How to double your influence

“You like being in charge,” my husband remarked with a wry grin. We were talking about the first aid course I attended over the weekend (get your head of the gutter!). In a number of scenarios I simply took control and dictated what should be done. I’ve been doing outdoor experiential programs for 30 years, and have completed many first aid programs. It irritated me to watch others bumble their way through the process. Taking charge was satisfying for me, and hopefully educational for them. Alas, the pitfalls of command and control leadership, especially in training, are clear. There is no room for others to learn by their mistakes in a safe environment. They would have to learn through their mistakes out in the field. Sigh. I’m still learning how to let go of control.
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How collective wisdom can leverage results

I’m just back from an extraordinary three days with my own mastermind, the Thought Leaders Business School. We meet quarterly to review and celebrate our achievements and craft our plan for the next quarter. I had the special privilege of being asked to share my story – my epic business struggles over the last thirteen years, culminating in my quantum success since February this year. I was definitely intimidated – this was a room full of 125 brilliant thought leaders – many with outstanding practices making massive contributions in Australia.

I told my story, with all its lumps and bumps including cancer, despair, and nearly giving up many times. Until I chose something different, found the right tribe – Thought Leaders Business School, and hit it out of the park these last three months. I booked more business in ninety days than I’ve earned in a whole previous year. This is quadrupling my best results so far.
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The real secret to Gravitas

Today I spoke for a group of inspiring leaders on the subject of what it takes to get heard, get respect, and get results. The leaders we admire have gravitas – defined officially as ‘seriousness or sobriety in word or deed’. From my perspective that all sounds a little too pompous! We can have gravitas without being grave.

Historically we have identified leaders with gravitas through their ability to conquer and defy others.

Think Might is Right. Think Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar. 2000 years later and both are deemed two of the most influential people to have lived. This legacy of ‘might is right’ has stayed with us: Napoleon, Stalin, Hitler, and even Kim Jong Un. Tony Abbott’s threat of ‘shirt-fronting Putin’ is a hangover of this concept of gravitas. And it falls short of creating a real contribution.

Once we move past the hairy-chested thumping and puffing, we move to a new meme of gravitas:

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How much real influence do you have?

In her book “The Charisma Myth – Master the Art of Personal Magnetism”, Olivia Fox Cabane contends that “charisma is a skill you can learn and practice.”

Certainly there are skills that can be developed that help us be more present, more focused, more considerate, more engaging. These make us more attractive to others.

Robert B. Cialdini says in his classic book, “Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion” says that these skills can turn influence to selfish ends. By using social norms and unconscious bias, we can make people buy things they don’t really want, vote for ‘popular’ candidates that don’t truly match our values, and even persuade otherwise good samaritans to perform heinous acts of torture.

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