Saturday, April 26, 2014

Influence (8 of 10)

<< Back to day 7

And here's day 8 of 10 in my quick look through "Becoming a Person of Influence: How to Positively Impact the Lives of Others" by John C. Maxwell and Jim Dornan.

Chapter 8: A Person of Influence Connects with People

To make connection happen, you need communication skills, a desire to help people grow and change, and very important -- a personal mission. You need to know where you're going before you can take others along. Working through these series of steps will greatly enhance your ability to do that. Skip these steps and you're pulling people along. I'm struck with two analogies - first, of a locomotive and train cars - make sure they've hitched on before you start up. The other is of the dramatic difference of trying to take two different kinds of pets on a walk. Your dog loves you and can't get enough of you, brings you the leash and may even run off ahead of you if they're confident of the trail, bounding with excitement. Your cat, on the other hand, has nothing but disdain and contempt and as you walk, you're straining on the leash while they passively resist (laying down) or actively (nails out embedded into the carpet.) While you'll never change your pet's predisposition to walks, there's a lot you can and should do if you want to engage, lead or influence someone.

The book lays out nine steps which I've mentioned in brief:

1. Don't Take People for Granted

Focus too much on the vision and not enough on the people and they'll know it. Focus on the people and they'll want to be involved.

2. Possess a "Make-a-Difference" Mind-Set

Believe that you make a difference, believe that they make a difference, believe that together you make a far greater difference than you would alone.

3. Initiate Movement Towards Them

Leaders too often think that their subordinates should reach out to them to make contact when it should be the other way around. This is probably just good advice in general. Don't wait for people to come to you. Go to them. That's when you'll get a better picture, versus when they come to you - then something's already wrong or they need you to help them solve something specific.

4. Look for Common Ground

Get good at this and you can talk to anyone. If might be actual things, but it might also be experiences (even one where you've been there before where they are now). It can't just be all business all the time, people have more dimensions than that. This helps people lower their guard when the leader is coming to them.

5. Recognize and Respect Differences in Personality

A no-brainer, different people engage in different ways and have different needs. The more you understand the different ways and are able to understand them, the better you were do at engaging with everyone.

6. Find the Key to Others' Lives

This is a complicated one involving really getting to know someone. Suggesting looking at where they've been (mind) and where they want to go (heart) and when they've engaged (given permission), use that to help them (not you).

7. Communicate from the Heart

You can't rely on knowledge or quick wit - you've got to feel it, believe it, want it. That's your "where you want to go" - only once you firmly have that, then you can communicate it sincerely and honestly. Then, someone who is engaged with you can understand your passion and if they believe you have their best interests in mind, join you on the journey.

8. Share Common Experiences

If number 4 above is about finding common ground, this one is about *creating* common ground - whether that's sharing a meal or working on a project togther (as long as you're in it together, not where they have something you want).

9. Once Connected, Move Forward

Don't try to lead until people are ready to follow. Trying to drag people will lead to resistance and resentment. But once they have confidence in who you are and what you stand for, then they'll be ready to invest in you and where you want to go.


  1. Measure Your Current Connection
  2. Connect at a Deeper Level
  3. Communicate Your Vision
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