GQ Magazine has released its list of the "25 Least Influential People." Here's the problem: The list measures the wrong thing. Before you say, "Lighten up, Connie," please consider that I get it. While I've spent the past decade as an executive coach, my previous career was in – gasp – journalism. I understand that the "Least Influential" list is meant to be provocative, even profane, to win attention in a media-saturated world. Being GQ, the list is clever and targets the interests of its male audience. But even writer Drew Magary concedes that the premise of his list is dead wrong. For example as he notes about his #6 pick, foam finger-toting Miley Cyrus, "What's sad is that it totally worked."
Dr. Martin Luther King's gravitas was cemented 50 years ago. The queen of comfort food, Paula Deen, became persona non grata in many business circles this year. I was thinking about the parallel this morning, beyond the obvious racial context. There's a leadership lesson here that's crucial to YOUR ability to have a positive, lasting impact on others. Forget the fame factor. Set aside the race aspect. This is deeply personal.