In hindsight, the bedazzled briefcases signaled the debacle ahead. Let's set aside the Best Picture envelope nestled inside that caused the ruckus. The topsy-turvy spectacle was triggered by these black attachès—adorned with the golden logos of the Oscars and PriceWaterhouseCooper. These swag-clad beauties were designed to draw attention to the power couple as the accounting partners sashayed down the red carpet. And therein lies the root cause of the problem. When your accountant walks the runway, leaders should run the other direction.
The CEO firing was direct and dismissive. Barnes & Noble didn't stick to the bland yet reliable “we’re moving in a different direction” script when it booted Chief Executive Officer Ron Boire. They didn’t give him a gentle heave-ho with the old standby “he’s stepping down to pursue different opportunities” tale. Instead, Barnes & Noble whacked their CEO in bold fashion. The core issue is trust. And trust is an endless dance.
His greatness — and crossover appeal — lived at the intersection of humanity, athleticism, and activism. Even in death, his presence is felt everywhere. Muhammad Ali was by far the most influential presence in sports. How did he shake up the world and rise from reviled to revered? And what can you do to build your own influential presence? Here are five lessons from Ali’s epic presence that you can use to maximize your own greatness:
You only needed to scroll through the photos of iconic buildings bathed in purple on the days following Price's death to see evidence of his presence. From the Eiffel Tower to the Superdome, the world glowed his signature color. As we ponder his death and the outpouring of grief and tributes, I offer this thought: your presence is what remains in your absence. Not only when you leave the planet, but just as importantly to your leadership, every time you leave the room. Nearly every leader underestimates the impact that their presence has upon their ability to lead. They don't understand what presence is. They don't realize that it follows them everywhere and directly influences how whether their leadership will be successful or fail miserably. They think it's an undefined "X" factor and leave it to the rumor mill to decide how others define them. Crucial mistake. I'd like to offer five qualities of an influential presence that I've culled from Prince's legacy:
This quick read pinpoints why Mary Barra's presence is influential and what you can learn from her growth. Senior executive advisor Connie Dieken demystifies how Barra sharpened her presence and gained gravitas to deliver messages that reverberate around the globe.
Think about the paradoxes in your life. You want to exude executive presence—yet still be genuine. You want to hone your speaking and influence skills—but not appear manipulative. You want to inspire top performance from others—yet not drive away top talent with your demands. You want to be—and to be seen as—the real deal. How do you balance the polarities of perfection and authenticity to lead at your peak level?
"Just be yourself." As a piece of advice, it’s common—even clichéd. But it’s far more demanding than it sounds, isn’t it? If you’re a leader, you’re on the receiving end of relentless and often conflicting advice about how to present yourself to the world. Perhaps you’re urged to be active on social media in order to...
Membership on a senior leadership team gives you immense cachet. You’re in a circle of highly visible, powerful leaders. Your role is complex. You simultaneously manage your own business unit, function, or division while serving on a senior team that creates the organization’s future. To boot, you may be vying with those peers for a higher spot in the succession plan. As an executive coach, I’ve noticed that many of you are grappling with some loaded questions: Do I have influence with my peers? How do I add value? And how do I handle the conflicts that arise when strong-willed leaders butt heads? Here are a few ideas to ponder:
As an executive, you're called upon to deliver important messages to your organization and the marketplace. People look to you to set the tone in public speaking. You want to come across as a strong leader, but natural. To complicate matters, your busy schedule doesn't allow a minute to spare. That's why you need to master the Teleprompter. Man and the machine are converging in today's media-centric world. If you're a leader, you're now a broadcaster. Or at least a narrowcaster with consequences. Soon, you'll be called upon to record crisp messages for both your organization's intranet and the broader Internet.
As you watched the London Olympics, you may have wondered, "Why does one athlete reach her golden goal while another with equal talent falters?" Sports psychologists tell us the athlete who hauls in the hardware has learned to manage her anxiety. Same with influential leaders and presenters. After a decade of coaching executives, I've learned the key is to manage your anxiety, not try to control it. Managing and controlling are two different mindsets. If you manage your anxiety, you'll stay focused, which radically reduces your stress and improves the outcome. If you try to control it, you give the anxiety too much power. Trying to control your nerves while delivering a presentation makes you vulnerable because...
She's a smart cookie. Medical student Priscilla Chan inspired her famously private boyfriend, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, to lead a public health revolution. Over dinnertime chat, Priscilla shared stories of how patients she interacted with that day were impacted by organ donations. Those who failed to find donors were dying. Those lucky enough to be on the receiving end of donations lived. Priscilla lit up like a firecracker when she shared stories about lives saved. "Why don't more people donate?" she wondered, "If only people knew about the critical shortage of organs for people who are desperately in need." That's where dinner talk turned to into action.
