Power + Influence = Bandwidth!

I’m still amazed at how many people I visit with that think they have neither power nor influence. Helping them understand that it’s impossible not to have either one of those attributes is more rewarding than I can describe.

We all exert some kind of power and influence over someone. It’s impossible to communicate without those two components coming into play. However, it’s important to understand that you either exert control over someone or you’re under the control of someone. More importantly, you have a choice of which side of that control you want to spend the most time on.

We’ve built a culture that teaches people to tolerate a powerful ruler, and even seek one out, when no authority figure is readily available. We build schools around the idea that powerful teachers, coaches and administrators tell us what to do, rather than influence us to think for ourselves. We go to a placement office to find a job instead of starting our own idea, because we’ve been taught that this is the way things work, it’s reliable, and it’s safer. In short, we’ve been taught not to take risks.

I remember the first time I created a footprint on the internet with my first website. It was very frightening. I felt the same way when I ‘went out there’ on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. I remember how I felt when I put my first Blog post out there. The first thought I had was not only whether anyone would find it interesting, but whether anyone I knew would see it and think differently about me than I wanted them to. In short, I was scared of the kind of power and influence I might have!

What everyone is missing in today’s environment is that power doesn’t scale like it used to. It doesn’t reside with only the elite, the political or the wealthy. To use an IT description, everyone is beginning to realize they have bandwidth now.

Truth Be Told, we each have power and influence. We just have to plug into it!

Published by The Leadership Consortium

Maxie Carpenter was formerly Vice President of HR & Talent Development for Wal-Mart Stores. After a 27-year career, he began to pursue a number of other interests, which included alternative education, nonprofits, consulting, writing and public speaking.

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