By Dr. Dale G. Caldwell
Several years ago as I was writing a book on leadership I looked up the definitions of “leadership,” “command” and “control.” I was amazed to discover that each of these words had at least one definition that included the word “influence.” This discovery motivated me to research the role of influence in society. I was surprised to discover that the word influence is “hidden in plain sight.” It is used in conversations virtually every day by millions of people around the world who have not taken the time to understand the meaning and potential of this very powerful concept. However, our favorite music, food, sports teams, culture, religion and political perspective are all shaped by the influences in our lives. Positive strategic influence is the secret to leadership and organizational success in today’s complicated and diverse business environment.
My research and consulting work with a variety of clients led me to develop a concept called Intelligent Influence® that is tailor-made for the business (and human interaction) realities of the 21st century. This unique leadership and strategy framework, which consists of four components, has the potential to change how people interact (especially in the business world). This approach has been so well received that I founded an international management consulting firm named Strategic Influence LLC that has successfully helped executives, corporations, government agencies and nonprofits effectively utilize Intelligent Influence to achieve extraordinary success.
This concept is extremely useful when it is applied to leadership and career development. The first component, “Influence AwarenessTM”, is understanding how an individual or group is influenced. Think about the person, events or things that influenced you to pursue your current career or develop a passion for a particular hobby or even sports team. We all do what we do, like what we like and accomplish what we accomplish because of influence.
The second component, “Influence ImpactTM”, is understanding how an individual or group currently influences others. Take a minute or two to think about the influence that you have on others at home, at work and in your community? Ask yourself the question “How am I currently influencing my boss, co-workers, subordinates, customers, family and friends?” My research indicated that there are six distinct types of Intelligent Influence. These are: Authority InfluenceTM, Belief InfluenceTM, Inspiration InfluenceTM, Reputation InfluenceTM, Resource InfluenceTM and Thought InfluenceTM. It is essential that you explore the extent to which you have each of these types of influence at home and work. Successful leaders are aware of their influence strengths and weaknesses.
The third component, “Influence ManagementTM”, is proactively managing how you are influenced based on your analysis of your current influence (or lack thereof). Every person should identify their developmental goals and write down a plan to get the Internal InfluenceTM (training, mentoring, etc.) they need to accomplish their External InfluenceTM (personal and professional) goals. Make sure that you have Influence Integration and spend time being influenced by people who think very differently than you do. This means that HR executives should spend time with engineers, sales persons should spend time with finance executives and CEOs should spend time with front line workers, etc.
The fourth and final component “Influence MaximizationTM,” is maximizing influence by connecting the three spheres of influence that in combination are the secret behind the success of all influential individuals and organizations. The first sphere, “Credibility,” represents the influence that motivates people to you or your organization seriously. The second sphere, “Creativity,” represents the influence that makes people respect you or your organization because of your innovative approach and interesting ideas. The third and final sphere, “Connection,” represents the influence generated when you or your organization makes an emotional connection with a person in a significant enough way to get them to follow the person or buy a product.
When a leader or organization can demonstrate each of these three types of influence in combination they can accomplish extraordinary things. The Intelligent Influence framework anchored by Influence Maximization occurs in every sector of society with both individuals and organizations. If you are serious about becoming an exceptional leader (or just having extraordinary relationships) you must identify the influences that shaped who you are (Influence Awareness); honestly assess your current influence strengths and weaknesses (Influence Impact); develop a career (and life) plan that identifies your influence-based developmental needs (Influence Management); and, demonstrate credibility, creativity and connection to maximize the influence that you have on the people who determine the level of success you have in both your life and your career (Influence Maximization). Intelligent Influence is the secret of success in the complex, diverse and fast paced world of today. Are you ready to use this strategy to influence the world around you?
Bio of Dr. Dale G. Caldwell
Dr. Caldwell is the Executive Director of the Fairleigh Dickinson University Rothman Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He is also the CEO and Founder of Strategic Influence LLC and the creator of the “Intelligent Influence” framework for individual and organizational success. Dr. Caldwell is the author of the popular book Intelligent Influence: The 4 Steps of Highly Successful Leaders and Organizations. He has over 18 years of experience as a corporate management consultant, trainer and coach. Dr. Caldwell has had the honor of leading Intelligent Influence® consulting projects for a diverse set of clients including: Viacom, Marriott International, Shire Pharmaceutical, Hogan Lovells, the City of Newark, the City of East Orange, the Montclair Board of Education, the Prince William County Board of Education, the American Tennis Association (ATA), and, the United States Tennis Association (USTA).
Dr. Caldwell’s professional experience includes serving as a Senior Manager with Deloitte Consulting, Executive Director of Strategic Partnerships at Scholastic, Vice President at Right Management, Deputy Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, and, Executive Director of the Newark Alliance.
Dr. Caldwell graduated from Princeton University with a BA degree in Economics; received an MBA in Finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania; and, completed the Seton Hall Doctoral program with an Ed.D. degree in Education Administration. In addition, he completed the Harvard Kennedy School Senior Executives in State and Local Government program. He is an accomplished athlete who has completed three marathons and earned national rankings in duathlon, tennis and triathlon.