Let's set aside the color featured in her saucy book trilogy for a moment. The shade that's dominating the New York Times bestseller list. Literary sensation E.L. James is tickled pink. The author of Fifty Shades of Grey is simultaneously revving the engines of women and upending the publishing world. Originally a self-published author – and a first-timer, at that – James is stunned that she's influencing the way books are bought and sold. In a statement to the BBC, James calls it "an extraordinary and wholly unexpected adventure." Fifty Shades began as a free e-book, allowing for discrete buying for those who didn't want others to know they were reading erotica. After eager book club members started recommending it, the trilogy exploded and went viral. (Not to be confused with the naughty acts she writes about, of course.)
The Oscar's Red Carpet was the center of the universe Sunday night, featuring wildly expensive couture and jewels, taut bodies and sometimes tauter faces. But turns out, fashion's biggest night was hijacked by J.C Penney. Yes, J.C. Penney. The boring one. The 110-year-old retailer used Hollywood's hottest night to reveal its own facelift. The company, now led by former Apple Inc. executive Ron Johnson, unveiled five clever ads during the Oscar telecast, featuring spokeswoman Ellen DeGeneres.
In a week that's featured the return of Adele's powerfully emotional voice, the silencing of Whitney Houston's soaring vocals, and the imminent finale of Glen Campbell's crooning to Alzheimer's disease, I feel compelled to share this this truth: Use your voice. It's the center of your influence. Ever lost your voice? I've been silenced by a case of full blown laryngitis this week and am under doctor's orders to stay completely silent for 48 hours. No talking. No whispering. Not so much as a gentle throat clearing. You'd be surprised at how much you learn about your ability to influence when you're suddenly silent – and what others imply by your stillness.
The All American linebacker with the crazy face paint – that's how Mark Herzlich was defined during his stellar football career at Boston College. Then came cancer. Doctors hoped to redefine the 2008 Atlantic Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year as Mark Herzlich, cancer survivor. Finished with football, yet alive and well. But Mark disagreed. He had a goal. Always ambitious, he was still determined to become Mark Herzlich, NFL linebacker.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer's tarmac tiff with President Obama influenced a major book bump. Who knew that her Scorpions for Breakfast tome even existed before the photo-op transformed it into a best-seller? Apparently not many. Brewer's book rocketed from No. 343,000 up to No. 7 in Amazon book rankings as a result of tarmac time. That's an astonishing literary leap. She transformed a digit on her right hand into a handy digital sales tool.
Wikipedia went dark for a day and illuminated the world on how to influence boldly in the 21st century. The site's massive one-day protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) stopped something, alright. It stopped the Hollywood-inspired bill in its tracks. The political sponsors quickly turned tail after a tribe of Wikipedia-influenced constituents weighed in. In Wikipedia's words, its supporters "shut down Congress's switchboards and melted their servers." According to the website, 162 million sets of eyeballs viewed...
2011 was a bonfire of the vanities of leaders losing their influence. From sex scandals and financial fiascos to arrogance and morality missteps, the year was packed with one powerful public demise after another. Why did these leaders fall so hard? They confused influence with manipulation. Influence is a balanced approach to changing hearts, minds and results, while manipulation is fueled by a self-centered agenda. Followers quickly turn on leaders when they feel they're being played. Here are my picks for the "Worst Influencers Alive in 2011"...
2011 separated the influencers from the manipulators. One by one, once-admired leaders from the athletic office to the corner suite to Wall Street toppled like dominoes. Turns out they lacked influence. Why? Because they misjudged what influence really means. My list of the "Top Influencers Alive" may surprise you.That's my point. Despite conventional wisdom, influence and persuasion are not the same animal. After decades of advising top leaders, I've concluded that persuasion is a self-centered skill – it's manipulation fueled by a personal agenda run amok. Influence is a balanced approach to change hearts, minds and results. There are three dimensions of a true influencer. Do you measure up?
Increasingly, leaders like you are facing language barriers, both within your global organizations and in front of audiences in presentations. With that in mind, I'd like to share three quick lessons that I have learned.
Tim Sanders is a confidence guru. A New York Times bestselling author, riveting keynote speaker and former Yahoo executive, Tim has written a compelling new book called Today We Are Rich: Harnessing the Power of Total Confidence that's loaded with insights on how to develop unshakable confidence in a shaky world.
Confidence is more critical now than ever in the economy we're facing today. It's essential to cultivate it so you can seize opportunities and avoid pitfalls. But it's not just recent graduates who crave confidence - every C-suite executive whom I've had the privilege to coach wants a booster shot to help them be more influential and make things happen.
Les McKeown doesn't buy into the common belief that passion and authenticity can make you influential. It's not that he's a contrarian - but this über-successful business author and serial entrepreneur pinpoints another, more specific reason for why leaders influence others.
Carol Roth is a leader you should know. Think of her as Suze Orman, one generation removed; she's a financial braintrust who leapfrogged from working class to privileged status through sheer determination and wicked smarts.
It struck me recently that you may associate influence with two things: money or charisma. You may think you need one or both to be a convincing leader who influences others and makes things happen.
Being a confident communicator who influences others is a choice you make each and every day.
How you communicate a message has a direct impact on your ability to influence opinions.
You heard about the married politician caught trysting with his girlfriend in Argentina. On the day he was caught returning from his fun in the sun, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford held a hasty, free association press conference at the statehouse to drop the bomb.