Leadership and Influence…It is All About Relationships

True influence is the everyday commerce of leadership.

Once you get out of the transactional loop, you are free to enjoy the relationships of life that come with influence. Relationships then become the norm, not the exception.

Is there such a thing as a perfect relationship? “No,” you may argue, “nothing can be perfect.” While I agree with you, I will tell you that I believe it is possible to form strong bonds even in a world of greed, power, and corruption. These powerful relationships exist in business and in communities. How does this occur?

Once you free yourself by letting go of your own wants and needs and focusing on serving others, your vantage point changes. You will be free to serve and give without fear of losing. You will see other people’s needs as joyful opportunities for service. It is possible to have empowering relationships in all aspects of life.

Influence Model

The influence model is a tool that can be used to help leaders move from mediocrity to a life of lasting impact. The model is built, established, and run on trust.

Influence requires commitment. This is precisely why most people do not have much impact: it costs something. In fact, every influential person in my life has sacrificed either time, energy, or effort to influence me.

Leaders do not fully control their influence. Yet living a life of impact means that influence is possible all of the time.


Have you heard about the Executive CORE yet? The next group begins this June and I would love for you to consider joining us for a year of immense growth for you, your family and your organization. You can learn more by visiting the Executive CORE website. Thank you!


Free Guide: Developing Your Leadership Tempo

Leadership is difficult.

As a leader, you are tasked with growing the business, developing your team, and balancing your life outside of work along the way. For the overwhelming majority of people, getting into a consistent routine is very difficult.

One of our foundational tools at GiANT Worldwide is called “Tempo, Balance, Focus”. We use it to challenge leaders to develop a way of living and leading that makes them more effective, more fulfilled, and expands their overall influence.

For those of you who have been following the blog for a while now, you know that each month we release a free resource for you to use by yourself and with your team. If you haven’t already done so, take a look at our previous resources by visiting the Resources page. On there you will find a New Year’s planning guide, 5 Questions Effective Leaders Cannot Ignore, and a GiANT Guide to Leading with Love.

Free Resource: Developing Your Leadership Tempo

The resource for April takes a deeper look into the issue of “Tempo” as it relates to leadership. This guide will walk you through a simple process of identifying what your ideal tempo looks like for your year, each month, each week and each day.

Leaders who are able to find the right rhythm and routine are the ones who are most influential.

To view and download this resource, simply click below to join our email list. After that, we’ll send you a copy for free. You’ll also receive new resources as they become available.

Developing Your Leadership Tempo

Click here to Download: Developing Your Leadership Tempo

Perfect Tendencies

Do you know someone who’s perfect? The way they act, communicate, handle pressure and conduct themselves is all in line with how you would like them to be all the time? They never annoy you. The only way someone could answer yes to this question is if they aren’t married and live alone in the woods with their dog. We all accept that everyone is different and true relationship is a give and take.

Perfect Tendencies

How About Leaders?

Have you ever worked for a perfect leader? Another impossibility. Think about the good and bad leaders in your life. What were the tendencies that they had, good and bad? Were they aware of these tendencies? I doubt it. Read more

Learning My Role

Ned and I were having breakfast on purpose… my purpose. How quickly things can change!

My Purpose

At the time I was leading a not-for-profit organization and we had what I thought were big plans to make a big difference in the world. Though Ned was not on our board of directors, he had been a significant contributor to our cause and now that I was rolling out some new initiatives wanted Ned’s counsel, his advocacy, and hopefully his investment.

I had sent Neb a copy of our strategic plan the night before, high on vision, yet grounded realistic logistics. In order to fulfill our mission to make a difference in our city we needed some infrastructure improvements in our property, some additional staff, and some upgraded technology… a hefty reach for our budget but necessary for our purpose. Still, I felt confident I could win Ned.


“So, what do you think?” I asked him between bites of his breakfast. Ned looked at me, half smiled and pulled out his copy of my document. “This is all fine,” he said. Pause… “But it doesn’t excite me.”

I swallowed my hash browns, hard. This wasn’t what I’d expected. “So, what excites you?” I added, feeling more defensive than I let show. Ned flipped to the backside of the paper where he scribbled notes. “I’ll tell you…”

Changing a Nation

And he did. For the next 30 minutes Ned lit up with the passion of a true zealot. He shared how he and a group of fellow engineers had recently visited Afghanistan and how doors were open to them to help rebuild the infrastructure of that nation. He told me how they were now planning to build a gas pipeline across the country with the purpose of being able to say “Christians did this!”

I sat dumb and dumber. “So sure, you need a new roof on your building; But you gotta understand, we’re going to change a nation! That’s what I get excited about.” I looked sheepishly at my little paper. Then I heard myself say, “So, how can I help you?”

My Role

Like many leaders I have spent much of my energy dreaming up a worthy vision and trying to get others to join me in the chase. I want to do something significant, and I want to help others do the same. But what I’m discovering – finally in my fifth decade – is that my primary role as a leader is not to muster support for my vision, but to Love, which we define as:

Fighting for the highest possible good in the life of another.

I had come to that breakfast intending to motivate Ned to fight for my cause; I left having committed to lend my influence to fight for the purpose that ignited his heart. And that encounter, simple as it was, changed my understanding of leadership.

On Culture: Change vs. Innovation

How do you know when something is changing versus innovating?

I am in the innovation business. My personality testing heavily labels me an innovator. So do my friends, family and others.

I am also in the change business. Again, my testing shows that I like change and so does my history.

So how do you know when something is innovating or if something is changing?

The reality is when innovation occurs, change happens in accordance to the scope of that innovation. Similarly, when change occurs, things adapt to the change in the form of innovation.

The secret is in the intent of the leader of the particular change or innovation. And since most people don’t like change I think it is important for you to go through a process of determining which is which. Here is a template that might help…

1. What is the leader or person trying to do? For instance, President Obama wants to reform health care in the United States. Is this innovation or change? He says he wants every applicable American to have health insurance. They currently do not. By asking what the leader is trying to do you can see if it is simply an innovation of an older system or wholesale change. In this example I believe he is seeking change over innovation.

2. What are the positives and negatives of either the change or innovation? I find that, as adults, if we will simply list the positive implications and or negative outcome (almost as a worst case scenario) it will reign in the emotions and exaggerations that typically come from media frenzy or co-worker gossip.

3. What will happen if we don’t innovate or we don’t change? While most people are afraid of change, I believe they would really be afraid of what would happen if no innovation happened. What happens to companies when they don’t innovate to meet the needs of customers or industries? The answer: they go out of business and people lose their jobs. Is innovation or change bad then?

Innovation can be extremely rewarding and it can be messy.

Change can be very fun and it most likely will be frustrating.

The secret to managing your emotions and understanding change is to diagnose the intent of the leader of change, review the pros and cons, and ask the hard questions of what would happen if we didn’t innovate.

You might just find yourself engaged like never before because you understand what people are trying to accomplish and you can choose to follow or protest. In turn, that may cause you to enjoy change and innovation more than you ever thought possible.