Part of my daily gratitude practice reminds me of the wonderful people in my life, who encourage and influence me to greater heights each year. One of the most extraordinarily positive and influential people is my friend Bob Burg.
Long before my book, The Book of Mistakes, was published this year, Bob not only read it and endorsed it, but was the very first to interview me about it for his popular Go-Giver podcast. After the recording of that podcast was turned off, Bob was still giving me praise for the book and a double-dose of encouragement. That’s the way he is.
In my life, he’s a person of genuine influence.
You may know him from one of his many books. If you’re super-fortunate, you may have seen him speak live. And, if you don’t know him, well, today is a great day for you!
In Bob Burg terms, what does it mean to be a person of genuine influence?
Skip, influence itself – on a very basic level – can be defined simply as the ability to move a person(s) to a desired action, usually within the context of a specific goal. That’s its definition but not its essence. The essence of influence is “pull.” This as opposed to “push” (i.e., how far can you push a rope?). People with genuine influence don’t have a lot of push with people but rather a lot of pull. That’s because influence is really an attraction.
Great influencers, genuine influencers, attract people first to themselves and only then to their ideas. And they do this through discovering what that other person wants, needs, desires, and values. And they ask themselves questions to ensure that that is their focus.
They don’t do this as a form of manipulation, in order to self-centeredly get people to do their will, but rather as a way to build and serve everyone in the process.
Genuine influence itself is really then the ability to attain the results you want when working with or dealing with others but in such a way that everyone comes away from the situation far better off than they were before—and just as importantly, that all parties feel good about the results, about each other, and about themselves.
“Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first.” -Bob Burg & John David Mann
The story is one that starts with adversarial negotiations between two characters. Was this negotiation based on a real one?
While not based on one specific event, it was indeed based on the many, many similar scenarios that occur every day. The interesting thing in this case is that both characters had exactly what the other wanted and needed. So, it should have been a marriage made in heaven, right? Yet, it was anything but that. Instead, each conversation resulted in their being even further apart. And…neither one understood what the other person was thinking, never mind what would most likely result in their being agreeable to a solution. This leads into your next question.
“Retrain yourself to respond to conflict and disagreement by unruffling your feelings. Make calm your default setting.” -Bob Burg & John David Mann
Many business leaders are beginning to worry about how few Millennials have the leadership and sales acumen to fuel their growth and transition into senior leadership roles.
Danita Bye passionately believes that Millennials could be the new “greatest generation.” She is a leadership expert on the Forbes Coaches Council and is the founder of Sales Growth Specialists. I recently spoke with her about her love of Millennials and how to equip the next generation.
The star performers responsible for the growth of our businesses will, in a few short years, primarily be Millennials. Mentoring young leaders needs to be a top priority of every company’s business growth strategy. We need to actively recruit and train them to replace the nearly 10,000 baby boomers retiring each day. Starting in the early 2020s, Millennials are going to drive our economy. Since that is the case, Millennial leaders will be key assets to accelerating business growth, tapping new markets and launching innovative products and services.
In our recent Millennials Matter Survey of over 270 business leaders, 60 percent voiced their concerns with Millennial leaders in three areas: character, confidence, and collaboration. Even experienced leaders are seeking proven strategies to deal with these and other mentoring and coaching challenges. Doing so will help them maximize their business opportunities while realizing their leadership legacy.
Why Millennials Get a Bad Rap
In my opinion, Millennials often get labeled unfairly. Why is that?
Millennials do indeed get a bad rap in the media where the focus is often on the group of Millennials who are entitled, narcissistic, and still living in their parent’s basement. However, that’s not my experience. I work with many emerging leaders who are highly talented people of rock-solid character and firmly grounded confidence. They exhibit the ability to connect and collaborate in a wide range of challenging communication scenarios with a broad range of people.
We also have to admit that Millennial leaders are different from previous generations. Based on current media, technology and culture, they view leadership from a unique angle. For example, 91% of Millennials see themselves as leaders. This is shocking to many who worked hard to climb the ladder and become “leaders.” Plus, they crave leaders who interact in a non-conventional way – they don’t want a boss. They want a mentor or a coach to help them grow in their leadership capacity and influence. Some leaders perceive this “different” as a negative, expressing concern. However, when we are able to look, stop complaining and start coaching, we can harness the incredible potential that Millennials bring to our businesses. It’s these fresh insights and perspectives that hold the seeds to dealing more effectively with the competitive pressures of today’s crazy sales and business environment.
“Millennial leaders don’t want a boss. They want a mentor or a coach to help them grow in their leadership capacity and influence.” -Danita Bye
Give us an update about your research and work since writing the last book, Break Your Own Rules. What have you been up to and learning?
We conducted original research to help us understand why women were so turned off by office politics and how we could help. We surveyed 134 senior executives in leading organizations, and the results revealed that women and men fundamentally disagree on the overall objective of politics. Women said they use the tools of politics to “manage relationships,” whereas men use them to “win.” Women were far more likely to mention “creating impact and ideas,” while men were more than twice as likely to describe “carving a one-time advantage.”
Women are judged more harshly than men when engaging in office politics, and our lack of access to sponsors puts us at a disadvantage.
Also, women and men have differing approaches to power and influence. It’s collaboration vs. competition.
Study: Women are judged more harshly than men when engaging in office politics.
An engaged culture promotes continuous learning so that employees are not only growing, they are staying ahead of change. Even better, they are bringing positive change into the organization.
An engaged CEO or business owner leads an engaged culture. If she or he is disengaged from the culture, the employee population will also be disengaged.
An engaged culture recognizes that everyone walks in the door with various sets of life skills. Therefore, the organization makes sure everyone has the necessary life skills to change and engage. These include sales, presentations skills, the ability to influence, and clarity in how to build a vitally effective support system.
Self-reflection is encouraged in a strongly engaged culture. At Cornerstone on Demand, executives routinely ask questions such as, “What’s your next move?” “Where are you going next?” After seven years employees are given a sabbatical for self-reflection. The point is, we cannot have engagement without a connection to one’s own truth. We have proven this thousands of times in our programs, which are question driven.
“More than 80% of America’s workers don’t like what they do for a living.” –David Harder
I’ve featured many people on this site talking about the problem of engagement. The stats are remarkable. We didn’t have sophisticated surveys years ago. Do you think this is a new phenomenon?
In the scheme of things, surveys are a bit old-school. The problem with surveys is they don’t produce change. Unless there is a solid commitment to produce an engaged culture, they often create more harm than good.
My point in The Workplace Engagement Solution: Find a Common Mission, Vision, and Purpose With All of Today’s Employees is that the majority of workers are checked-out, to various degrees. Getting them back requires a visionary commitment from the leadership but it also requires that we teach people how to change and engage. Notice that I rarely use one work without the other. Right now, according to a recent New York Times study, 48% of Americans view themselves as “underemployed.” This is also a staggering number and yet it is reflective of workers at odds with keeping up with change.
Gallup: Only 13% of the world’s workers are engaged.