Building Influence a Decision at a Time

I’ve written on the subject of influence before and the fact that scoring is a weak assessment of the area. True influence is really much more complex, and yet simple. That’s why I was glad to come across a post by Amber Naslund titled “Your Influence: Infrastructure, Not Façade” on her blog Brass Tack Thinking.

Here’s a summary of the post:

  • We want people to see our strength, our success, our accomplishments. We call it “social proof” sometimes, but it’s really a matter of making sure that we demonstrate to people that we’re capable and experienced. It’s how we show people that we’re qualified to do what we do.
  • True accomplishment and even influence is about infrastructure, not facade. True social proof is something inferred, not something self-anointed.
  • We gravitate toward people and organizations that exhibit a certain inner strength, a quiet confidence about who they are, and a relentless dedication to that genetic makeup.
  • Presence and influence are as much about showing what you stand for through your work, and visibly dedicating your energy and effort to the things that matter to you rather than crowing about recognition or praise that means little to anyone but you (and maybe your mom).
  • We are chasing “influence” today like we’ve never chased it before, but when we assert our influence based on external, explicit factors, we dismiss the importance of things like character, integrity, and a track record of treating people well.
  • When we finally figure out that lasting presence and meaningful influence is a slow, steady burn – one that takes extraordinary amounts of work and time – built on a solid foundation of contribution instead of a flashy, raging inferno laden with coupons for free deodorant, maybe, just maybe, we’ll be getting somewhere.

External “snapshots” of influence like scores, numbers of followers, retweets and interactions don’t hold up under close examination. The fact of the matter is, whether it’s business or personal, those that disappoint ultimately lose influence. If integrity, authenticity, honesty or any other value deemed important are found lacking in a specific point of contact, loss of influence follows even though scores, followers and interactions may remain unchanged.

Influence should be thought about not on the macro, but on the micro level. It’s a long-term strategy that takes it account one decision at a time. If we choose to exceed (or at least meet) expectations and display value in our interactions with others, we earn influence. As a consumer, I’m really not all that concerned with scores and follower counts if my user experience was less than helpful or problematic.

We must make decisions in the moment that build influence and that will positively impact those in our circles, whether customers, colleagues or connections. These decisions don’t always represent the easy road, but they lead to the strongest levels of influence.

Let me know what you think about this matter of influence.

Author: Steve Sonn

Steve Sonn is the Principal of S2 Marketing Communications. He has more than 25 years of marketing and PR experience with health care and business-to-business companies.

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