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by Randall Craig on July 1, 2009

Filed in: Blog, Communication, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Strategy

Tagged as: , ,

Governments use regulation to influence how we each make decisions, either through tax policy or laws. Business uses money to change our behavior, either through commission plans, bonuses, or advertising. But how do we, as individuals, change the attitudes and behavior of those around us? The key is our influence over others. If we have it, we are far more likely to succeed, both at work and at home.

Each day, we build our influence, but we rarely do so mindfully. At the base level, influence is the currency of IOUs we earn by doing things for other people. Real influence, however, is something far more profound than simple IOUs. It is the seemingly unexplainable reason why other people go well beyond the expected, just because it is we who ask. Whether you are a senior executive, a sales rep, or a management consultant, influence is a critical factor that will help you generate buy-in to your goals. If you are gunning for a new position, the same concept applies.

To build your influence, consider these concepts:

  • If you have a vision, others will follow it, and go the extra mile for “the cause”.
  • Become an expert communicator, both written and verbal. Words can inspire… or cause others to disengage.
  • Write a blog, and collect followers who value your world-view.
  • Deliver on your promises.
  • Find ways to get involved beyond the narrow confines of your responsibilities.
  • Live your words: lead by example.
  • Influence is like a muscle: the more you use it, the stronger it becomes.
  • Have your expertise recognized by a third party.
  • Become a mentor.
  • Change personal recognition into team recognition.
  • Maintain a positive attitude.

This Week’s Action Item: When you speak, do others listen? When you ask, do others go beyond the call of duty for you? Unlike governments, we cannot mandate behavior, and unlike business, we recognize that merely paying for performance doesn’t always get 100% performance. This week, consider your workmates, friends, and family: which two people have the most influence, and why? Beyond the list above, use these two people as models: how did they earn their influence, and how can you do so as well?

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)



Randall has been advising on Web and Social Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of seven books, including the recently released "Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business", and speaks across North America on Social Media and Web Strategy. More at and

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