“If you want to know what you do best in the world, start taking note of what you most get complimented for,” advised one of my very first coaches. This is why when I launched my coaching business I initially developed a niche in career development. I had always been told I crafted bang-up resumes and cover letters and had clever and credible answers to the most probing of interview questions.
Fast forward a number of years. As I sunk my teeth fully into communication and leadership coaching and launched the Step Into Your Moxie platform, I began to hear a complementary yet distinct flavor of feedback. It went something like this.
“Alexia, you make it so easy to find the words to ask for what I’m worth.”
Or “Alexia, you have a gift at turning every ‘no’ into a ‘yes.’ ”
I never thought of my ability to influence as a behavior or skill. Growing up I watched my dad make car alternator warranties sound sexy. I just assumed it was in my DNA.
It’s easy to think of influencing as a personal characteristic you either have or you don’t, and not too surprisingly there is a tremendous gender component both to who perceives he can influence and who perceives she cannot.
Last year I launched a pilot version of a virtual Influencer Academy for women. The focus was simple – buff up the muscles necessary to make more impact in your career or business. It went well. Senior vice presidents, college professors, entrepreneurs, and therapists showed up, each eager to improve her capacity to use stories, persuasion, coaching, negotiation, feedback, etc. to more effectively move people to action. One participant called it, “Hands down the most beneficial leadership training I’ve ever gone through. I just wish I didn’t have to wait until 3/4 of the way through my career to receive it.”
Yet what each woman also said was that because this material was so juicy and something rarely encountered in other professional development settings, she wanted more. A lot more.
I needed some time to re-evaluate and tinker with possibilities.
Fast forward again, about 8 months. I’m on the cusp of re-launching Influencer Academy as a 9-month live program to begin Fall 2013, and before I do I’m eager to gather a bit more feedback to ensure that the experience I have in my head will truly empower high potential workplace, business, and community leaders to bulldoze through real and self-imposed barriers to influence so that they can make more impact and step fully into their leadership.
I would be so appreciative if you would take approximately 5 minutes to complete a survey. Whether you are male or female, work for a Fortune 500 company or run your own business, live in Nevada or Australia, your perspective is desired. You will have the option of skipping over any questions that don’t apply, and I suspect that the very act of answering the questions will enable you to make discoveries about your own capacity to create the impact you desire.
As one of my favorite authors and thought leaders, Dr. Robert Cialdini says in Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, “A well-known principle of human behavior says that when we ask someone to do us a favor we will be more successful if we provide a reason. People simply like to have reasons for what they do.” And I’ve got a big one!
I’m asking you to invest a few minutes of your time because our global community needs more women leaders. Plain and simple. When women are on corporate boards and senior leadership teams, serve in office, and start and scale their businesses, companies and communities consistently report higher levels of profitability, innovation, and happiness (see a list of recent articles on the topic below). With your help, my promise is to play a role in ensuring our recent crises in leadership are footnotes in history rather than reoccurring themes. So if you haven’t done so already, head on over and take the survey. Thank you!
A Few of My Favorite Resources on the Business Case for Women in Leadership
McKinsey & Company- Unlocking the Full Potential of Women in the US Economy
Magnus Consulting- Why You Need Women Leading in Your Organization
How Remarkable Women Lead by Joanna Barsh and Susie Cranston
Who Says It’s a Man’s World by Emily Bennington (Note: Emily is a dear friend, and I’ll be sharing more about her new book after the official release at the end of the month)