I reckon there are 5 Stages of Influence
LEVEL 1. ASLEEP
You have no content and a ‘name, rank and number’
profile that looks like it has been extracted at knifepoint. You either have no picture or one grabbed from your 40th birthday party or passport. You are contactable via ‘in-mail’ only (part of your fortress mentality). You can’t see the point in writing anything about what you know, how you help people or what you think.
You are amazed when you are made redundant, passed over for promotion or told you have been unsuccessful in your consulting pitch.
LEVEL 2. AGITATED
Life stirs! You get that the game has changed. It’s no longer enough to be an expert. You have an inkling that articles like ‘Why Humanity is your Point of Difference’
may be onto something. You are both a little anxious and excited about stepping out and sticking your head above the parapet.
You are open to change. Let’s do it!
LEVEL 3. ACTIVE
Congratulations. You’ve taken the plunge and written your first couple of LinkedIn articles. You’ve selected a really great image (definitely NOT ‘clip art’, ‘free from Google’ or anything with a goldfish or arrow in it!) With trepidation you hovered over the ‘Submit Article’ button and finally summoned the courage to press it.
“One small click for man, one giant connection for BRAND YOU.”
Maybe you’ve also posted your thoughts out to clients or added them to the company newsletter or blog. You get a couple of nice comments. You are surprised that the anticipated ridicule or “who the f**k do you think you are”
smart-arse commentary does not materialize – at least not from the people who matter.
As pedestrian as this may sound, you are already in rarified company. You are standing out. Anyone looking at your LinkedIn profile will see that you have 1. something to say and 2. gone to the effort of saying it. That’s a point of difference. Don’t believe me? Check out the profiles of your boss, peers and reports. Which ones stand out? Why?
LEVEL 4. AMPLIFIED
You are active on multiple fronts (and multiple fonts!). LinkedIn for sure - you are posting something unique at least every two weeks. In between, you’re curating and commenting on other relevant, quality pieces that you think will excite, educate or challenge the people and markets you want to serve.
You are probably also on Facebook and other platforms, possibly with a slightly different version of your thinking – perhaps less formal or more visual. Videos, podcasts and webinars are all in your repertoire or in your plans.
You’ll also have built a direct email list of contacts. If you are a consultant or entrepreneur this is your client database. If you are an employee you’ll be thinking about smart and elegant ways to leverage these contacts with respect. Less is more.
There are other many other ways to channel your influence such as speaking at internal or external events. Perhaps you are active in creating opportunities to showcase your talents by facilitating client forums or industry thought leadership conferences.
You understand the commercial importance of building your influence. You have created a strategic Influence-building plan that you execute with discipline and focus.
LEVEL 5. AWESOME
WOW. You are a ROCK STAR. You are AMPLIFIED PLUS
. Far from shy, your market can expect to hear from you often and through multiple channels. Twitter, live videos, ‘here I am just about to go into my meeting/event/’
updates. Here I am in the Business Lounge just about to fly somewhere fabulous. Here’s my new book. Here’s my latest thinking/event/video….
Production values are superb. Everything is done to a high standard. Slick, fast, flawless and impressive. You are a professional influencer at the top of the game and have built a significant following. You are C-suite, Super Talent, or Rock Star consultant/speaker/guru. You get top billing when you speak at events as a ‘Head of Cool at ShinyTechCo’ or as a gun external ‘guru’.
You command attention and earn top dollar, be that salary or day rate.
Where do you want to play?
There are many other channels through which you can grow your influence, but you get the point. I believe that everyone MUST be at least LEVEL 3 ACTIVE. That’s the price of turning up today. To do less is to risk irrelevance. You can rail against that, but why take the risk? For a modest investment of time and effort you can become one of the 1%.
I choose to play the game at LEVEL 4 AMPLIFIED. It suits me and who I am. As you may have detected, I sometimes find the LEVEL 5 AWESOME folk can be irritating and self-absorbed. That said, I know many who feel very comfortable in this space. I certainly don’t knock them. They do what they want, do it well and are handsomely rewarded. They may risk the odd negative comment, but no one doubts what they are about. Far better to be a bit too much than completely invisible.
Where are you?
What level you are at today?
What needs to change?
TIME TO TAKE THE TEST and find out!