Had a great conversation the other day about "what really is influence?" Ultimately, what is TRUE Influence? Many folks talk about influence and feel like they have influence because they have followers. Which in essence is true. If people read your blog, listen to you speak, follow you on Twitter, friend you on Facebook, and buy your book, then in essence you are influencing them.
But true influence is about more than just someone listening or reading. It's about action. And it's about change. If I simply buy your book and read a few chapters, but don't put anything into action, are you really influencing me? If I listen to you speak, but make no changes in my life or the way I lead, are you really influencing me? If I follow you on Twitter, but it doesn't change anything for me, are you really influencing me?
True leadership, in my opinion, has to include action. Influence that leads to application and change. 2nd Level Influence. That notion that I am making a change, am taking action, am putting something into practice, and I will be different because of what you've said to me or what I've read from you.
Plus the idea that your influence has exponential impact- through my networks, through all of their networks, and so on. Passed on much farther and wider than just to me. That's true leadership.
Seth Godin has 2nd Level influence with me.
Andy Stanley has 2nd Level influence with me.
Scott Harrison from charity: water has 2nd Level influence with me.
Jeff Shinabarger has 2nd Level influence with me.
Michael Hyatt has 2nd Level influence with me.
Craig Groeschel has 2nd Level influence with me.
Christine Caine has 2nd Level influence with me.
Louie Giglio has 2nd Level influence with me.
Jim Collins has 2nd Level influence with me.
There are lots of examples of people who I listen to, but they don't truly influence me, with 2nd level influence. Katie Couric, all Sportscenter anchors, Charles Barkley, most politicians, Ryan Seacrest, many pastors, and numerous other "voices" in our culture. There's lots of noise being created, but not alot of action or change. It doesn't mean any of these folks don't have influence, they just aren't influencing me at a 2nd level.
So the question we all need to be asking is this: How can you make sure you are a "2nd Level" Influencer with those around you?