Daniel Priestley on the qualities that make a leader influential
Every industry has key people of influence, the ones who come up in conversation, attract the right opportunities and thrive in their careers. You may think it takes years, or even decades, to become a key person of influence in your sector, however it’s not just time and experience that makes a person influential
There are five key strengths that influential people posses that make them stand out:
1. The power of a great pitch
It all starts with powerful speech. A great leader can enroll others in their vision. When they speak, it stirs up excitement, clarity and a desire to act. Martin Luther King Jr, exactly 50 years ago, stood before a momentous crowd and shared his dream with such power that it sparked a revolution. Steve Jobs was known for his ability to cast a “reality distortion field” when he was pitching an idea; people who knew him claimed they were enchanted into believing anything was possible while he was speaking.
What to do: Practice your pitching skills everyday and say yes next time you’re asked to present publically.
2. The power to publish ideas in print
Great leaders aren’t all talk, they can write as well. Often influencers are known by their books, articles, reports or letters. In a world where Google can find anything posted online, great leaders must be able to communicate in text. In the early days of Microsoft, Bill Gates famously wrote a set of articles about the creation of a software industry; it was these articles that attracted some of the first few of his highly-talented team. Richard Branson is a prolific writer who, despite being dyslexic and awfully busy, sees the value in releasing a new book almost every other year.
What to do: Write more blogs, articles, letters and even consider writing a book.
3. The power to chose the right products
It’s rarely talked about in the context of influence but the products you develop or align with play a massive role in your ability to be an influencer. A hot product gives a halo effect to the people who are aligned to it. Likewise, a poor performing product erodes your influence rapidly. James Dyson is rarely seen or heard but he’s an iconic figure because he got his product right. Roger Federer is the most bankable sporting personality partly because he only aligns with very bankable brands; you won’t see “The Fed” on a billboard with a second rate product.
What to do: Develop a new product or service that’s better, faster, cheaper, greener or with more emotional benefits than anything else in your industry.
4. The power to raise profile for yourself and your ideas
Being visible changes the game for the better and gives you more influence. When a person has a low profile they must chase for everything, nothing comes their way. As soon as a person has a profile, they seem to attract more than enough of what they need. Rather than running around trying to make things happen, a person with visibility can simply curate the opportunities coming their way. Deborah Meaden from Dragons’ Den has to fend off opportunities everywhere she goes since appearing on the show. Each week, she’s asked to speak, to invest and is even offered shares in businesses just to be on the board.
What to do: Make sure you pass the Google test when you search your name and cultivate more media exposure.
5. The power to build partnerships
This doesn’t refer to the legal definition of partnerships, it’s about building a culture of partnership thinking. Partnerships are all about forming strategic alliances that pass benefits on to all involved. Influencers know how to get thousands of people aligned to a win-win deal. Jeff Bozos found a way to partner with millions of authors and affiliates when it was everyman for himself. Steve Jobs created partnership platforms for software developers, musicians and filmmakers in a time where the industry was falling apart. Richard Branson’s 150+ companies are mostly partnerships with companies who operate the business under the Virgin Brand.
What to do: Go and talk to potential strategic alliance partners and find out what a win would look like for them. If there’s a fit, explore it and replicate it.
Influence is an asset. In many ways it’s as good as currency, those who have it can achieve results at a fraction of the cost and in a fraction of time than their less influential counterparts. It’s worth your time and energy to enhance your influence and that of your key team. It will pay big dividends.
Daniel Priestley is the best-selling author of two books – “Key Person of Influence” and “Entrepreneur Revolution”. He’s an entrepreneur with businesses in the UK, Australia and the USA. For more information visit www.keypersonofinfluence.com
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