Build a bridge between understanding Active Influence as a concept and making it part of your being.
- A New Perspective on Value
- Being & Doing
- It Starts With Self-Awareness
- Knowing What You Value
- Being of Value to Those We Influence
- Value & Vulnerability
“Being” is at the Very Core of Active Influence
In my last blog post several months ago, “Blueprint as Base,” I pointed out that to move from understanding Active Influence as a concept to actually integrating it into your life requires a true thinking-shift — along with specific tools to ground the process of change. Since it’s been a while since my last post, I’m going to start things off with a quick overview of Active Influence:
- Best described by the words “engaged” and “involved”
- Drives/fosters development in others, yourself, and everyone involved
- An intuitive approach that leaders use to actively support individualized development and customized approaches to strategic employee growth
Anyone in any role can be an Active Influencer. Active Influence takes place “in the now” and goes far deeper then strategic planning, which only looks ahead. It manifests in the moment and is in play when a leader intuitively follows these process steps:
- Seek and gain insight
- Recognize perception
- Assume appropriate role
- Determine right action
If you read my last post or are familiar with my work, you’ve seen the Strategic Blueprint. This tool and process help you view the current state (of anything) from a systems perspective — then define your desired future state — and then assess strategic alignment (or lack of it). Creating a Strategic Blueprint zeros in on Key Deliverables – those things that must happen for the future you envision to happen. Mapping out your own personal blueprint gives you a firm strategic foundation from which you can become fully engaged and involved in gaining “value” as you define it. Value must be tangible and necessary for your future.
A New Perspective on Value
Contrary to popular belief, value is actually about “being” versus “doing.” That may sound counterintuitive because we have been conditioned to believe that value is derived by having more of something or “the very best.” In the First Power of Active Influence: Influencing Yourself we discover that your ability to influence is based entirely on what you value. You must stay dialed in on your personal core values, in addition to what you value most right now at this time in your life and work.
— Value is actually about “being” versus “doing” –
In my book, Active Transformation, I talk about the process of transformation and that it doesn’t require a complicated formula. Your Vision plus Values plus Milestones (actions with timelines) will add up to transformation. And your Vision is really about who you want to “be” — not what you want to “do.” Being always comes before the doing. Vision is about performance and achievement. Your values will drive your actions, so it is good to be present with what they are and how they impact your being.
Being and Doing – Always in that order
- Simply put, our being is our essence – that which makes us who we are (on the inside).
- This is how we show up to the world. Almost universally, we don’t have a clear assessment of how we show up in the eyes of others. And it usually differs from how we think we show up.
- Being also involves the experience we create – or how other people access who we are and even what we value.
- Our “being” is what wins the day and is always the first question to be asked by a leader. “Who do I need to be today to achieve, create, keep my commitments, and/or actively influence others?”
- We need to gain awareness in this area so that we can self-correct and redirect ourselves.
Qualities of “Being Present” Mode
- Staying connected being in the present moment is core. We spend a lot of time in our heads making up and telling stories.
- Acknowledgement of how things are in the moment. Willingness to allow things to be just as they are… no efforts to alter/change experience.
- Openness, acceptance and awareness of all emotional states as valid and essential information.
- Many people experience being present as a sense of calmness, stillness, centered, grounded.
- Judgment is put on hold or set aside. Your filters are turned off as much as possible.
- Action – either informed or automatic
- Performance and practice
- Provides a great venue to creating new and different outcomes
- Determining appropriate involvement
- Supporting positive proactive change with the right engagement
- Actively influencing the real world
Qualities of “Doing” Mode
- Awareness of how things “are” and how they “should” be
- Goal-oriented efforts to “fix” things
- Increasingly harder efforts towards reaching goals
- Most actions tend to happen automatically and we work from muscle memory or practice takes over
- Lack of conscious awareness in the present moment
- Focus is necessary and teaches us how to be present with something. It should not be a default mode; action should be a choice as much as possible
It Starts With Self-Awareness
The key to understanding value requires a heightened state of self-awareness. It’s deeply personal because it’s about engagement with everything and everyone around us, and how we interpret ourselves within it all. The reality of influencing others consciously and appropriately requires that we understand ourselves and the influence we have on our own actions, thoughts and personal power to act. The following are baseline truths of human nature:
- That which we are NOT aware of often does or can control us
- That which we ARE aware of we have the possibility and power to start to change or control
Clarity and awareness are always the first step. My best advice is to start noticing first. Notice when you are stopped, act out, become agitated or reserved. Turning on your “noticing” will quickly give you pathways to solutions you may already have. Sometimes things disappear just because we start to be aware of them. Awareness is accelerated by feedback that goes beyond just the content of what we are saying or doing. It is a reflective assessment of how we showed up with them (person giving feedback) or possibly the group.
