7 Ways to Enhance Relevance and Increase Influence
You spend the first part of the journey fitting in and pleasing others. In the process you lose relevance.
The thing that makes you “other” is the thing that makes you relevant.
Fitting in makes you irrelevant.
The second part of your journey is about overcoming the irrelevance of the first. Difference, not sameness, enhances relevance and increases influence.
“Compete with your difference,” Dr. Nido Qubein at the World Leaders Conference.
7 relevance enhancers:
- Solutions you find for yourself and others. The problem you want to forget is the stuff that enhances relevance.
- Passion to serve people. The relevance of making things better is the way it impacts people. Management is about people
- Compassion combined with high standards.
- Engagement that overcomes isolation.
- Resilience. Everyone who quits, steps toward oblivion. Find someone who believes in you. Be a person who believes in others.
- Honesty with kindness.
5 tips for standing out:
- Express positive intention.
- Share your story, but beware of whining.
- Enjoy approval from others, but don’t need it.
- Prepare for haters. Everyone who stands out meets haters.
- Don’t try to stand out, be yourself.
Bonus: Fail while trying, but whatever you do, try.
How might leaders enhance their relevance?
What makes you “other?”
Another excellent post. I never gave this idea much thought, but it is very true. If we try to fit in, the diversity of thought, opinion, and impact disappears. America is founded on the idea of diversity, and I believe that if we pull the best from that diversity we can see exponential growth.
Thanks Jay. You extended this idea beautifully. I wasn’t even thinking about diversity. But, it captures an imporant foundational belief for standing out.
I wonder if you see this more often when working with bigger companies Dan. I would suspect that the bigger the organization the more of a tendency there is to go with the herd and not stick out for fear of being singled out. Therefore the bigger the company the more important it is for leadership to encourage and even protect those that stick out and then later fail along the way to their original stand out goals or mission.
Thanks James. That’s a really useful observation. It seems the more an organization grows the more pressure there is to “fit in.” I’ll add that top-down organizations demand fitting in. If you stand out in this type of organization you may end up OUT.
Fascinating, thought provoking post. And, very timely for me. Thank you. I think this idea applies in social on the ground) and in work settings. Would be interesting to map out some ideas that intersect with those of Dr. Qubein. And, to consider how one lives in this contradiction- of staying strong, relevant and connected while- at the same time – not fitting in.
There may be some patterns to map out, and it would be interesting to see what major categories would emerge beyond what is in this post. I tend to think that every situation is unique – going back to the idea of diversity that was mentioned. As I transitioned through my new position in a relatively large organization, I found an initial honeymoon phase where having a different perspective was new information for the group. That was followed by stages of grief with no shortage of suffering. As it is with every loss – there is gain. Looking back it was probably a natural transition from who I was to who I have become.
Good post. I believe I have a staff who has made the whole trip. From fitting in then being a unique relevant idea guy. The problem now is the ideas and actions are so far off the basic needs of the organization they are not productive and are a distraction at almost every meeting.. basically looks at and fights for the lowest impact ideas. Any suggestions?
“Engagement that overcomes isolation” can be a tough one sometimes when you keep running up against status quo-lovers. I’ve learned over time that you just have to keep at it with your new ideas, because when you back away, they’re happy to just forget about you and to keep doing what they’re doing. I’ve learned in my current job that at the end of a meeting, if everyone is happy with my plan, then it’s probably not going far enough and needs to be rethought.
Uniformity (fitting in) kills innovation. Unity (working together while appreciating our diversity) creates ownership, belonging, and impact.
Dan, with respect to the age-old question—Why fit-in when we can stand-out?—are you answering the question (by enhancing relevance and increasing influence)? Or, are you saying there’s a “time” for fitting-in and for standing-out?
Also, with respect to leaders and staff members alike, is it possible we “stand-out” when we
Dan,Being yourself is what counts, we are not intended to be cloned, some rise above and standout some just mosey along riding the waves, while others plunge to the depths. Most important is they are choices we make. Should we decide to ride the wave or stand out? The freedom of choice is what is grand about our lives except we all truly do not have total control of our destiny.
I love this post. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by Winston Churchill: “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”
This is the essence of who I am … which makes you a target of those who try to blend in.
As a kid I was a lone wolf … avoided the crowd … observed mob mentality with curiosity but did not succumb to it. I guess I was “weird”. At some organizations, I often rubbed managers and employers the wrong way because I made truthful observations that went against the grain and company’s perception of itself. I don’t like elephants in the room so I would point them out. Being unique is not easy but those who chose to be unique are the true leaders and they are the best people to have around in a company who wants to be successful.