A leader is someone you can follow without feeling like a follower.
There was a time when I spent almost every part of my day studying leadership. Before I found my passion in marketing, I used to explore what it took to be a great leader by constantly reading expected and unexpected sources on the subject. Along the path to getting a Masters degree in English more than a decade ago, I wrote a paper about the evolution of leadership in Shakespeare’s Henry V. Later, I compared lessons from the philosophy of Machiavelli to the forgotten brilliance of former Avis Chairman Robert Townsend. The truth I discovered back then is something that hasn’t changed in thousands of years.
Great leadership has always been about influence.
Those who are more influential always win. Sometimes that happens by persuading more people to purchase a product or service. Other times it means creating a movement or social change by inspiring people to adopt a certain belief. No matter where your goal happens to focus, being more influential always helps you get there. But what does being more influential take? There are many worthy theories on the subject.
My friend Peter Guber writes about how influence requires the ability to tell a great story. I recently heard Sally Hogshead present her research on being fascinating and how different people can influence one another based on their personality archetypes. Renowned psychologist Robert B. Cialdini’s book on the 6 “weapons” of influence has been called “the most important book on persuasion ever published.” Dozens of other authors have proposed theories of influence that involve everything from focusing on absolute value to eating last. And my own past books have proposed that having a personality or being more likeable may be the keys to influence. Together these ideas point to an simple conclusion about gaining and using influence.
There are many paths to becoming more influential.
About a year ago, after uncovering this I decided that I wanted to try and bring some of these amazing sources together. Given my background and passion for marketing, the natural intersection was to focus on how to create more influence through marketing. So I spent months close to the end of last year looking at some of the training materials and educational materials on the subject available online. I collected materials and started interviewing dozens of experts at events on the topics of marketing and influence.
Earlier this year, I quietly launched a pilot program of a day long online certification program focused on a very specific topic – B2B Social Media Strategy. Partnering with the Online Marketing Institute, we introduced this into several large organizations and started collecting experiences and feedback to improve it. At the same time, I co-authored and published a book about the future of healthcare called ePatient 2015 and launched a publishing imprint behind it. Soon after I started doing day long workshops and learning experiences on wide ranging topics from digital strategy to likeable leadership.
In the past month since relaunching my brand and website, I have been working to bring all of these efforts together. This morning I am very excited to be announcing a new initiative called the Influential Marketer Learning Series that aims to do exactly that. This new series includes all of my in-person workshops, two new online certification programs, and an upcoming series of useful how to books written by recognized industry marketing experts. In particular, here are the components of the learning series:
- 2 new online certification programs launched in partnership with the Online Marketing Institute (one on B2B Social Media Strategy and one on Digital strategy) – Learn More >
- A new partnership where I will join the Online Marketing Institute as an Advisor and Executive Producer for new Certifications – Learn More >
- An upcoming series of highly useful books written by recognized industry experts on all kinds of marketing and leadership topics – Learn More >
- 8 new signature day long workshops on everything from brand storytelling to digital strategy – Learn More >
- A new publishing imprint dedicated to publishing “non-obvious business books” – Learn More >
Together, this learning series aims to do exactly what any of us wanting to be more influential must do on our own … collect the best knowledge and advice together in a way that makes it as useful and actionable as possible. My hope with this series is to go beyond being a single writer or creator of materials to instead become a curator that brings amazing people and ideas together in a way that can add value for you. So if you happen be considering writing a book or publishing ideas that may fit well into this series, I would love to hear from you!
Even if you’re not creating content, most of us have a desire to consume and learn from good ideas. You probably wouldn’t be reading this post (and definitely wouldn’t have made it to the end!) if you didn’t agree with that. So I hope you’ll join me on this journey, take advantage of some of the training and ideas I am curating, and consider adding some of your own insights as well.
My ultimate goal is to become a better curator to help you be more influential either by inspiring you to create better marketing or by giving you the insights and training to become a better leader.