Friday, 4 January 2013

Newsletter Issue 228, January 2013

Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 228, January 2013
Hi guys,
Happy New Year! How influential are you? Check out Influence below.
How do we get past those beliefs we have that hold us back? Kaihan Krippendorff tells us in his 20 Minute Positive Thinking Exercise
Don't forget, if you want to be taken off my mailing list, click here to send me a reply e-mail and I will remove your name.


So what is influence? And is influence important?
To me, influence is very important. This comes from my early influences (ha - there's that word again!): I was brought up in a family where we all did lots of voluntary work, often accomplished by trading favours.
Having strong, well-nourished networks was something that my parents did as naturally as breathing, and so myself and my siblings followed the same route. We naturally used our networks to get things done, and to help both ourselves and others acheive goals.
In saying that, we tended to do favours for others first, without a return expectation: paying it forward like the movie. The favour we might eventually need would probably come from someone else, and would probably also be for the benefit of yet another person or organisation. All that voluntary work that we did - and still do - tended to mean there was a club in need of some funds, a group needing some equipment, some PR needing to be done or raffle tickets to be sold.
In leadership, influence is defined as the "effect a person’s actions have on the attitudes, values, beliefs, or actions of others" (Daft & Pirola-Merlo, 2009, p. 381). It sounds something like power, doesn't it. However, power is the capacity to cause a change, while influence is the degree of actual change that happens.

You can have strong influence without having a lot of power; certainly without having the power of a certain position. Your influence can be magnified hugely by your networks, with goodwill, and though how you model doing things for others. If nothing is ever a problem for you, and you meet others needs as they need them to be met, those around you are likely to pull out all the stops for you when you need it.

Additionally, we tend to give more generously when someone is asking a favour on behalf of someone else, in the service of something that doesn't benefit them directly. We reward altruism with our trust, and see the person asking as being trustworthy.

We can lose influence very quickly by abusing that trust though undisclosed direct benefits from a favour, by asking for something in return before we give, by complaining when we are asked for help (we eventually won't get asked), by needing prodding, reminding and coaxing before we deliver, by needing continual accolades, or by belittling others who help or undoing all they have done before we will start. I am sure you will all know people to avoid, as they cost more in management problems than they provide in benefits.

In business, government and non-profit organisations, influence is very important for leaders. It can be used by leaders in a much more structured way than in peer relationships. Daft & Pirola-Merlo (2009, p. 394) lists seven tactics that a leader can use to influence others:

  1. Use rational persuasion This frequently used influence tactic uses facts, data, and logical arguments to persuade others that a proposed idea or request is the best way to complete a task or accomplish a desired goal.
  2. Make people like you People would rather say yes to someone they like than to someone they don’t like. When a leader shows concern for others, demonstrates trust and respect, and treats people fairly, people are more likely to want to help and support the leader.
  3. Rely on the rule of reciprocity Leaders gain power by having something that others value. A primary way to turn that power into influence is to share what you have-whether it be time, resources, services, or emotional support. Leaders who do favours for others can expect favours in return.
  4. Develop allies Reciprocity also plays an important role in developing networks of allies, people who can help the leader accomplish goals. A leader’s network of contacts can be expanded by reaching out to establish contact with additional people. Some leaders expand their alliances through the hiring, transfer, and promotion process.
  5. Ask for what you want Another way to have influence is to make a direct appeal by being clear about what you want and asking for it. Political activity is effective only when the leader’s vision, goals, and desired changes are made explicit so the organisation can respond.
  6. Remember the principle of scarcity This principle means that people usually want more of what they can’t have. When things are available, they become more desirable. Leaders can learn to frame their requests or offers in such a way as to highlight the unique benefits and exclusive information being provided.
  7. Extend formal authority with expertise and credibility The final principle for asserting authority is the leader’s legitimate authority in the organisation. Research has found that the key to successful use of formal authority is to be knowledgeable, credible, and trustworthy. Effective leaders keep the previous influence principles in mind, realising that influence depends primarily on personal rather than position power.

Just remember, whether you are influencing paid or volunteer workers, using your influence works best when it is not "all about you".

Reference: Daft, Richard L. & Pirola-Merlo, Andrew (2009). The Leadership Experience (Asia-Pacific Edition 1). Australia: Cengage

20 Minute Positive Thinking Exercise

Towards the end of last year, Kaihan Krippendorff emailed out a great little article called the "20-Minute Exercise To Eradicate Negative Thinking". I thought that Kaihan's "how to" was really a very positive thinking exercise.

Kaihan said in his introduction to "Imagine a hot air balloon being held down by four anchors. The balloon represents the belief holding you down and [the] actions and words [that] this belief influences. The four anchors represent evidence, logic, emotion, and social consensus. To release the balloon you must replace the offending belief".

He listed five steps to do this:

  1. Identify the belief holding you back. Kaihan's tip for this was to "Write down beliefs until you find one that hurts". Try to identify things said by that nagging "you can't do that" voice when you set out to do something new.
  2. Identify your anchors; the evidence for that belief; the logic of this belief; the emotions anchoring you; the social consensus - people - around you reinforcing it; and what "dependent beliefs” fit? (ie Kaihan desires to be a speaker, so dependent beliefs are that this is self-centered, and thinking there is a unique offer for people is conceited)
  3. Pick a new belief consistent with someone who has achieved your dream
  4. Release your anchors - gather supporting evidence, think through the logic, have supportive emotions and social consensus - so you can embed your replacement beliefs
  5. Live your new belief. Writing down five specific things you will do (action) and say (words), and practice, practice, practice until you build your new habit!

A lecturer of mine used to say that it takes 90 iterations to build a habit: so if you do something daily for three months, you will own it.

Reference: Krippendorff, Kaihan (17 November 2012). 20-Minute Exercise To Eradicate Negative Thinking. USA: FastCompany Ltd. Retrieved 17 November 2012 from

Adding Holidays to Outlook

Do you know how to add another country's holidays to your Outlook calendar? As it happens, you can add holidays to Outlook from almost any country on the planet. All you need to do is:

  1. Go to the Tools menu, and select Options
  2. Select Calendar Options | Add Holidays
  3. Tick the box next to each country/region where you want to add their holidays to your calendar
  4. Click OK.

It is just that easy :-)

TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) for you:

  • MOOCs, massively open online courses.

Please feel free to email me with any TLAs that you want to get the bottom (meaning!) of.

Tips, Short+Hot Keys

In this newsletter, we look at revision commands in Word:

  • Word "Go back to previous revision or to the location of the insertion point when the document was last closed" Shift & F5
  • Word "Toggle revision marks with Track Changes command on " Ctrl & Shift & E

Hot Linx

A great gmail tool is Rapportive, which, once installed searches multiple sites including LinkedIn & Facebook for the email address you are sending to and pull up profile information on the person. Check it out at

Check out Starbucks off-shoring transfer pricing strategy for avoiding UK taxes at

Take a walk down memory lane with this list of 1983 computers & hardware for sale at

And keeping on the technology theme, the internet turned 30 on January 1! Read all about it at

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here

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