"The Looking Glass: the biggest reasons I failed to influence. Does Not Compute"

Aviral Vaid

Hatched by Aviral Vaid

Sep 18, 2023

3 min read


"The Looking Glass: the biggest reasons I failed to influence. Does Not Compute"

Freedom to decide is an illusion, even at the highest levels. So long as it takes working with other people to get the outcome you want, the need to influence is like a shadow against the setting sun—it only grows and grows until it becomes the entire job. Even if you’re good at being right, if you can’t tell people why they ought to agree with you, you’re asking for blind faith.

Great managers know how to weave a compelling story that spreads because it’s easy to retell. They understand that good ideas can come from anyone, whether it's clients, salespeople, team members, advisors, or even other companies. They recognize that future trust and greater collective learning come from reflecting on the past bets that didn't work.

One key aspect of influencing others is adopting an advisor mindset. Managers should aim for an 80%+ advisor mindset with their reports. The goal is to empower their team members to make decisions, rather than taking decisions away from them. By influencing their frameworks and principles for decision-making, managers can ensure that their team members feel empowered and capable of making informed choices.

On the other hand, reports should aim for an 80%+ solver's mindset with their managers. By proving the positive impact of a particular decision, they can reduce the decision burden for their managers. Some individuals naturally lean towards advising, while others lean towards solving. It's essential to use the right mindset for the right context to maximize your impact.

In the world of economics, not everything computes. Every investment price, every market valuation, is just a number from today multiplied by a story about tomorrow. The concept of economic value is easy to understand: whatever someone wants has value, regardless of the reason behind it. The more something is wanted and the scarcer it is, the higher its value.

However, the first step in accepting that some things don't compute is realizing that innovation and advancement exist because we are fortunate to have people whose minds work differently from ours. What may seem rational to one person can be crazy to another. If everyone had the same time horizon, goals, ambitions, and risk tolerances, everything would compute. But they don't.

Great ideas explained poorly can go nowhere, while old or wrong ideas told compellingly can ignite a revolution. The power of influence lies in the ability to communicate effectively, to tell a story that resonates with others. It's not just about being right; it's about being able to articulate why others should agree with you.

Now, let's explore three actionable pieces of advice to enhance your influencing skills:

  • 1. Develop your storytelling abilities: To become a persuasive influencer, focus on refining your storytelling skills. Craft narratives that captivate and engage your audience. Use relatable examples, emotions, and vivid descriptions to make your ideas more tangible and compelling.
  • 2. Embrace diverse perspectives: Recognize the value of diverse opinions and perspectives. Surround yourself with individuals who think differently from you, as they can challenge your assumptions and offer fresh insights. Be open to learning from others and consider alternative viewpoints before making a decision.
  • 3. Continuously improve your communication: Effective communication is essential for successful influence. Practice active listening, ask clarifying questions, and ensure that your message is clear and concise. Tailor your communication style to resonate with different individuals, adapting your approach to suit their needs and preferences.

In conclusion, the art of influence requires more than just being right. It demands the ability to tell a compelling story, understand different mindsets, and navigate the complexities of human decision-making. By adopting an advisor mindset, empowering others, and embracing diverse perspectives, you can enhance your influence and drive positive change. Remember, in the world of influence, not everything computes, but with the right approach, you can shape the narrative and make a lasting impact.

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