What’s the Easiest Way to Expand Your Influence?

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There are two ways to make yourself indispensable:

1. You can provide the grease that helps the wheels of the entire machine turn smoothly


2.You can withhold a cog, without which the machine won’t run at all


The second way is often our fight-or-flight reaction to feelings of insecurity. We can create or otherwise exploit an existing scarcity to increase our feelings of certainty, power, and/or significance, perhaps by


Refusing to teach others how to do something you can do very well

Not making introductions so others don’t horn in on your relationships

Not showing others where to find essential resources; or

Withholding or otherwise waiting an unnecessarily long time before providing requested information


We make ourselves feel more important, more powerful, because we have ensured that – for the time – we are necessary.


Do we wield influence in these circumstances? Yes. But it is manipulative and forced, which is far less gratifying, lonely, and most importantly, it is stagnant at best, limited to that momentary exchange.


In contrast, and perhaps counterintuitively, the first approach – being “the grease” – creates a completely different dynamic.


When we voluntarily offer assistance, resources, information, advice, or introductions to others, even when we don’t have to, it comes from a place of generosity, collaboration, and integrity.


It demonstrates confidence and selfless integrity, and shows that you want to help others succeed for their own sake, and for the benefit of the organization overall, knowing that in a healthy culture, each person’s success benefits the group.


Do we wield influence in these circumstances? Absolutely. And THAT kind of influence has a very different flavor. It builds trust, and encourages others to reciprocate to you and others alike with similar generosity and transparency.


Extending the offer to share something or include someone is not only the easiest way to have momentary influence, but the residual effects are positive and lasting.


Simply put, “Influence expands when you share information.”


Those words of wisdom were shared this week on the Speaking to Influence podcast by our guest Jennifer Ewbank, Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (the CIA) for Digital Innovation.


When working with global teams on covert operations that could literally mean life or death for people, it’s no time for a power play. Ensuring all collaborators have access to all necessary information is the fastest way to ensure success – and safety – for all.


Most importantly, she realized that once she started proactively sharing information, others did the same. To me it sounded like there was a “stone soup” effect of sorts, where each person’s contributions led to a new whole that was truly greater than the sum of its parts: Barriers came down, relationships built up, and her influence began to expand.



Is it a contradiction to “be yourself” and do undercover work? Not when it comes to building your team. From early on in her career, trying to fit in as a young female team member in a room full of men, Jennifer discovered the secret to her success:


“Be yourself and succeed or be someone else and fail.”


More specifically: “Be the best version of yourself.”


Listen to the full conversation here or watch the video on YouTube here.


You’ll learn more about how many languages she speaks fluently (I speak three well, and bits and pieces of several others… and I was IMPRESSED by and JEALOUS of her answer!), how to avoid the pitfall of being “on transmit more than receive,” and so much more.


One other conversation you won’t want to miss is this Friday at noon ET on LinkedIn Live and YouTube Live.


Do you ever feel like you know exactly what value someone would get from using your product, service or company, but don’t know how to explain it clearly and simply to others? If you’re like most people, there is a resounding “YES!” going through your head right now.


That’s why our topic is, How to Articulate Your ROI In Concrete Terms” with Keith Campagna, Chief Sales Officer of The ROI Shop. We’ll use his company’s product as a case study and metaphor for how to look at operationalizing the quantitative and/or qualitative value of your product or service on October 21,2022 from 12:00 Noon to 12:45 PM. RSVP here.



You’ll even get a chance to practice applying what you learn to your own elevator pitch. What could be better? Tune in HERE and find out!


But this week I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Jennifer:


“Effective communication is at the heart of a good relationship.”


Whether business or personal, you can’t argue with that, so register HERE today.

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