Leadership Within – Degrees of Influence

Posted on: December 9, 2019
When I discuss brand, I almost always ask the question:
What do people say about (your business), when you are not in the room?
The answer to this question is the result of everything you do within and outside of your business. It is influenced by your advertising efforts (which bring people in the door), and it is directly impacted by your quality of product, perceived product value, and the service you provide to your customers.
Have you ever asked this question to those in your community?
The answer, while quite often not aligned with our internal perceptions can be closer aligned by considering one simple facet of our operation; our outbound communication and actions.
Whether we are utilizing social media, traditional advertising or our websites, what is communicated to the outside world through thought or action creates the perception of value for your customer.
From a systemic approach we call the interaction between the business and the community The Four Degrees of Influence matrix. The Four Degrees of Influence are “Me (what I say or do)”, “My Unit (how i operate my store or unit) ”, “My Organization (what others say about my brand) and “My Universe (whether my business grows or stalls)”.
When we are seeing either significant success or failure to achieve, it is often because of the level of attention we pay to the four degrees of influence. Those who are successful pay attention to what they say and do, who they say or do it to, how its said or done, and consider every single thing they put out from their business as brand building.
The First Degree of Influence – Me
Like dropping a pebble into a pond, the first degree of influence is usually a result of something happening to you (you’ve run out of coffee, the car won’t start, you have to deal with budgets today, etc.). How you respond to these challenges determines the type of influence you have over yourself and others. By shifting mental responses from negative influences to positive responses or actions, we can re-frame outlook and reinforce a positive mental attitude which leads to the perception of you as a stronger leader.
Leaders who are good at managing their personal influence think about how they respond to outside influences BEFORE they respond. They take a more balanced approach to challenges, develop stable and predictable response frameworks and then act on what they have thought about. This stability empowers staff to engage because they know what to expect from the leader, and leads to higher communication, more effective communication and greater outcomes.
The Second Degree of Influence – Unit
If a leader is effective at managing his or herself and, consequently, the work unit, the organization will function at a much higher level. Employee sick days drop, connectivity rises and productivity is easier to achieve.
By embracing the role of creating positive outbound communication, the leader is able to elevate the unit in a way that strengthens the most critical interface for your business: the staff to public interface. If your staff exert the positive influences toward the client, the organization grows in brand reputation.
The Third Degree of Influence – Organization
As the organizations staff cadre becomes empowered to act, are lead by a credible leader and the organization becomes more robust in its service standards as a result, the client is more likely to see the organization in a positive way. This leads the client to return to the organization, which leads to higher revenues and greater fiscal stability. This stability leads to greater opportunities for future growth and expansion as customer demand rises, creating higher levels of opportunity to benefit both parties.
At the Unit and Organizational level, the key mechanism for ensuring that outbound actions and communication is strategic are Brand standards.
Brand Standards indicate type of service given, expectations of staff and management, and when looking at conflict situations; clear guidance on how to resolve customer issues.
The Fourth Degree of Influence – Universe
The effectiveness with which Brand standards are implemented directly influence how your organization is seen in the “Universe” of your community. Knowledgeable leaders understand that each action/reaction by themselves or their staff creates a series of perceptual waves or degrees of influence. They understand that cause and effect are not necessarily closely linked by time. In other words, what you do today may not yield an effect for months or years to come.
This is why leaders strategize their decisions and look toward at the long term implications of their actions across all aspects of their business
So lets wrap this up as follows:
1) Your response to issues directly influences how your team see you,
2) Your team will match what you do, even if standards exist that say otherwise,
3) the effective implementation of standards, combined with exceptionally skilled staff will create positive ripples for your organization
4) The more attention you pay to the four degrees of Influence, the better outcomes you will achieve.