Entries in Influencing (4)

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!


What's Your "Social Style"?

One of your co-workers gets so much work done in a day it makes your head spin, but she tends to steamroll over everyone in the process.

Another co-worker is great with details and never misses a trick, but he tends to over-analyze everything and takes forever to make a simple decision.

One of your other co-workers is a nice person and a great listener and teammate. But by trying to please everyone, she fails to please anyone.

Yet another is always enthusiastic, fun to work with, and has a million ideas. Too bad he’s all over the place and never seems to follow up, follow through, or finish anything.

In their classic “Social Styles” model, Robert and Dorothy Bolton labeled the four personality types mentioned above as: Driver, Analytical, Amiable, and Expressive. Of these four types, which person would you most prefer to work with and why? Which one drives you insane? And, perhaps most importantly, whichone are YOU?

1. Driver
“Let’s go! Let’s get the job done right now!” She is direct, decisive, and determined. She loves a challenge, is willing to take risks, works at a fast pace, and is all about getting results. However, the Driver can also be seen as impatient, insensitive, dictatorial, and domineering. You want Drivers on your team because they don’t stop til the work is done, but you better be ready to get out of their way.

2. Analytical
“Let’s get the job done — but let’s get it done right!” He is precise, logical, careful, and methodical. Slow and steady wins the race, and nothing slips through the cracks. The Analytical dots every i, crosses every t, and plays by the rules. But by striving for perfection, his “over-analysis paralysis” can hold projects up and drive everyone nuts.

3. Amiable
“Let’s get the job done, but let’s focus on the people!” She is warm, approachable, friendly, inclusive, a good listener, and a team player. The Amiable is a people-pleaser who genuinely cares about others, doesn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, and seeks to make others happy. While focusing on people and relationships, however, she can often lose sight of the task at hand and fail to get things done in a timely manner. When the Amiable asks, “How was your weekend?” they’re not just being polite – they really do care and actually want to know.

4. Expressive
“Let’s get this done! We can do it!” He is energized and energizing, a big-picture thinker, optimistic, visionary, cheerleader, and juggler of numerous things at once. But in his enthusiasm, the Expressive may sometime lose sight of reality. Since he tries to do too much at once, the Expressive often has trouble focusing and is all over the map. He’s excited about the journey, but rarely reaches the destination (though he has a good time along the way).


We all possess aspects of each of the four styles, but we tend to gravitate toward one or two of them. My primary style is Analytical – I love to read and write, analyze issues, design creative solutions, and solve problems. But as a person who runs his own business, I also need to be proactive and decisive — a Driver. As a presenter, facilitator, and teacher, when up in front of the room I need to be Expressive. And as an executive coach working one-on-one with my clients, I need to be Amiable.

So the key is to "Know thyself" and be able to leverage one's strengths...but also be able to push ourselves beyond our default style as situations and relationships warrant. To do so takes emotional intelligence, self-awareness, and self-regulation, as well as empathy and social skills. All of which can be developed and improved!

Each style brings with it its relative advantages and disadvantages. As an Analytical-Driver, I'm a big -- and fast -- reader. I process information quickly and then promptly make a decision...with an emphasis on getting things done right the first time -- in the most efficient and effective way possible; the way I think is the best way. In the process, I may sometimes overlook people and relationships. But since I’m aware of this, I’m able to modify my behavior accordingly. Sometimes.

Making it Work
Self-awareness is critical, but it’s only part of the equation. To truly connect with, get along with, collaborate with, and influence others, we need to start by trying to identify their individual styles...and then adjust our behavior appropriately to the person (or people) and the situation. So, when dealing with:

  • Drivers: Cut the small talk, pick up the pace, and get right down to business.
  • Analyticals: Make sure you did your homework. Prove that you know your stuff, and be prepared to defend your position with logic, facts, and data.
  • Amiables: Find common ground. Connect with them on a personal level, and build trust.
  • Expressives: Demonstrate your enthusiasm. Pump up your energy and your passion to get them excited.

Lastly, as you can probably guess, the best teams are composed of a mix of all four styles. Since our natural tendency is to gravitate towards (and to hire) people who are just like us, with this awareness we can better leverage the power of diversity. 

When Drivers, Analyticals, Amiables, and Expressives work together in a spirit of awareness, openness, understanding, and collaboration, you’ll find that as a “T.E.A.M,” Together Everyone Achieves More.


The Little Pink Spoon Approach to Job Hunting

It’s all about the Little Pink Spoon.

One of my all-time favorite summertime pleasures is going to Baskin-Robbins and trying out a few new flavors with those little pink spoons of theirs. Ninety percent of the time I just end up getting Rocky Road, but I always enjoy tasting a few other flavors before ordering my cone.

Why is Baskin-Robbins so willing to give away their product for free? It’s obvious: they hope that by giving us a free taste, we’ll end up buying a cup or a cone or a pint or a gallon. So they gladly give away millions of little pink spoonfuls in order to make many millions of dollars more in return. It’s the same reason movies show trailers, cosmetics companies offer samples, and car dealers offer test drives: people want to try before they buy.

So, how do you bring the Little Pink Spoon Principle into play in your job search? By giving a prospective employer a “free sample” of what you have to offer, you’ll dramatically improve your chances of success. Here are three ways to do it …

[Click HERE to read the rest of the post on the Hired Guns site]

The Little Pink Spoon Approach to Influencing

One of my all-time favorite things to do is to go into Baskin-Robbins and try a few different flavors with those little pink spoons.

Who doesn’t love those little pink spoons!

(Between you and me, 90% of the time I just end up getting  Rocky Road…but I always enjoy tasting a few other flavors before ordering my cone.)

So, what does ice cream have to do with influencing?

It’s all about giving people a free sample – and getting them to take a taste – of whatever it is you have to offer.

Baskin-Robbins hopes that you will buy a cup or a cone (or a pint or a gallon), so they give away millions of little pink spoonfuls of free samples in order to make many millions of dollars more in return.

Back in the 1970’s there was a groundbreaking tv commercial (featuring Ben Vereen) for the Broadway musical, “Pippin,” that went: “Here’s a free minute from Pippin, Broadway’s musical comedy sensation directed by Bob Fosse (pause)…[clip from the show]…(pause)…You can see the other 119 minutes of Pippin, live, at the Imperial Theater…without commercial interruption.” After the commercial aired and people got to experience that one free minute, they flooded the theater to catch the rest.

There’s a classic marketing acronym, “AIDA,” that stands for: Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action.

Effective influencing generally models these four steps: 

(1) Awareness - capturing people's attention;

(2) Interest - informing them on an intellectual level;

(3) Desire - getting them to "want" on an emotional level;  

(4) Action - and then, ultimately, motivating them to take some action.

So whether you are trying to sell a product, a service, an idea, or yourself, keep AIDA in mind…and think about how you might give people a free taste of whatever it is you have to offer. One that will get them happily coming back for more.