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February 2014

The Influence of Your Words

The words may be true, but what about the attitude?

People don’t process spoken words like they do when they read words.  The influence of the tone and inflection is the audible version of bold or italicized words.  What people hear causes them to interpret those words in ways we may not have intended.  A good manager knows how to filter their words through the screen of common sense and good judgement.

Here are two strategic ways to use the influence of your words.

1. Timing -  

Have you ever noticed how influential music is to the setting of a scene in a movie?   You can tell when something explosive is about to happen.  The music begins quietly and then gently builds in volume until the climatic moment.  Sometimes after a powerful dramatic encounter the music playfully offers a little relief.  And sometimes there is no music at all, but a pause of silence so that the viewer has a chance to think or breathe.


Your words are like music to your employees and team.  The timing of your words is just as important as what you say.  Great leaders know that in times of crisis or stress they should be speaking as soon as possible, providing a sense of direction or assurance.  They also know that when someone accomplishes a goal the words of praise need to be offered quickly.  And the power of the pause gives a leader the advantage of building the anticipation and attention of those that need to hear what is said.  

Another important timing tip - when you notice that the employee is focused on accomplishing a task or is in the middle of a conflict, consider offering them the courtesy of some time to personally complete their own thoughts and reflection before introducing yours.

2.  Questions

The questions you ask reveal what is important to you and sets the expectations.  

The manager of a retail store is constantly asking if the trash was taken out, the floors swept and the displays updated.  If those are the first questions the manager asks of the employees when they come to work, that is what they are going to focus upon.  What do you think those employees are going to do when a customer walks into the store - stop cleaning or start serving?  The manager that is always asking customer-related questions first is training the employees to put a high priority on service. 

Your questions establish the priorities of your employees.  What questions are you asking your team members today?

- Steven Iwersen

Six Key Words That Improve A Leaders Influence

IMG_0638The words you use influence the quality of your leadership.  Every single day we are engaged in an exchange of vocabulary.  Somehow the expressions we use forward our cause and produce favorable results.  The words that we hear are just as important, giving us a glimpse into others intentions and understanding.

Words are vital to a leader.  Strong, visionary, disruptive, encouraging, cautionary, and even the unspoken.  The words help us to lead. 

I want to suggest some words that you might not speak aloud, but should keep in mind as you relfect on your responsibility as a leader and the example that you set.  These are words that will enhance your influence and effectiveness.

Activity - a state of action.  A leader is action oriented.

Congruity - consistent and suitable to the priority. A leader is intentional in their actions.

Industry - steady attention to business. A leader is aware of the opportunities and dangers.

Alacrity  - promptness in response, cheerful readiness or prompt, brisk. A leader is responsive.

Priority - most important consideration.  A leader keeps focused on what matters most.

Futurity - future state or time (a future event). A leader thinks ahead.

Does your day to day activity reflect these key words?  Would the people you lead be able to claim that you are a person of these words?

What words would you add to the list that could make for better leadership?

Thinking Inside the Box Generates A One Million Dollar Result

Thinking inside the box can lead to out of the box results.  That is exactly what happened for Ryan Andersen.  He is the Doritos Super Bowl Commercial winner for 2014.   

Ryan’s “Time Machine” commercial was selected in the contest as one of the top five contenders.  During the game, the top two would be aired during a commercial break.  Based on AdMeter results, one of those commercials would be awarded the one million dollar prize on Monday, February 3rd, during the Good Morning America program.  Ryan’s efforts paid off and he is now a millionaire.

It all started because of a box!  Ryan said that he got the inspiration when his son asked him to make something out of a refrigerator box.  He collaborated with a couple of friends, spent $300 to create the ad, and captured the imagination of us all.  


I believe the ad sparked interest because most adults can remember creating something with a box when they were kids.  Take an ordinary box, imagine what it could be and with the collaboration of friends turn it into hours of fun! 

That child-like imagination is the key to innovation.  It is typically suppressed in our lives as we conform to the business world.  But there are ways to trigger it’s power and leverage those creative ideas to our advantage.  Ryan Andersen's experience reveals five ways that can help spark your best ideas:

1) Look at your challenge through the eyes of a child.

Often the best ideas are found in simplicity.  What questions would a kid have about the circumstances?  Don’t overthink things.

2) Find a way to develop an idea on a shoe string budget.

Limit yourself intentionally to a tight budget.  People who have little resources can become very resourceful.  (It’s the MacGyver concept.)

3) Have fun in the process.

Laughter attracts a crowd.  I believe that is partly what made this ad a winner, it made us laugh.  But, there is more to the point than that.  Creativity should trigger a natural sense of adventure within us.  A playful attitude and effort is a must.  So don’t take yourself too seriously. 

4) Include others in the process. 

5) Submit your efforts and see what other people think.

Ryan would’ve never won the prize money if he had decided to not submit the ad.  When you have developed your idea, put it out there for others to experience and to give you feedback.  A great idea will resonate with other people.  Let that idea have a chance to be seen.

Our “Thinking Inside the Box” training event is designed to help your employees rediscover the ability to creatively think through challenges and to work together.  Watch this short interview, then send us an email and we can explore some ideas to bring this training to you.  (Send your email to [email protected])