Author Archives: Paul LaRue

Book Review – Positive Influence

Positive influence is a term I’ve used many times over the years. And now authors Michael Parker and Glenn Parker have put together a practical book that brilliantly defines the term.

The premise of Positive Influence is summed up very succinctly in the subtitle “The Leader Who Helps People Become Their Best Self“. Leaders who use their platform to make other people the best that they can become in a powerfully positive manner end up leaving an incredible legacy. And as the authors point out, not just in the leader’s life, but in the countless lives of others they have influenced.

Michael and Glenn take you through a variety of business people, entertainers, politicians and everyday people form all spectrum and facets of life to support their studies of positive, influential leaders.

The four portions of the book are simple and fundamentally sound for transforming the leadership impact you can create.

They start by establishing the interconnected world and symbiosis we all need and have in one another. They show how teamwork (one of Glenn’s hallmark focuses in his career) and leaning on others are the basis for anything worthwhile that is accomplished.

They then explain and elaborate on the four types of positive leaders – the Supportive Leader, the Teacher Leader, the Motivating Leader and the ROle Model Leader. They show great examples of these types and how their impact is still felt in present day.

The next section shows the leaders how they can help other people become their best self during times of crisis and in transforming negative influences into positive ones. Michael and Glenn emphasize the importance of serving others as an integral part for this to succeed.

Finally, the authors sum up the last section with the various tools and resources leaders need to be impactful in making others better.

The book is written in a positive, motivational and conversational style, with a number of lists laid out to make it easy to take notes and keep in mind the steps to change your leadership influence in a lasting and gratifying way.

Positive Influence is recommended reading if you want to truly make a difference in others’ lives and leadership. It will change the way you look at both your role and leadership as a whole.


How To Check If You’re Biased

Biases in both the workplace and any organization are not limited to racism.

Biases can take the form of gender and class preference as well as behavior bias towards those who have dissenting opinions, and top performers or gift givers who benefit from favoritism.

Leaders in business are not the only ones who are prone to bias. In fact, many professors, pastors and doctors have shown biases in their teachings, ministries and practices.

Be willing to accept that you may have deeper biases than you acknowledge. The first and most difficult step in any personal and profound change is admission. You need to be willing to adhere to a level of self-awareness and come to terms with where your blind spots are towards others. You will not necessarily know what they are immediately, or even a couple of years after this decision, but you will being to open your mind and your heart to realize where you treat people disrespectfully. You then are able to start to work on those areas when they are brought to your attention.

Study your behaviors and tendencies. As much as possible, take the time before, during and after your interactions with people to do a self-awareness check. Are you going into that meeting already with your mind made up of who the other person is? Were you angry at this person for some reason other than their performance, such as making yourself look bad or not presenting the way you do? Did you leave the conversation with a feeling of superiority over the other person? When during these checks you become aware of your biases, start to study why you act or react the way you do, and work on remembering the triggers that create those changes in heart and mind.

Get feedback from people opposite your comfort zone. It’s easy to get feedback from people who are like you. In fact, they will most likely affirm the wonderful person you are. But that behavior in itself is a bias. In order to get a true picture of who you are, solicit some straight talk from those who are outside your sphere of comfort. You will get a more true picture of how you treat others who are different from yourself. In addition you will start to be more comfortable with people who are different from you and many times you will naturally drop those biases just by spending more time with them.

Make it right. If you have realized your biases have wronged anyone, you will need to set things in order as best and reasonably as you can. However you will need to exercise some caution, as some methods of remuneration and rectification may come across to the individual(s) wronged as disingenuous. Sincerity as well as the action to rectify a wrong need to be balanced, as the attitude towards doing so will speak volumes about how you truly are working to conquer your biases.

Inoculate yourself from bias-based behaviors. Preventing those same behaviors and showing true change can only be sustained by guarding yourself from those actions that contribute to these biases. For instance, you will need to be careful of accepting gifts to prevent being swayed by people you tend to favor. Insensitive jokes will not have a place to the one who is willing to change their biases for good. Also, talking ill of anyone with less than the respect you would want for yourself needs to be shunned as well. These and other behaviors will make us callous to those others whom we should be serving fairly.

At the end of it all bias is a choice. And while none of us can ever be perfectly without bias, we can make incredible strides to reign in our prejudices and not only change who we are, but also change the lives of others we have an obligation to serve.

(image: pixabay)

Book Review – Inside Your Customer’s Imagination

Legendary customer experience speaker and author Chip R. Bell has released another great tome to lift your customer innovation to another level.

Inside Your Customer’s Imagination takes a circle of co-creation with customers to discover what’s needed and partner with them to create those products, services and experiences that have yet to be discovered.

Chip instructs and challenges leader and companies to start where we know we should but often forget: at the customer level.

By establishing a “Be The Customer” framework of Curiosity through proper listening, he lays out a plan to map out the process to discover breakthrough solutions, even when the customer doesn’t know what they want (which is often).

Chip takes us through the Grounding phase which separates clear focus from unrealistic aspirations, then establishes a Discovery phase which encourages risk taking after those realistic focuses are understood.

The last two phases of Trust and Passion secure a partnership that’s pure and mutual while creating an excitement that creates reciprocity and generosity among all parties.

Chip’s writing style continues in his unique observations, fun stories and illustrations, all the while offering practical methods to enable leaders to adopt these principles and create an innovation partnership with customers in a world craving breakthrough ideas.

I recommend Inside Your Customer’s Imagination to not only map out a new journey in customer experience and innovation, but also help understand how to become a better listener to customers and create a better dynamic in world needing both innovation and connection.


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