Friday, November 24, 2017

The Influence Effect by Kathryn Heath, Jill Flynn, Mary Davis Holt, and Diana Faison

Politics. Most of us react like it’s a dirty word and it doesn’t change any when we talk about workplace politics. Those are even worse because politics at work is more personal, tangible, and the elephant in the room. Some people are manipulative at politics in the workplace to the point where it’s over the top and nauseating. Sadly, politics at work is a necessary evil, and for most women, it’s a nightmare and can paralyze us.

No one “trains” women how to work political so when we are newly minted in a job, it can be a shock to be told to start “politicking,” or we see it and feel lost or beaten down. Men are better at the game because they think “winning” and women tend to think more about “building.” Which one works the best? The new book The Influence Effect by Kathryn Heath, Jill Flynn, Mary Davis Holt, and Diana Faison is a must read for all women who are in business or just jumping into the fray. You can’t afford to not read and use this book as a map for wandering through the political minefield in the workplace.

Politics seems to come naturally to most men. As women, we fight it, fear it, and it appears dirty. It doesn’t need to be. Women need to think about politics in a new light. We have some natural gifts that many men lack and we can use them to forge relationships and become masters at politics with soul, relationship focus, and positive influence. Women need to realize that politics is all about bringing people together, making a positive inclusive change, using power as a tool, and make our voices heard with a seat at the table.

The Influence Effect offers tools and strategies to encourage women to look at politics as a positive. The authors have all been in our seats and know that influencing those around us is the key to success. The more influence that we can foster, the more opportunities that we have to hear our voices heard and can make an impact without “playing” politics. Using our influence enables us to create agendas, make connections, bring teams together and make a change. Influence is “the tool of the times” and women can’t avoid jumping in to use our natural gifts.

The Influence Effect is divided into three parts and each one builds on fostering your influence and growing self-confidence. They include: Prepare to influence, Practice the five strategies, and Influence in action. Each chapter is rich with real stories and struggles of women and how they coped with political success and failure. There are point summaries to ask yourself and review to enable the reader to learn and reflect.

The meat of The Influence Effect are the five strategies that we are given to build our influence and make a change. Each approach will open your eyes to possibilities, empower your efforts while feeling supported. Here are the strategies that you need to learn to be in the influence driver’s seat:

  1. The power of the informal
  2. Relationship maps
  3. Scenario thinking
  4. Influence loops
  5. Momentum

I guarantee that each of these strategies will encourage you to become hungry to become more influential in a proactive manner. It’s comforting reading the stories of other women who have been in our shoes and have learned to overcome and make politics an asset. The Influence Effect will open your eyes to the world that men have lived in for so long yet show you how to succeed with a woman’s touch. We can strategize, think and act, and build teams with our form of influence. Pick up The Influence Effect today to embark on your own journey.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Made For Amazing - An Instrumental Journey of Authentic Leadership Transformation by Mark Nation

One of my favorite things to ask people is how they landed in the spot that they are in today. Career-wise, most people aren’t in the vocation that they prepared for years ago. In life, people have moved to places and done things that they never thought that they would. Everyone has a story, and we can learn so much from the journey of others. I’m particularly fascinated to glean some insight and advice from others so that I can learn from their experiences.

Made For Amazing – An Instrumental Journal of Authentic Leadership Transformation by Mark Nation teaches us valuable leadership lessons as we follow the story of Joshua Lynk who is conflicted from his childhood experiences and the absence of a father. Josh has some incredible musical talent. However, he feels disconnected and unsure of himself and those feelings impact his ability to see and share his real gifts. Josh has a strong connection with his grandfather who knows Joshua better than he knows himself. His grandfather entices him to look deep inside himself for happiness and his purpose yet, Josh ignores him and instead goes on a long journey to follow fame and fortune instead.

Joshua’s journey is one of continuous self-doubt and pity for himself. He ends up losing his family and himself along the way. In the end, Josh leaps back to his childhood home where he and his grandpa shared music, stories, and dreams. It is there that Josh discovers himself and his purpose.

The story of Joshua will resonate with us all. Aren’t we all a bit lost and pretend that we are confident and know our purpose? Most of us need a journey where we search our souls for what gives us meaning, what we need to feel fulfilled, and have a sense of self-worth. Mark’s book and the intimate story of Josh will push you to embark on your personal journey to find your purpose and ultimately live from your own heart. Mark encourages us to overcome any mental struggles that we have and invites us in “finding your song at work and in life.”

Every one of us has unique gifts, yet we fear uncovering them. To use your talent, you need to find it and then believe in it. When you find your gifts you can then impact others and use your leadership to transform those that you are around. Made For Amazing is not just a story. It is an “action guide” to spur us on to start our journey. We are offered some useful thought-provoking questions to ask ourselves as well as discussion points at the end of the book. These tools will help you painlessly find your purpose and your real authentic self. We were all made to be amazing, and it’s up to us to bring that out and create our true music.