Creative Leadership

How To Increase Your Influence

Influence isn’t about ego or celebrity. Too often we dismiss the idea, assuming only raging ego-maniacs are interested in influence. But the truth is, if you want to share your message, get your creativity known, or impact the world, you need to have influence. It’s the key to getting your work, vision, and ideas into the marketplace. So the question becomes, how do you increase your influence? Here’s some ideas that will make a dramatic difference:

1) Start with where you are.  Decide who you need to influence. Who are the key people you need to win over to get to the next level? Who can help you get a promotion? Sell your ideas? Pitch your project? The issue is focus. Stop being average at a lot of things and start being extraordinary at one big thing. Whatever that one big thing is, will begin to reveal who you need to influence to make it happen.

2) Know your strengths.  What are you really good at doing? What’s your expertise? Nail it down. Without credibility, you’ll have little influence. Expertise is a powerful tool for influence, so don’t confuse it with passion. The question becomes: What are you potentially the best in the world at doing?  Figure it out.

3) Maximize your relationships.  In my experience, you’re probably closer to people of influence than you think. Network. Make friends. Reach out. You have value and worth. Think seriously about your relationships and personal networks – including your connections on social media. Influencers know who to call when they need to leverage an important idea. Who’s on your list?

4) Don’t give up too soon.  I’ve met people in Hollywood who have spent decades pitching ideas and developing projects. Most people give up after a few rejections, but influencers know that rejections are just tools for helping them perfect their ideas. In my career, I’ve discovered that most people fail – not because they don’t work hard, don’t show up, or aren’t qualified. Today, most people fail simply because they get distracted.  Learn to focus on your dream, and not give up too easily.

5) Finally – Think “content.”  The ultimate truth is – people are interested in the quality of what you create or produce. Brilliant creativity and execution isn’t a guarantee of success, but it’s the biggest step you can take. Study. Learn. Arguably the greatest artist of all time, Michelangelo said, “I’m still learning.”  When was the last time you took a class? Do you work on your gift everyday? Are you reading? Can you compete?

Influence matters. Stop assuming it happens randomly and start developing a strategy for success.

What has been your experience?  Any other suggestions for increasing your influence?

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  1. I love your line, Phil: “Brilliant creativity and execution isn’t a guarantee of success, but it’s the biggest step you can take.” I really enjoyed your creativity and execution in the article in the March “War Cry” magazine.

    One thing I think that greatly helps to increase our influence is to post creative content on blogs and social media and tie it into trending ideas. For example, this morning I played off of the “What color is the dress?” trend by posting a cool pic of a Salvation Army Flag reflecting lots of light and then writing a blog entitled: “What Color Is The Dress (Oops I Mean Flag)? Here’s a link to the post:

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