Entries in BBG (2)

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!


The BigBlueGumball Passion/Skill Matrix: (aka "Do What You Love, Love What You Do: How to Be Happy and Successful at Work")


How much of your time at work are YOU spending in each quadrant?


“People do best, what they like best to do.”

That’s an old adage by Frederick W. Taylor, the original efficiency expert and management guru. Seems like common sense, doesn’t it? And yet, so many people hate their jobs. So why is that? What's going on?

The Passion/Skill Matrix may help to explain...

Think about your hobbies. You know, the things you do for fun. Whatever it is, whether it’s playing a sport, a musical instrument, practicing a craft, or whatever, you probably do it for at least one of the following two reasons: you’re good at it and/or you enjoy it. Otherwise, why do it?

If you love doing something, let’s say, playing the guitar or the piano or drums – even if you’re not very good at it – you’re going to pick it up and fiddle around with it, spending your spare time practicing, and watching and listening to others play, all in the hope of getting better. Even if you’re not that great and know you’re probably never going to play in a band, you still do it because it’s fun.

Similarly, if you’re good at something, even if it’s balancing your checkbook, you may not love doing it, but because you’re skilled in math and it comes quick-and-easy to you, you don’t really mind doing it. Or maybe you do?

So, what about something that you love doing AND you’re good at it? Now you’ve hit the magic bulls eye: your passions and your skills are in alignment! Let’s say you love playing tennis and you discovered years ago that you’re pretty good at it. Most likely, with this combination of passion and skill, you enjoyed watching tennis on TV to see how the pros do it, didn’t mind hitting a tennis ball against the wall thousands of times, and got a rush from playing every chance you got.

Over time, your skills grew. And as your skills grew, so did your confidence, which led to your taking on tougher challenges, practicing more, winning against better and better opponents, having fun competing and winning, and enjoying your increased success. No, you’re probably not going to play tennis in the U.S. Open, but you’re at a level that you are proud of and enjoy as you keep working on taking your game to the next level.

Now, what about when you are stuck doing something that you are not good at, and do not like doing? How successful do you think you are going to be?

Probably not very.

And, yet, this describes a lot of people’s jobs. So how does this happen?

Here’s how it happened to me: A number of years ago, I was out of work for a while when I was offered an amazing job as the VP of Business Development and head of the New York office for a leading west coast interactive agency. I was so honored to be hired by, and excited to be working for, this innovative company, and was looking forward to taking on the challenge of helping them to grow their east coast business.

But once the initial excitement wore off, the job itself ended up being much tougher for me than I ever expected. I started just around the time of the dot-com crash when finding new business instantly became tougher and tougher. And, unfortunately, I quickly discovered the hard way that I did not possess the abilities or the personality type required to succeed in this kind of role – especially in this type of market environment.

And, so, as time went on and as I continued to fail, my stress level rose, and I began to like this job less and less, until I could not even bear to get up for work in the morning.

If you’ve ever had a job that you didn’t like AND that you were not good at, you know what I’m talking about. I was set up to fail every day, through nobody’s fault but my own, and I just wanted out. Getting laid off, despite my feeling of loss as I loved the company and the people, actually ended up being a huge relief.

In almost every job, there are going to be aspects of your position that you enjoy doing, and things that you don't. And, there are going to be things that you are good (or even great) at, and things that you are not.

So, the key to success is finding the right balance.

For example, in my current role as head of a management and leadership consulting, training, and coaching firm, I love and feel that I’m pretty good at the consulting, training, and coaching part. What I don’t love, and am not that great at, is the actual running of the business itself (especially, the financial and administrative side).

So, what to do about it?

Taking a look at the Passion/Skill Matrix model, and thinking about YOUR job:

1. Make a list of all the different things you do on a regular basis; and then break them up into four categories: Things you are GOOD/GREAT at; things that you are NOT Good at; things that you LIKE/LOVE doing; and things that you DON'T Enjoy doing. If you like to quantify things, you can even score each one of these items on a scale of 1-10. 

2. Next, draw a 4-box matrix like the one above, and place each of these items in one of the four boxes. For example, let's say you are good at and enjoy writing blog posts, put that in the upper right quadrant. If you like drawing, but are not that great at it, put that in the upper left. If you're good at math, but don't enjoy it, put that in the lower right. And if you hate cooking and are not good at it, put that in the lower left.

Now, lastly, let's look at the four-quadrant matrix to ask the "So what?/So that!" question: How can I use this model to be more successful?

Your SWEET SPOT - The things that you Like/Love and are Good At: If you have a lot in that box, you’re incredibly lucky! Try to spend as much time as possible on these things. This is where the intersection of your skills and passions lie, and where you have the greatest potential to leverage your strengths and go from good to great. When you're working on things that fall into this category, time flies, ideas flow, your energy is high, and you're in your element...so spread your wings and fly!

Your GROWTH ZONE - The things that you Like or Love to do, but are NOT great at...yet: This is a wonderful developmental opportunity! If you like something, or feel you have potential in this area, you are more likely to work at it by learning more about it, studying, practicing, and seeking out training and coaching. Einstein once said that, “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” If you’re passionate about it, keep working at it. You never know how far you might get unless you try. And notice the powerful difference between saying, "I'm not good at that" vs. "I'm not good at that...yet." By simply adding that simple word "yet," you open up the world of possibilities.

Your DEFAULT ZONE - The things that you Don’t Like to do, but are Good At: Perhaps it’s something you used to like doing, or you just became the “go to” person by default because it comes naturally to you and everyone knows it. Well, this is a great developmental opportunity – for someone else! Here’s where you might be able to outsource, delegate, or take on the role of a mentor or coach to help someone else develop skills in this area. This is a win-win opportunity that will help someone else to grow while freeing you up to do other things...so you can spend more time "above the line" (i.e., in your Growth Zone and/or Sweet Spot).

Your FAILURE ZONE - And, lastly, the things that you Don’t Like (or Hate!) to do, AND are Not Good At: This is your “Failure Zone”…and you need to do whatever it takes to get out of this box as soon as you can. Again, we all have aspects of our jobs that we may not love, but if you are spending more than 25% of your time in this box, you are setting yourself up for a whole lot of pain and suffering. And, to be honest, if you’re in a job that you really, truly don’t like and that you are really, truly not good at, you’re not doing your employer any favors by staying in this role. Sometimes we stay just for the paycheck, but it’s really hard to sustain that over the long haul. And it’s ultimately going to take its toll on your physical and mental health. So, whatever it takes, you need to try to get yourself out of this box.

As Dan Pink writes in his book Drive and as he speaks about in this amazing RSAnimate video, people are happiest and most productive when they have three key, intangible things: Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose.

If you are lucky enough to find a job where you spend most of your time with the freedom and flexibility to make your job your own (autonomy); in an environment that allows you to grow and develop into the best you can be (mastery); while doing work that matters (purpose), that’s when you’ve got it made.

As they say, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.”