On The Art of Influence

I just finished reading The Art of Influence – Persuading Others Begins with You – by Chris Widener. This book was recommended to me by my mentor. This book is a parable on influence and its fundamental role in leadership. As Chris describes it: “Influence is the key to success. Influence is the art of business.” Through the story of Marcus and Bobby, we learn about the Four Golden Rules of Influence:

1) Live a life of undivided integrity

2) Always demonstrate a positive attitude

3) Consider other people’s interests as more important than your own

4) Don’t settle for anything less than excellence

While the above learnings are by no means novel, they are formulated and presented in a very educative, entertaining and thoughtful manner. A highly recommended quick read, that as Mark Sanborn writes: “reminds us of the bedrock fundamentals not only of influence but of a life well lived.”

Below are some excerpts that I found particularly insightful:

1- “Persuasion is about what you do to other people. It is about techniques… Influence, in the other hand, is about you…Influence is your ability to change another person’s thoughts, beliefs, or actions. In order to be successful in business, you have to be able to influence people.”

2- “You can’t decide if you are going to be a leader. You can only decide if you will become the type of person others want to follow.”

3- “Thomas Jefferson quote – there is a ‘Natural aristocracy among men, the grounds of which is virtue and talent.”

4- On Fishing: “…you’ve got to have fish…you’ve got to wait until they are hungry…you have to use the right king of bait…the last important factor in fishing is presentation.”

5- “…let me tell you about integrity. It is all you have. It is the foundation of everything else you do. Without it, you are lost in business. Ultimately the relationship between leader and follower, between buyer and seller, is about trust. Without integrity, it is impossible to trust.”

6- “Always demonstrate a positive and optimistic attitude. That is how I influence these superstars I have to lead.”

7- “What should they do? (When things go wrong) They need to ask the positive and optimistic question: What good can come from this? That question will help you focus on solutions. It will focus you on a better future. And bringing people to a better future is what influence is all about. Optimism is a choice that we make.

8- On leadership by walking around: “…what matters is what you do when you walk around. I make sure that I am looking out for my people and building relationships. I make sure they know that I care about them and am interested in them.”

9- “People are attracted to excellence, so when we live our lives with excellence, people view us in a different way than if we didn’t. They actually respect us more, and give us more  opportunity to influence them.”

Regards,

Omar Halabieh

The Art of Influence

The Art of Influence

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