Posts Tagged ‘FountainBlue’

Your Political CLOUT

August 30, 2013


Power: everyone’s hungry for it. Influence: a softer way to say it! Clout: power in a political context . . . I’ve thought a lot about this, following last month’s When She Speaks event, on the topic of Politics in the Workplace, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. I kept asking myself what separates those with influence with those who want to have more clout and I realized that confidence is at the heart of influence, power and clout. Those who want more power and influence may really be trying too hard, which has the opposite effect. Those who want more political clout must know themselves, and brand themselves as do-ers who generate results. Below are some suggestions for increasing your power, influence and clout.

Be Comfortable with Who You Are

1. Know and stand by your values.

Authentic leaders have one thing in common: they know who they are and what they value, and their thoughts, words and actions reflect this. People who aren’t comfortable with who they are or where they stand can’t increase their clout.

2. Stop making excuses for your perceived weaknesses.

Make a Stand for Your Decisions

3. Decisive people aren’t always right, but are perceived as more confident.

Thoroughness is a great thing and has its place, but it also can hold you back from taking action, taking the lead, moving forward. People with more clout in general need less data to make a decision, spend less time manage the chaos of not-knowing, and confidently move forward, despite no-knowing many things.

4. Decisive people can also adeptly pivot.

Just because you’re decisive doesn’t mean that you would be locked into a position. In fact, once you get more data after pursuing a specific direction, pivoting to a new direction based on that new information may be the most sensible thing to do. There’s a fine line between waffling and pivoting though. Waffling means going back and forth without a reason, but pivoting means you have a reason for changing a set course.

Speak Clearly and Succinctly and Transparently

5. Speak the language of your intended audience.

Do your research beforehand: know the stakeholders, their motivations and their communication style. Then address them in a way which would resonate for them.

6. Busy and important people will only make time for you if your messages and goals are clear. Cut out the fluff.

More words does not equate to more influence: au contraire! Give yourself a merciless word budget when communicating with others. Get to the point succinctly and directly and logically.

Embrace Your Mistakes and Move On

7. The best leaders strive for best effort, not for perfection.

Be comfortable not being perfect, making mistakes. Your heroes are not flawless, yet they keep moving forward, despite their imperfections, or even because of them.

8. The best leaders own up to their mistakes and learn from them.

Every mistake is a gift, a learning, more information to manage your path forward. But as the old Greek expression goes, don’t trip over the same stone.

Welcome the Right People and Feedback

9. Invite the input of people who don’t think like you.

It’s always easier to communicate with people who share your mindset, but you would stretch yourself and your successes if you connect and communicate with people who aren’t like you.

10. Friends who try to shape you in a different direction are not really your friends.

True friends know and respect your values, your choices, your goals. People who have their own agenda and put in front of yours are to be avoided and confronted. Who has time for THAT?

The bottom line is that influence, power and clout are about confidence: the confidence in knowing who you are, why you do what you do, and communicating it clearly to those that matter.

What will you do to increase your political CLOUT?


Ten People You Should Have In Your Network

February 28, 2013

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No matter what your role is, what level you are within an organization, where you are in your career path, or to what degree you are happy with where you are personally and professionally, your network has tremendous influence over your career, your impact and influence for today and going forward. In this age where communication can be pervasive and instantaneous, given how connected we are globally and the tools we use daily to connect with others (from e-mail to social media to videos), it is ever more critical that we message precisely (a topic for another blog) what we want to the audience and network we prescribe. In considering your network and who you would like to target which message to, consider including these ten people as an essential part of the network you build:

  1. You Mom or other Cheerleader, someone who would stand behind you no matter what, and insist that you live by the values under which she has raised you. This is a maternal figure or cheerleader someone who believes in you, and gives you the confidence, fortitude and inspiration to keep going, especially when times are tough; and to appreciate the people in your life, the accomplishments you’ve already achieved, and the values you stand you. Having a mother figure in your network gives you the sense of self and confidence in self to insist on excellence and persistently reach and grow.
  2. Your Dad (or Mom) or an older, wiser Advocate, someone who always raises the bar for you, and insists that you bring honor and success to your family and yourself, while providing for those who rely on you. This is the paternal figure (who could also be your mom) who challenges you to be all that you can be, advocates for you and your higher purpose, and helps you to provide for others, and stand for the values with which you were raised. Having a father figure in your network will help you feel comfortable with who you are, what you stand for, and understand how to reach beyond your current circle of people, your current goals.
  3. Your Best Childhood Friend, or the equivalent, who may or may not get what you are doing now, but knows that you will always be there for him and her, and that your purpose, passion and values are clear.
  4. A Devil’s Advocate, who is always poking holes at your ideas, to ensure the validity of what you decide to do in the end.
  5. A Hero who has opened the world of possibilities in new ways, and stretched your thinking about what’s possible.
  6. An Older Sibling who is always encouraging, sometimes contrarian, yet also always raising the bar for you. He or she may be exactly like you, or nothing like you, but they have witnessed your personal development and professional growth and will help you find that true north.
  7. A Mentor with skills and information not necessarily in your repertoire, who sees your potential and facilitates your success. He or she might help you see things from the other point of view, and give you ideas and recommendations and resources beyond your field of vision. She or he might at times be that hero or devil’s advocate or cheerleader, and coaches and encourages resilience, fortitude and resourcefulness. Good mentors make great accountability partners, while always staying on your side, sometimes with tough love.
  8. An Executive Sponsor who can open doors for you at the top executive suites, but only if he is she thinks that you’re ready for it. She or he would stand beside you and help facilitate your success and recover from inevitable missteps while coaching and prepping you for the next opportunity. He or she would take a chance on you, and open doors for you, and also call you to task if you don’t deliver.
  9. An Adviser who has broken the ground in some way in a specific business or technology area, and can help you think through the business and tech opportunities, challenges and implications. Part mentor, part partner, part devil’s advocate and cheerleader, an adviser could be very hands-off, or definitely hands-on with the day-to-day business. The better ones are hands-on, but not necessarily hungry for a home run.
  10. A Partner or Spouse who doesn’t think or act like you, or play and work in the same circles as you, who is not afraid of providing candid feedback, as well as implicit support. The best ones know when to play which of the roles above to push you while supporting you implicitly.

So which of these people are in your network? Who do you still need in the network? Who else should be on the must-have list? We invite your questions and comments about your marketing and leadership successes and challenges.