Interesting question, isn’t it? When you were in high school, influence and popularity were one and the same. The popular kids (the ones at the private lunch table who savored their tater tots nerd-free) quickly swayed others’ opinions, fashions and actions. Regardless of the grades on their report cards, popular kids scored high as key influencers.

But what about you in the business world? How do you measure your influence today – and is someone still keeping score?

In this week’s Influential Leader Podcast, the inimitable Chicago entrepreneur Barry Moltz tackles this “influential or popular” question, even sharing how to parlay it into privileges in Las Vegas. Here’s a tidbit of our lively conversation that you’ll hear in the podcast:

BM: There’s a whole new thing going on – are you familiar with an internet service called Klout?

CD: Yes, I am. It’s scary to see your score.

BM: It is scary. I’ll tell you something that’s even scarier, Connie. There’s a hotel in Las Vegas that used to give privileges to high rollers – people who spent a lot of money – and now they’re starting to give privileges to people who have high Klout scores. For example, if you’re staying at the Palms and you give them your Twitter ID, they’ll actually look up your Klout score. And if you have a high Klout score they’ll give you privileges as if you were a high roller! So they really measure what your influence is on other people. What companies like the Palms want is that, if you have a good experience, they want you to Tweet about it. They want you to post it on Facebook so your followers and your friends will see it and therefore they’ll get some good buzz, they’ll get some good publicity.

If you aren’t familiar with, you can learn more about your score in the podcast. And since Barry is the author of “Bam! Delivering Customer Service in a Self Service World” we naturally got into how companies like Amazon are influencing customer service and why growing your personal fan base matters.

CD: We’re getting so used to customization (like Amazon remembering our preferences) – are we becoming a narcissistic nation?

BM: I think we want it when we want it. I call it “pseudo personalization.” We want to be serviced. We want people to be there, because we are, as you said at the outset, used to 24/7 service. My son doesn’t understand; when we order something over the web, why isn’t it here 30 minutes later?

CD: Exactly. How has influence evolved in this self-service world?

BM: We have to understand two things; the first thing is that every single time you’re out there, you’re either extending your own personal or business brand or you’re detracting from your own personal/business brand because – guess what? – people are always reporting on what you’re doing. The second thing is that it used to be only celebrities who have fan bases. But now we all have fan bases. We all have people that we influence, who’ll pass things on to their followers, so we need to be aware of that.

To hear the podcast with Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame inductee Barry Moltz, the influential business guru who helps businesses get un-stuck, click here. For a PDF of the interview transcription, click here.

Where to Learn More About Barry

Barry’s books are a great resource for any leader who wants to grow their business. Here’s where you can pick up a copy of his latest book, “Bam! Delivering Customer Service in a Self-Service World

Barry’s website is loaded with advice to help business leaders get unstuck:

You Write. We Reward.

You can also win a free copy of Barry’s book by leaving a comment on my blog about your worst customer service experience. I’ll send a free copy to the person who posts the best answer. (Influence me!)