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The BigBlueGumball PowerDial: The Power to Change...to Get the Power You Need

One of the main reasons we hesitate, procrastinate, or fail to take action is often due to the fact that we feel like we lack the power to act.

When we’re out of work or stuck in a dead-end job, or struggling to get others to buy in to our ideas, or even to just return our phone calls or emails, it sometimes seems as if we have no leverage at all.

But guess what: You have a lot more power than you think!

Getting anything done in the business world — whether convincing someone to hire you, to fund your project, or to buy in to your proposal — requires the ability to influence others.

As Gregory Berns, the author of Iconoclast: A Neuroscientist Reveals How To Think Differently, says: “A person can have the greatest idea in the world...but if that person can’t convince enough other people, it doesn’t matter.’’

And to convince other people of something –- to influence them –- requires confidence and power. 

But what is “power” anyway? One definition I really like is “the ability or potential to allocate resources; make and enforce decisions; and/or to impact and influence others.”

If you think about electricity, for example, the wall socket represents only “potential” power. It is only after plugging something in that we see that potential come to life and produce results. 

So the big question is: How can we turn our potential power into performance to maximize our productivity?


To see how, let’s take a deep dive into The BigBlueGumball PowerDial model:

As you can see, our power comes from three different sources: PERSONAL power (the orange zone); RELATIONAL power (the blue zone); and POSITIONAL power (the green zone).

So right off the bat, the point to be made is that we’re not really dealing with an “either-or” situation. It’s not a question of having power or not, but a matter of how we might reap the power potential from each of these three distinct sources:

[1] Your PERSONAL power refers to WHO YOU ARE, WHAT YOU KNOW, and WHAT YOU CAN DO.

[2] Your RELATIONAL power relates not to what you know, but WHO YOU KNOW and, in some ways the even more important question of WHO KNOWS YOU.

[3] And the third area, POSITIONAL power, is about just that — your role or status or position. It relates to what you DO and what you HAVE — or what you have control over.

So although people tend to lump “power” into one category as if it’s something we either have or we don’t, you can see that power comes from a variety of sources, each of which we can leverage, develop, and grow.

The next important thing to notice is that PERSONAL power is internal — it comes solely from within you. The other two, RELATIONAL and POSITIONAL power, are external. They are related to, or dependent upon, other people or other factors outside of ourselves.

So let’s take this model to the next level and see how we can actually use it as a powerful career tool:

By looking in more detail at where these three kinds of power come from, we can better determine the specific skills and characteristics that we can (a) leverage, and (b) develop.

[1] PERSONAL power comes from three areas: the Intellectual/Physical (your knowledge, skills, talents, and strengths), the Emotional (self-awareness, emotional intelligence, confidence), and the Interpersonal (your personality and people skills).

[2] RELATIONAL power comes from your Networks, Affiliations, and Coalitions (i.e., who you are connected to, have access to, can partner with, etc.).

[3] POSITIONAL power comes from your Role (title, rank, seniority), Authority (empowerment), and Control (of resources, etc.).

To gauge where you currently have the most power (and the least), and to measure your progress as you set out to develop your strengths, you might want to make a list of those traits and/or score yourself in each category on a scale of 1-10 and track your progress to see if you can crank it up to “11”!

So right now, thinking about your PERSONAL, RELATIONAL, and POSITIONAL power zones – and reflecting on your core strengths and key areas of development -– ask yourself what is ONE action you can take this week to increase your power?

To give you a few ideas that will kickstart your confidence, take a look at the sample PowerDial Action Plan below.

As the novelist Alice Walker once wrote, “The most common way that people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”

And the good news is that with the BigBlueGumball PowerDial, the power to change that is all up to you.



 *For a video overview of the PowerDial -- including examples of how you can enhance YOUR power...and kick-start your confidence, please click here!