The Economics of Influence
People are using the word influence to mean many things these days. It’s easy to confuse influence with popularity.
Recently Jason Pollock commented on Twitter about the Fast Company Influencer Project Project @Jason_Pollack said, I signed up for the “influence project” but quickly realized those at the top were just being very spammy to be there.
They have a point.
Are You Producing Influence?
People rich with influence understand it as a currency. True and lasting influence — like true and lasting wealth — is earned through investment of time and resources. But it’s also a way of thinking and valuing what we do and the people we do it with.
The difference between begging and building influence is the difference between giving to get and investing wisely.
- The exchange rate. In economics, influence would be a local currency. It’s value is only worth what your network agrees that it might be. The ideal is that you might take a single contact to move people to action. Contests that require millions of votes to choose a winner are an example of hyperinflation.
Power up your network. Be willing to work to prove your value.
How can you connect with the people who most represent what you value?
- The production costs. Producing influence takes resources — spent in building quality relationships, systems to maintain them, content to keep connected with them, and ways to grow those relationships. True influence grows from aligning our goals with others.
Share your influence as an equal partner.
How can others be better because you helped?
- Specialization. People rich with influence have integrated their passions and skills into their sphere of influence. They choose their networks on values and ethics and by doing so have established an automatic barrier to entry.
Know and value what has drawn you to each and all of your contacts.
How do you describe your network?
- Scarcity: Supply and Demand. If oak leaves were currency. They would only be valuable where oak trees don’t grow. People who have influence choose and feel no need to showcase their influence bank account. Their generosity is from a place of strength. They promote what they value in others, not what they hope will return.
Value your word and the power it has.
How do you know what not to influence?
When we know the value of our influence, we can invent it wisely in the people who invest back. We don’t feel a need to give our value promiscuously to every person who asks.
Who influences you by the way he or she influences others?
–ME “Liz” Strauss
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