Tag: Influence

Life, #HRevolution, Next Steps and 3 things

I am a thinker

Now this by no set of circumstance means that my thoughts are valid, cutting edge, ignorant, intelligent or leading. This only means that in moments I have with people and my environment I think… Think about my actions. The actions of others. The inactions of us all.


I believe the biggest impact we make is in the relationships we have with those immediately around us. Whether that be family, friends or colleagues. At HRevolution this weekend I met up with past colleagues and friends. I met a lot of new ones. We shared time and space. It is ridiculous to say that we will all talk or connect on a regular basis. But we can say that what we learned from each other, good and bad, can possibly help us  be better and transition our actions for the future.

In the final session I attended with Paul Smith & China Gorman we had a discussion around the idea of influence. Now those attending and present in the session you heard my thoughts. I am big on action. Writing things down to commit to memory. Committing not only to others but to yourself. Creating a contract to and for yourself and then being accountable.

So when I came across the following TEDx talk today it just fit with what I believe.

3 Things we learn about ourselves

This past week I wrote about Apollo 13: INNOVATION through CHAOS. There I talked about how sometimes, something dramatic and drastic needs to happen in order to move us forward.  The following TEDx video was appropriate coming home from HRevolution.

The story: Ric Elias, a front-row passenger aboard US Airways Flight 1549, gives a TED talk about the three things he learned while his plane was crashing.

Lessons from a traumatic event

Here are the 3 things he learned and took away from his face-off with death:

  1. How are you changing your relationships? - “I collect bad wines… cause if the wine is ready and the person is there, I’m opening it. I no longer want to postpone anything in life.”
  2. What would you change in your relationships and the negative energy in them? - “The time I wasted in things that did not matter with people that did matter. I no longer try to be right, I choose to be happy.”
  3. Are you being the best parent you can be? - “Dying is not scary… but it is very sad. In that moment I only wished I could see my kids grow up… Now the only thing that matters in my life is to be a great dad.”

A Takeaway

Too often we wait. Wait for the right time. The right moment. The right person. The perfect set of circumstances to somehow tell us that we should move! That we should act. A sudden shift to move us forward. To take a chance and step from fear to confidence.

At HRevolution many of us mentioned the business impact. I think we subconsciously realized that the personal impact of how we  interact with people also holds a strong correlation to what impacts the business! The two are never mutually exclusive!

3 Things for you…

To tie it back to this weekend at HRevolution… I would just ask the following:

  1. What are you waiting for and what is it going to take?
  2. What set of circumstances will be presented to you so that the things you have kept yourself from doing for so long become urgent for you in the now? What things will you do as a result of it all?
  3. Are you being the best parent, husband/wife, son/daughter, business partner, colleague you can be?

Employees only have so much power

Power, Delegation, Engagement, …

sad%20man%20at%20table Employees only have so much power…call it whatever you like; but when executives, leaders and managers talk about employee empowerment it is often with a misguided sense of understanding. It is very easy to say that:

“We will find people that are willing and able to pull themselves up by the boot straps..” and
“Our associates will be ’empowered’ to hit the ground running…”
“Our employees have power! They have power within their role and projects they deliver to decide…”

yada yada. but the fact remains that it is often much harder to see the results from the expectations these statements suggest. If you have been an underling, which most of us have at one point or another, I bet you  would disagree more often than not with your superiors on how much power you truly possess.

Giving “Instruction” is not the same as “Transferring Power”

To give someone an assignment of a project and the instruction to complete that project assignment is not the same thing as transferring authority (or power) to a person for that project.  All good members of management should know that.

But the sea of meetings and clouds of ego can sometimes allow us to forget that, in the end, employees with no authoritative power do not have much power at all. To ask an employee to lead a project and expect specific results is possible but not guaranteed. It can be even more difficult to expect and ask those same employees to make high level decisions knowing that the decisions they are making will not be taken into consideration toward the end goal.

It is simply an exercise of false empowerment.

This can leave the employee in a worse situation and mindset than they were in before. Instead of going on with the mindless task that you may have assigned them, now they begin to feel less-than or disgruntled while still going on with the same mindless task. 

He Man Masters of the Universe he man 604199 500 768 Employees only have so much powerThe Bottom Line

When you see an associate with this smile on their face as if they are He-Man screaming “IIIII  Haaavvvve the PowwweeeeerrRRRRRR!!!” it can be a sad sight to see when you and I know they actually do not have that level of power.

In the end employees only have 3 powers:

  1. The powerto do or not do extraordinary work ,
  2. The power to leave or stay with a company,
  3. The power to keep doing what they can to obtain power until 1 or 2 occur.

If you continue to give an associates a false sense of power it will end up kicking you in the backside, leading employees to choose to pick the more negative side of point 1 and 2.


All that being said, do not nail me to a stake. I do believe firmly that employees who are not in power positions can have influence. That those same employees can be autonomous in the roles and projects they work. Those employees may not have power but one thing they may be able to build and retain is influence! That type of influence is entirely in their control. You either build it or you don’t.

What do you think?


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