Period. Full stop.
In the 21st century business world, (where information is more available, attention spans have plummeted, organizations are leaner, and everyone is less loyal and more opinionated than ever), building consensus is hard. People are better informed (or at least think they are). People are less likely to blindly follow leadership and are more vocal about their opinion. People feel empowered. People feel smarter. And no one listens all that much.
In this environment, persuasion is a challenge. It is hard to change minds. It takes work to build alignment and consensus.
But yet, if you have this skill… if you can change minds… if you can build consensus… if you can influence behaviors and decisions… if you can do these things, you own the keys to the castle in the 21st century. Because the people who can do these things will be better equipped to lead, sell, secure resources for their project, gain support for their strategy or idea, better protect their team and be in complete demand by the people around them. People will want to work with you. People will want to be on your team. People will remember your name.
If you pick one skill to focus on this year, pick the one that will make everything else in your business life easier. Focus on the ability to persuade and build consensus. You’ll never regret the effort.