A Friday series exploring Startups and the people who make them go. Read all If the Shoe Fits posts here
Influence isn’t about your online ranking or the strength of your brand, although they contribute.
Influence is about effect.
The effect your words or actions have on those exposed to them.
Yesterday I linked to an article in which Penelope Trunk said that it’s a bad idea for founders to be of different genders and because of her influence dozens of founders are probably rethinking their startup plans.
There is a common arrogance among influencers to generalize their opinion and present it as a fact applicable to all and the more successful the influencer the greater the arrogance.
But from day one every founder has influence, before success and beyond the expected, so even a casual word can cause trouble.
A founder CEO I know, whose original education years before was engineering, had a habit of occasionally strolling through engineering to see what was going on. One day he commented that he wouldn’t do a design the way the team was doing it. It was a casual, throw-away comment, one he had forgotten five minutes later, but it devastated the design team. The CEO had no clue to the havoc he wrought and it took the vp of engineering, who was co-founder, hours to settle them down. He then told the CEO not to talk to the team and banned him from the department.
What those on the receiving end of influencers need to realize is that no matter how brilliant or experienced someone is they are still voicing an opinion. And as valuable as the opinion may be, it should never be swallowed whole, because opinions are subjective.
They are the product of that individual’s MAP, which itself is a product of upbringing and experience. Even someone else having exactly the same background and experience would not have identical MAP because each person processes differently and has different inherent characteristics.
Influence comes with responsibilities—how well do you handle yours?
Option Sanity™ reflects your influence.
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Do not attempt to use Option Sanity™ without a strong commitment to business planning, financial controls, honesty, ethics, and “doing the right thing.” Use only as directed.
Users of Option Sanity may experience sudden increases in team cohesion and worker satisfaction. In cases where team productivity, retention and company success is greater than typical, expect media interest and invitations as keynote speaker.
Image credit: kevinspencer