Build Influence


You don’t have much influence at work.  You’ve worked at the same company for a long time, have experience with all the in’s and out’s, know how to get around the usual hurdles, and you do good work, but no one is really coming to you for advice.  Your boss has no idea how valuable you are.


Build your influence.  How?

Let’s take a look at what influence is in terms of an equation.

Influence = (number of people changed by your message) x (the number of messages)(raised to the power of your message)

Let’s look at each component:

(the number of people changed by your message) – You could have said, (the number of people who hear your message) but that’s not real influence, that’s just noise.  You could get a lot of people to hear your message by using a loudspeaker or putting up flyers, but it’s only when they are impacted by it in some way that it makes a difference.  Of course, having your message reach more people may give you a higher probability of increasing this value, but I don’t recommend focusing on that angle.

(the number of messages) – Your influence will increase when you have more messages.  A ‘message’ could also be interpreted as an interaction.  So whether it’s a one on one connection, or a one to many message, those are all messages you are providing to others.  If you don’t talk to anyone or write anything and live in a cave, you won’t have much influence. (Although that may have not been true with Nelson Mandela, but he’s a unique case.)

(the power of your message) – This is the real kicker.  They don’t call it a ‘power’ for nothing.  If you just had one message (okay, at least two, because the math doesn’t work with the number one)  but it was a really powerful message, you could have a lot more influence than if you had a lot of messages that were weak or meaningless.  Think about a lot of blogs or tweets that are just drivel, they aren’t building influence.  Seth Godin, on the other hand, writes a short powerful blog post every day.  Over time, he has built tremendous influence.

I may not have the equation exactly right, but it’s close to something like that.  Maybe you have some better ideas, and can help me get it right.  What do you think the equation is for ‘Influence‘?

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