Sell your Horse


Developing your Influence Skills

for Project Success



By Alfonso Bucero, MSc, PMP, PMI-RMP, PMI Fellow

Managing Partner, BUCERO PM Consulting,

Madrid, Spain


If you want to be successful as a project manager, or to make a positive impact on your projects, you need to become a person of influence. Your success will depend on your ability to influence your project stakeholders positively. This paper will help you to discover your influence skills. Why to write about influence? Over the years I managed different projects and without being conscious of I influenced many people indirectly through my behaviors, actions and decisions. Persuading people to satisfy my requirements as a project manager was a difficult task for me when I started as a project management practitioner.

Some years later I understood that everyone is an influencer of other people. It does not matter who you are or what your occupation is. You don’t have to be in a high-profile occupation to be a person of influence. In fact, if your life in any way connects with other people, you are an influencer. Everything you do in your job, at home, with your colleagues and friends has an impact on the lives of other people.


Then you, as a project manager influence all your project stakeholders. In fact if you want to be successful as a project manager or to make a positive impact on your projects, you need to become a person of influence.   Without influence, there is no success. For example, if you are a project manager you need to be able to influence your project stakeholders. Your success will depend on your ability to influence your team members positively. No matter what your professional or personal goals are in life or what you want to accomplish, you can achieve them faster, you can be more effective, and the contribution you make can be longer lasting if you learn how to become a person of influence.

Most of you know that the project manager needs to influence without authority in order to achieve the project success. However, influence is invisible because it is about how people think. We cannot see the people’s thoughts. Thoughts drive behavior which drives actions and results. We can look at the results that influential project managers achieve but still have no idea about what makes them influential. Just as we cannot understand a person by looking at his shadow, we cannot understand influence by looking at its effect. We have to look for the causes of influence, not at its symptoms.

In my opinion thinking like an influencer is the first and most important step to becoming an influencer project manager. We do not need to sell our soul or clone our brain to become influential. We do not need to become someone else. We simply need to build on the best of who we already are.

Your influence is not the same with all people

I have observed that influence is very curious. Even though an impact in almost everyone around us, our level of influence is not the same with everyone. For example, when you have a team meeting with your team members and you present an idea to them or make a suggestion, do they all respond in the same way? Of course not. One person may think all your ideas are inspired. Another may view everything you say with skepticism. You can identify which one you have to influence with. On the other hand, that idea presented by an executive to the same person may be accepted better.

If you pay attention to people’s responses to yourself and others, you’ll see that people respond to one another according to their level of influence. I consider leadership like a specific application of influence. Influence does not come to us instantaneously, it grows by stages.


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Editor’s note: Second Editions are previously published papers that have continued relevance in today’s project management world, or which were originally published in conference proceedings or in a language other than English.  Original publication acknowledged; authors retain copyright.  This paper was originally published in the 2013 PMI Global Congress Proceedings, Istanbul, Turkey  It is republished here with the author’s permission.

How to cite this paper: Bucero, A. (2023, 2013). Sell your Horse: Developing your Influence Skills for Project Success; Originally published in 2013 PMI Global Congress Proceedings, Istanbul, Turkey; republished in the PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue VI, June 2023. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/pmwj130-Jun2023-Bucero-sell-your-horse-developing-your-influence-skills.pdf

About the Author

Alfonso Bucero

Madrid, Spain


Alfonso Bucero, MSc, CPS, ACE, PMP, PMI-RMP, PfMP, SFC, IPMO-E, PMI Fellow, is an International Correspondent and Contributing Editor for the PM World Journal in Madrid, Spain. Mr. Bucero is also the founder and Managing Partner of BUCERO PM Consulting. Alfonso was the founder, sponsor, and President of the PMI Barcelona Chapter until April 2005 and belonged to PMI’s LIAG (Leadership Institute Advisory Group). He was the past President of the PMI Madrid Spain Chapter and then nominated as a PMI EMEA Region 8 Component Mentor. Alfonso was a member of the PMIEF Engagement Committee. Alfonso has a Computer Science Engineering degree from Universidad Politécnica in Madrid and is studying for his Ph.D. in Project Management. He has 32 years of practical experience and is actively advancing the PM profession in Spain and Europe. Alfonso received the PMI Distinguished Contribution Award on October 9, 2010, the PMI Fellow Award on October 22, 2011, and the PMI Eric Jenett Excellence Award on October 28, 2017. Mr. Bucero can be contacted at alfonso.bucero@abucero.com.