Over the last ten years, I have helped thousands to become more influential. In the process of doing this, I have evolved a number of principles which need to be understood by people who want to be powerful and stay powerful. The simplicity of these principles should not distract you from their potential to help you learn how to be powerful.
The need to influence is a fundamental human trait. From our first minutes of life, we began to learn how to influence. Initially for nourishment to survive, then, as life goes on and we mature, so too does our need to influence. In our adult life, we need to influence others to accept our ideas, buy-in to our proposals and be loyal to us.
Influence is an outcome. Someone doing/thinking/feeling something they might not otherwise have done, had it not been for us. The key point is that we were the cause of the change.
Without influence, people struggle. If you are unable to influence others to a reasonable degree, you are not going to be able to move forward. Sure, you will probably be able to influence sufficiently to get food on the table and a safe place to live, but beyond that, you’ll be struggling.
Influence can be achieved in many different ways. Principally, either by us doing something or because of what others think we might do. So, you can talk to someone and try to persuade them to give you an opportunity. Alternatively, they may figure out that you might be able to help them solve their problems and so invite you into the opportunity.
Power is the capacity to influence without doing anything. It can seldom work without at least some action, but the main point is that power creates many shortcuts to achieving the influence you want.
The value of power can fall as well as rise. It depends on the laws of supply and demand. Power is in a constant state of flux.
It is the perceptions of others that give power value. It is not so much what power you have, but the power people think you have that really makes the difference.
If I were to add an eighth principle, it would be that this stuff is not difficult. It is actually very simple once you know how it all works. Life is complicated enough as it is, and there are plenty of people out there who would have you believe that the expertise they offer is more than it is. I am not one of those, and I want to make this as simple as it is so you can focus less on understanding and more on doing.
- The Components of Power
- The Personal Power Diagnostic
- Using Social Capital to Build Political Muscle
- Seven Ways to Become More Powerful
- Power Vacuums and Unstable Systems
- Organisational Power in a Nutshell