Tag Archives: influence

Let Your Superstar Emerge

19 Jul

Our professional growth is like a blob of clay that forms over the course of our life.  Like all masterpieces, the clay takes on different forms.  The difference, of course, is that the sculptor may be many people and, ultimately, we are the sculptor who determines what the final product looks like.  Where are you in the development of your masterpiece?   Is a superstar close to emerging or is your clay not much different than when it was first forming?

I’ve dedicated my life to being a learning professional and along the way I’ve acquired the passion for being a professional learner.  Each day offers a different twist on what I’ve learned or how I choose to apply it.  I’d like to think that my clay has the basics and now the refining and minute details are creating a shape that’s moving toward that masterpiece, at least for me.

How do we mold our clay to create a masterpiece that makes a difference and leaves a legacy?  There are a number of tools and situations that help us along the way:

  • Identifying the values that drive us and influence us.  Early in my career I took a values assessment and a key value in my life (then and now) was freedom.  I have refined this piece of clay in how I’ve approached work, knowing the type of organization and leaders I need to work for/with and what I need in order to grow.  When there has been opportunity to have freedom in my work, I have made the largest gains in my development and for the organization’s success.  Knowing what is fundamental to us is an essential first step.
  • Creating a circle of influence.   When you know the values that are important to you, you attract people who help expand your boundaries.  Think about the discussions you’ve had that challenged pre-conceived ideas – this is helping you refine who you are.  Surrounding ourselves with people and opportunities that help us grow compounds our success.
  • Taking action.  It’s great to have self-awareness and an inspiring group of people to mentor and guide us and it’s quite another thing to do something that helps us to be better people.  Learning and applying what we learn go hand-in-hand.  Unless we “just do it” as Nike implores us, our potential is just that, potential.  It doesn’t have to be grand action – that’s what stops a lot of people from starting – it just has to be action.  Make a plan and then commit to doing one thing to advance on the plan.  Then do the next thing.  Then the next…
  • Getting feedback.  The world gives us checks and balances and feedback is one of the checks.  Ask others for feedback on what’s going well and then ask for feedback on what you could do differently.  Keep doing what’s working and make adjustments as needed.  Involve your circle of influence – they want what’s best for you.  Be generous in how you return feedback and receptive in how you accept it.

Where are you in your emerging masterpiece?  Your superstar is there and with a little refinement, you’re on your way.  What’s one action you can take right now that will refine your masterpiece?

#performance #learning  #growth

Influence and Personal Branding

17 May

What are you doing to be memorable?  If you’re not that memorable, what does that say about your brand?  Your brand is your calling card to success and it affects your ability to influence others.  Are you doing what you want to do as a leader?  Let’s look at simple steps to create a personal brand that gets results.

Successfully working with others requires you to connect quickly.  Your presence (how you come across) and what you say helps you sell an idea, get agreement to move forward on a project, build team support, or change directions on an initiative.  Having a branding strategy is key to successful influencing.  Let’s look at four key components to put your strategy together:

1.       Make a great first impression. 

  • Your presence includes how you put yourself together, the degree of confidence that comes through, and what you say.  I’m not saying you have to wear designer duds and spend a fortune on your appearance, I am saying you need to come across polished and put together.
  • A person who stands tall, has a solid handshake and looks people in the eyes is a confident person.  Confidence equals credibility.  When I say confidence, I don’t mean cockiness – know the difference.
  • Communicate what you do and what you have to offer that matters to the other person.  Your brand is how you help others.  Make sure you have a clear statement that lets people know what you are about.  When people know this, you are able to build your influence.

2.       Be a partner.

  • Know what’s important to others and look for ways that you can help them.  Inform yourself on their hot buttons and make connections for them.
  • Put yourself in their shoes to figure out where they need help.

3.       Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.

  • Learn how people want you to communicate with them.  Do they like to get down to business and take care of things quickly or do they want to spend time getting to know you and build a partnership?  Do they want to brainstorm ideas and think of creative approaches to problems or do they need to have all the details to make sure they have all bases covered? You don’t have to be all things to everyone.  Make it easy on yourself and communicate how people want you to communicate.
  • Giving and receiving feedback is a huge part of communication.  Be open and receptive to what people say and leave the defensiveness behind.  When you give feedback, connect what they’ve done with an impact and suggestions from both of you.

4.       Look to the future.

  • Anticipate changes and what that means to your relationship.  Be prepared so you can offer insights and suggestions.
  • Identify ways to enhance your partnership.  When you give more than you receive, your relationships grow.

Practicing these four steps will create and sustain a personal brand that others will respect.  Confidence, partnership, communication, and anticipation are foundations to a memorable brand.  Look at what your brand is saying and how you can enhance your ability to influence with a simple branding strategy.

Influence and Leadership

2 May

As I start each day, I throw on the workout clothes, set my iPod to different podcasts, and grab my water.  I set my course on the elliptical  to train my body and select a business guru to train my brain.  The past week had a number of lessons on the concept of influence that really resonated with me.  I’d like to share a few with you.

I listened to John Maxwell define leadership and challenge how we define leaders.  Typically, the position one has says, “I’m a leader” with a title that indicates a person has responsibilities over others.  A title doesn’t make a leader.  Have you worked for a leader that you did what was asked out of compliance?  Over time, what happened?  I’ve had that experience and found myself looking for another job.  When a leader uses position power to get things done, the minimum acceptable standard of performance is done.  When a leader uses influence, there is a connection to individual motivation.  When that happens, compliance turns into commitment.

Influencing isn’t about leveraging authority, its about tapping in on other levels.  Its about:

  • Knowing what’s important to your direct reports and connecting their motivators to action
  • Aligning organization and team goals with needed skills and a commitment to excellence
  • Facilitating movement through barriers
  • Meeting people where they are and taking them to where they want to be

There are opportunities every day to influence others.  Take a moment to identify what’s important to those you need to influence.  Look at how you can connect to their motivators and watch what will happen.  People support what they help create.  Using your influence to gain support and tap into creative solutions will help you quickly advance toward your goals.

Let me know how things go.  I’d love to share your success story.