taking influence to the market-place
By pa360, Jan 9 2015 07:22AM
I was having lunch with a good friend of mine the other day and over our respective dishes of rice and noodles, we began to talk about influence. Influence occupies a completely different power dimension to that of authority. Whilst authority derives its power from the hierarchy, influence derives its power from the network. Whilst authority demands compliance, influence seeks co-operation. Whilst authority directs, influence persuades. Whilst authority can only hold you and never keep you, influence does not need to hold you, because it can keep you.
If you want to test a person's standing, testing their influence is a good way to do it.
I think it is important at this point, to draw a very clear distinction between positive and negative influence. Positive influence is a power derived from trust, confidence and good-will. Its outcomes are evident in the improvements and benefits brought about in one's own life and in the lives of others. By contrast, negative influence, or coercion, is a power derived from fear and intimidation. Its outcomes are evident in the harm and damage it causes to one's own life and the lives of others.
There is also a strong relationship between branding and influence. Brand loyalty is a really good example of how the trust and confidence we have in a product or individual, can affect our own behaviour. The influence exerted by brand loyalty can be both passive and active. A good example of passive influence is the customary overnight queue, that forms outside Apple stores, every time a new product is launched. There are absolutely no logical reasons why consumers should behave in this way to procure their product - but they do so anyway. This is one of those instances when passive influence so impacts upon behaviour, that it creates a cultural norm. In other words, you do it because it is the thing to do.
I have previously described branding as currency. Specifically I stated that the stronger your brand the greater the value of your currency and the more you are able to purchase in the market place of opportunity. Well, if your brand is your currency then influence is your credit card. Influence draws on reservoirs of trust (credit) from those who know us, as well as those who do not.
Former US Ambassador and Mayor of Atlanta, Andrew Young described influence like this: "Influence is like a savings account. The less you use it, the more you've got".
Use it wisely.