— The reality of influencing others consciously and appropriately requires that we understand ourselves and the influence we have on our own actions, thoughts and personal power to act. –
Maybe you find yourself less than optimal at meetings, with a supervisor/employee or in front of a team or client. You get triggered by the topics being discussed or the people involved. The next thing that often comes into play is your automatic, already existing way of being. Simply put, you react like you always have — and nothing new is possible in that situation. Worse yet, people stop bringing things up around you, or avoid you all together. Their experience of you is not so much in what you say, but in how you are “being”.
This experience of “how we show up” truly matters; how we are being is what wins the day. It matters regardless of the role someone is in — executive, member of leadership, employee, coach, etc. Get the being right and then the doing will follow. I hope after reading this blog you will be able to start to notice your being in certain situations or with certain people. I also want you to see that there are some new choices you can make. My biggest goal as a leadership consultant and executive coach is to help individuals and teams be the best version of themselves. We all greatly limit our possibilities and even the possibilities of others because of our own lack of awareness. See how value is created through awareness and possibilities are the name of the game when it comes to achievement and change. We want all the possibilities that we can have.
Get the being right and then the doing will follow.
Knowing What You Value
Do you know what you value the most? It requires introspection to fully reveal values. Ask yourself these questions to explore what has the most value to you…..
- What has been getting your attention the most lately?
- When you feel energized both positively and negatively, what are you doing, seeing or focused on? What makes you excited? What are your “pet peeves” with others?
- Depending on your age and your current chapter of life, what have been your most profound experiences and accomplishments? Did you notice any constants through life or changes in importance?
I hope you picked up on the idea that your energy is a very reliable indicator of where you place value and what you value. Having values that are only espoused are not real values. They don’t organize you into action or cost you anything to follow. Once you are aware of your values you can act upon them accordingly. At least that’s what I’m offering up here in this post. To be an Active Influencer, however, you also need to be cognizant of the values of those around you. They may not necessarily clash with yours, but they are tremendous opportunities for alignment. Misalignment is always rooted in differing or poorly understood values. This “missed” alignment is not just with others, but most importantly with ourselves.
— Once you are aware of your values you can act upon them accordingly. —
Being of Value to Those We Influence
Remember that value is in the minds of your customers/employees/others. Their perception (of you and any particular situation) IS their reality. Your perception of value may not match theirs. To be able to actively engage and involve them, you need to gain an understanding of what they value. Here are key questions to consider:
- What will be valued by your customers/employees/personal relationships?
- What will be valued by a specific person?
- How can I be of value or valuable to my customers/family/community?
- What will that (answers to the above questions) require you to be and do?
Value & Vulnerability
All this conversation has an underlying “being” requirement that I’m calling out for distinction. We have to BE VULNERABLE. It’s interesting that the word vulnerable is derived from the Latin vulnus or “to wound.” You’re vulnerable when you take the risk of revealing your true feelings and values. It’s like showing all your cards from the get-go. Acting on your values might mean giving your true thoughts about how business is being run, or offering someone genuinely honest feedback. It is generally not easy to “tell it like you see it” and leave yourself open to whatever comes next as a result. However, you will not be able to involve and engage others in an authentic and effective way unless you act according to your values and make yourself vulnerable.
– You’re vulnerable when you take the risk of revealing your true feelings and values. It’s like showing all your cards from the get-go. —
If you have gone through the Strategic Blueprint process yourself, or participated in one of our team blueprint sessions, you know what it feels like to get everything out on the table. Sometimes it’s raw and messy, sometimes restrained and polite. Regardless of how feelings and thoughts are revealed, it requires the ability to be fully present. You can’t fake present – you’re either there, open and vulnerable, or you’re not. It requires savvy and mature judgment – you don’t need to share what is private or is not relevant to the situation or person. However, keeping something to yourself that, if shared, could shift the possibilities for a better outcome is not being vulnerable.
— You can’t fake being present – you’re either there, open and vulnerable, or you’re not. —
When we take ownership of our perspective and share our point of view appropriately and respectfully, there is generally very little risk and all upside for others to align themselves with you. You just might be the person who has given others the space to share their thoughts and ideas. If you VALUE the growth and success of others, you must BE open and vulnerable. You are tuned in to the “now” and participating in it. Being aligned is at the core of Active Influence, and with practice it becomes a way of being that is intentional, powerful, and transformative.