When was the last time someone told you they wish they had that 'thing' you have?
That 'thing' that lights up a room, makes people want to listen to you, look at you, be next to you, and listen to what you have to say? That 'thing,' is an unnamable energy that signals to me, that you are someone with information I need and perhaps I ought to respond with action.
That 'thing' is INFLUENCE. Influence is the capacity to have an effect on something or someone. In Robert Caldini's popular book, "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion" we learn all sorts of mechanisms for moving another's position to align with our own. Tactics and strategies for overcoming another's will are great to know, yet when I teach influence and the 'Art of Persuasion' I also include another methodology.
Let's face it, we are living in a time where clashing world views makes it challenging to persuade others' to align with our agenda when it comes to sustainability, human rights, environmental protection and social issues. While more and more companies assign sustainability to a C-Suite role, it is questionable whether they are empowered with a budget and authority to make the significant organizational changes required to implement cutting edge ideas, theories, innovations and strategies.
While there is no doubt that sustainability, ESG (environmental, social and governance factors in the private equity world) and corporate social responsibility (CSR) professionals need more than ever to make a solid business case for their agenda, what's equally important is to boost their essential skills like influence, persuasive communications, confidence, resilience, visioning, strategic thinking, empathy, intuition and a certain kind of mindset.
The mindset needed to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals and future proof business is one of entitled disruption. We're living in a paradigm that perpetuates itself through entitlement because we've collectively accepted the business systems and models we believe are the glue holding together the fabric of our economy. We know these systems are changing.
Entitled disruption is a mindset of owning the power to change our world for the better in a way that is in the best and highest good of all. When world views clash- who's notion of best and highest good wins? This is where influence comes in. To be an entitled disruptor who understands the imperative, we need to be armed with a powerful dose of influence, be able to persuasively communicate and be highly intuitive leaders.
Here are 4 tips for getting started.
1. Master Your Inner Power
The art of inner power means you're sourcing your knowledge, your position and your strategy from a place beyond your ego. Inner power is synonymous with confidence. Sometimes we source our power from fear, lack, ego or a need beyond the cause at hand. Things hardly work out. When we're grounded in inner power, we are sourcing from our 'Why' which is most often bigger and more purposeful than our fear. More often from here, things work out.
It's also really easy to give our power away when we're the sole voice for an agenda that requires more than proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Grounding in your inner power helps you pivot to regain leadership in a conversation which is super important to being seen as a credible thought leader and change agent. Inner Power is essential to moving our initiatives forward at the Board and C-Suite level. While it is imperative to know and stay anchored in the 'business case' and C-Suite language of your company or organization, mastering YOUR art of inner power is key to empowering true change among all stakeholders in the value chain.
2. Influential Presence
Presence is an invisible energy that emits from us through our expressions, our body language, our emotional and mental state, and our level of confidence and certainty in any given moment. We've all felt the energy of someone who enters a room or addresses us and their presence is notable. Presence includes being present in the moment as in - a way to show up in the now. Presence also includes an energy, vibe or feeling generated as a result of your physical presence in a space. To master the art of presence we need to be good at observing ourselves (self aware), feeling what others feel as a result of our presence (empathy), listening to ourselves and acknowledging how others respond or react to us (intentional).
When I teach the art of presence, in my Influence modules, one area we focus on is 'reading' others. If we want to have a certain impact with our presence, ie. engage, enamor, inspire, delight, enroll others, we have to begin by studying the current state of our impact. One place to start is to ask, "How did that person feel as a result of my being there (just being, not speaking)?" You may even want to ask people how they 'experience' you.
3. The Art of Intuition and Awareness
Intuition and awareness stem from mindfulness. Being aware of the invisible, the unspoken, the unseen gives a leg up when we're seeking buy in, engagement and enrollment in our mission. When we master the art of intuition and mindfulness- by default we master so much more including persuasive communications, listening, hearing, positioning, and the power of influence. Intuition is a key part of systems thinking, embedding holistic frameworks and understanding how to position our agenda to align with the needs, wants and desires of all stakeholders. Leaders need all senses on deck including this powerful 6th one!
4. Master the Art of Magnetic Attraction
Magnetic attraction speaks for itself. Influence at it's core is about wielding a certain force that draws people and things to you. When I coach on magnetic attraction, we engage inner power, presence and intuition to fuel an intention for how we want to 'show up.' Similar to presence, magnetic attraction is about how other's feel as a result of you being present. The difference with magnetic attraction is that the energy is external and about what happens for them as a result. The effect is- a shift that inspires people to jump on board with your vision.
Sustainability, ESG and CSR leaders need to master influence, persuasive communications and sales. We're selling a new idea no matter how established and integrated it feels, sustainability and responsible business has not yet won over the economy. It's still largely siloed and needs powerful influencers inside of organizations to master the art of presence, inner power, intuition and magnetic attraction - to gain buyin across all stakeholders including the Board and the C-Suite.
If you're ready to increase your influence, inspire and grow the power of your sustainability, CSR or ESG team and efforts, reach out to us today and learn about our consulting, executive coaching, keynotes, and powerful workshops. For eleven years we've been increasing confidence and influence by up to 80% -within short time frames- for senior leaders in top organizations. With powerful business strategies and massive mindset transformations anything is possible.
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*My forthcoming book, "Leadership for a Better World: The Sustainability Mindset Shift™" is about the critical mindset formula called for in these potent and certainly uncertain times! Stay tuned and please drop your name and email below to be connected. We only drop in once a month unless there is an earth shattering piece of news to share!
Stephanie Trager, Esq.
Chief Catalyst at Intentional Paradigms
Executive Coach- Keynote Speaker -Strategist
Sustainability, Communications, Business, ESG, CSR
Leadership for a Better World
*Founder Trager Law PLLC - Growing, scaling, and protecting small
businesses and thought leaders as they ripple their impact.