medium levels of performance, one actively participates in teamwork and influences as a good team member. At high levels, one not only is a good team player but also enables others to be good team players, facilitating partnerships across organizations and geographies. \n\nHigh performers seek input and compromise when necessary to contribute to the whole team. Top performers actively look for opportunities to make joint decisions and achieve them. The collaboration and influence competency is in part about engaging others, but it is also about giving up sole ownership of an idea or decision.\n\nThis is a competency that good CIOs tend to develop because they often do not have significant direct control over where their company is headed. They need it more than CEOs, who can be more direct in their management style.\n\nAre you ready for collaboration and influence?\nThose who wish to improve their performance in this critically important \ncompetency first need to examine their organization's readiness for the CIO to play an expanded role through collaboration and influence, and then assess their personal readiness. Some questions to ask:\n\nAbout the Organization\n\nDoes the organization value or prefer a siloed structure? Can you cross organizational boundaries between functions, geographies or divisions?\nHow easy is it to influence the organization? The more complex or diverse it is, the harder the challenge.\nDo you know the players who are key to getting work done?\n\n\n\n\n\nAbout Yourself\n\nDo you understand the principles of effective influence and group \nalignment?\nDo you see your role as actively bringing people together, or as following the way things are done and executing on predefined plans?\nHow strong is your ability to perceive the feelings, beliefs and preferences of others? Can you see a situation from a perspective other than your own, no matter how much you may disagree with it?\nDo you get energized by seeing a group work together, or by bringing people together across organizational boundaries or through breaking of old habits?\n\nBased on how receptive your enterprise is, and how adept you are, you can decide how to implement collaborative and influencing behaviors. Like all habits, first you need to identify the problem, then model the changed behavior (leaving yourself room to make mistakes) and persevere until you succeed.\n\nReynold Lewke is North American CIO practice leader with Egon Zehnder International. Steve Kelner is global knowledge leader of Egon Zehnder's Talent Management and Management Appraisal Practice Group.