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Power Play (Part One of Three)

While working with a client the other day, I was reminded of some work I had done years ago related to influence. At that time, I had a series of clients who wanted to be more influential in the lives of others.

I had no material to share at that time. I remembered some relevant resources I had been exposed to during graduate work in college along with a series of very long conversations on the topic with a close friend.

Moving to the challenge, I went back to the material and conversations and put together something significant they could relate to. I developed a quick overview of "power" as a primer. The finished primer helped my clients really connect with the power forms 1) that affected them most; and 2) that they most chose to use. The shared work was life changing for them and delightful for me.

If you're interested in a positive benefit for yourself in this matter, let's review that work here, today. We'll do this by focusing on "power" and its many forms.

In basic management terms, influence in relationships is power. To some people, they do not understand the power play between them and others. Often, they do not make relevant connections because of this. This can create outcomes that cause poor results in relationships both personal and professional.

How do you get a much better prospective on this topic, specifically to benefit yourself and others? Glad you asked! Sometimes information in the form of an analogy often helps to make a more solid connection. The following analogy helps identify influence for what it is.

If you have ever had the pleasure of using electricity and receiving a power bill for its use, then you can follow a quick story about power of the electrical type.

When we plug an electric appliance into an outlet, we plug into a source of potential energy. That source gives us the potential energy necessary to "power" our device. It does not do it however unless we create both a path and allow that energy to flow down that path.

By turning on the plugged in device, we do just that; we allow that potential energy to flow. Afterward we receive a bill (at the end of the month) for the power we used. That bill is in units called "watts," which in its simplest way, is a description of the time we allowed that potential energy to flow.

Again, without the path, the potential that is in the wall wires cannot be realized. Energy cannot flow and so, nothing occurs. This includes the bill being generated concerning its use.

Let's see how this analogy applies to power and its use in our relating to others in our day to day interactions.

The elements of "power" are very simple. They build on the "ability to do." In fact, the root of the word "power" literally means "to do." It is "action" and the most likely synonym for the word "power" is "influence," which means "in flow." "Influence" is itself a word describing action (motion) and is often used in relationships to describe the energy flow between people to produce effects or affect others. Another way of looking at this is "something is occurring."

When it comes to people, influence in relationships takes two forms. The forms are based on 1) what we can offer others; and 2) how others view us. In both cases, it is personal action taken because of the wants, needs or desires of one person in relationship to another.

An important point to remember is that power is non existent if nothing is occurring. This includes choices not to take any action. That too is an occurrence. Because something must happen for power to exist, the most important question to remember as a reality check is to ask "Is anything occurring?" A sister question to this last one is "what's happening?"

When it comes to knowledge, there is no empowerment if the information is stored without usage. Knowledge becomes inventory at that moment and might even become a neck weight if it is not put into action.

This little quirk of knowledge is why I always put homework at the end of these writings. If you don't put it into action, nothing happens . . .

To Review:

  1. What positive potentials do you have in your life that are not being tapped?
  2. What negative potentials need to stop flowing?
  3. Create a list of your self-generated influences, both what you have to offer and how people view you. Which of these do you see impacting your life and others most?
  4. Create a list of your outside influences, both what others have to offer and how you view others. Which of these do you see impacting your life and others most?
  5. Review each item on your lists as a heavy or light influence.
  6. Look closely to see if a pattern surrounds these influences.
  7. Which one is most dominant?

More on this next time.

Have a Bodacious Week!

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Coach John S. Nagy is CEO and Lead Business Coach for Coaching for Success. Inc., a Business Coaching Service specifically designed for top level decision makers dedicated to peak performance in all facets of their activities. Hes hired to focus them continuously in activities that bring higher returns on their resource use. His programs are for the seriously committed. This means having his clients work "ON" their businesses, not just "IN" it. Hes a published author and a multi-degree professional with a nationwide client base. Coach Nagy can be reached through his E-mail address at his website at http://www.coach.net and by calling 813-949-0718.
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Copyright 2000 John S. Nagy


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