Influence, the Quantum Field and You as a Leader
The Cycle of Influence™ defines what influence is and the internal pattern it follows in every person, in every interaction.
In part one of this series we looked at how leaders dispense brain-chemistry juices from the internal pharmacy of the brains of people they lead. You trigger these juices whether you realize it or not. This is an example of the power of influence. Here, we’ll define what influence is, explain the pattern it follows in the brain, and see how it creates good or bad juices in the pharmacy.
Leaders are always influencing, whether they recognize it or not. The question is, are you creating the type of influence you want? Influence is a neutral yet tangible force. It’s inherently neither good nor bad, but it can be felt. Scientists theorize this is transmitted through the quantum field. This is the brain science of influence on a quantum, i.e. invisible, level.
Again, leadership and influence aren’t rocket science, they’re brain science.
You’re always influencing, whether you realize it or not.
Quantum science is deep and not our purpose here. It involves subatomic particles, energy, light, frequencies, radiation and even the theory of relativity. Here, we’ll use an over-simplified description: Quantum is about the entities and mechanics of how things happen in the unseen realm. Here’s a common, everyday example you’ll relate to.
The Click and the Anti-Click: The Quantum Field in Action
A practical example of the tangible feeling of influence is what we’ll call the click and the anti-click. Have you ever met someone for the very first time and in only a few seconds, before they’d really said anything, you just instantly liked them? That’s the click. This instantaneous, subconscious connection is a direct result of a neurological, biochemical prescription dispensed by the internal pharmacy. Like the CEO I described in part one, their saying and doing triggered juices in you.
For some reason things clicked and biochemically you had an instant, emotional connection. So, with that connection, is it likely going to be easier or harder interacting with that person? Likely easier. If people click with leaders, will they tend to follow them because they want to, or because they have to? Odds favor the want-to. Some say the click happens one out of six times on a random basis. Whether that’s scientifically accurate or not, we know we don’t click with everyone. That’s a risk leaders can mitigate.
Have you ever experienced the anti-click? You meet someone for the first time and they instantly make your skin crawl? You want to get away from them as fast as possible. With that instant anti-click, is it likely to be easier or harder to interact with that person? Likely harder. Who is less likely to follow leaders from the heart: a want-to or a have-to follower? Odds now favor the have-to.
We’ve all had those experiences but didn’t always know why. Where is your data to support your gut feeling? How do you know in just a few seconds that they are easier or harder to work with? How can you possibly instantly like or dislike anyone? That’s the quantum field in practical experience. Leadership and influence tools help increase the clicks and decrease the anti-clicks.
What Influence Is, and the # 1 Mistake Leaders Make Trying to Change Behavior
Influence is simply the ability to affect what people think, feel, believe and therefore do. This internal pattern, or Cycle of Influence™, generally follows the sequence in the model shown here at left. More steps could be added, but this simple, four-part model accurately describes the basic flow. Each part in the cycle is tied to the brain chemistry of the individual.
The biggest mistake leaders make when trying to change people’s behavior is focusing on the “do,” i.e., trying to simply change the behavior. People do things the way they do them because they believe it’s the best, right or necessary way. If you try to force a new behavior without changing the underlying beliefs that drive behavior, you’re wasting your time.
Behavior never changes long-term unless the underlying beliefs change.
Behavior never changes long-term unless the underlying beliefs or values change. Trying to force behaviors to change often makes things worse — even though your intentions are good. You trigger cortisol (the stress hormone), when you could be triggering dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins (the good juices). Don’t waste time on the behavior. Since beliefs drive behaviors, ask yourself, “What are the beliefs driving the behaviors I want to change?” This question is a simple, powerful tool leaders can use to create profound, sustainable transformation.
How Beliefs Are Formed and Changed
Beliefs are formed by repeated patterns of thoughts and feelings. It’s the "think, feel” part of the Cycle of Influence™. Thoughts trigger feelings. Good thoughts trigger good feelings (and good juices), bad thoughts trigger bad feelings (and bad juices). This repeated pattern of think-feel, think-feel, think-feel creates neural pathways connected to the release of chemicals and begins to form a belief. Repeating the think-feel pattern long enough creates at least a semi-solid belief, like Jell-O hardening in the fridge.
Trigger the good juices long enough and people start to believe they are safe with you, you are a good leader and they can take appropriate risks. Create the cortisol flush and now you are the boss from hell. People go into CYA (cover your assets) instead of bringing creative, cost-saving, money-making ideas to the table. Not good for metrics, and directly tied to the neurological prescriptions you, as their leader dispensed.
To Change Beliefs, Leaders Must Go Upstream in the Cycle
To change beliefs, leaders must go upstream in the cycle. They must introduce information that starts the think-feel process in others and begins to shift those beliefs. The think-feel emotional link releases the DOSE chemicals that create desirable brain states. These brain states help people to receive information in a more productive way and be more open and able to change.
What beliefs are driving the behaviors that you want to change?
People need to see a repeated pattern of behavior from you to solidify new neuropathways before the beliefs truly shift. So, leaders need to behave and communicate in ways that trigger good thoughts and good feelings tied to good chemicals.
Are good feelings always possible? No. Delivering bad news is part of what leaders do. How they deliver it influences thoughts and feelings about the news. No Kumbaya, just common sense and the pharmacy. If you want buy-in to a change or acceptance of bad news, it’s biochemically easier to hear when leaders deliver the message with an authentic level of empathy and heart. Until the beliefs shift, the behavior remains the same in the long-term.
Leaders Have Power: Your "Do" Triggers Their "Think-Feel"
Your personal, internal Cycle of Influence™ interacts with the cycle going on inside every other human being you interact with. What leaders do triggers what others think and feel, and the cycle begins inside them. Remember, Andy’s good intent didn’t stop the unwanted DOSE juices.
Leaders who understand this can send powerful, positive messages that open people up to get on board better than those who don’t get it. They can neurologically and biochemically turn "have to” into “want to.”
What’s the common theme here? Leadership and influence are not rocket science. They’re brain science.
In part three we’ll look at the brain science and consequences of listening or not listening. Before you yawn and check out from this boring topic, here’s a thought. What if you could increase your positive influence and overall leadership effectiveness, without spending a penny? Without attending 15 workshops on the secrets of leadership and influence? Some of it’s much simpler than you think.
We’ll look at Master-Level Listening™, a three-part listening strategy that works with the internal pharmacy to make people feel heard. It increases creativity and helps people feel safe to give you the whole truth and bring out all the information, even the negative, that you as a leader need to hear. Stay tuned.
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About the AuthorMichael Clifton is a globally experienced leadership and influence coach, culture transformation guru, speaker and trainer.
His focus is transforming leaders and corporate culture to drive tangible improvements in business metrics. With 30 years, 20 countries and over 100 companies, he fixes people issues that hurt performance.
Michael helps leaders accelerate and sustain change, motivate without manipulating, create authentic, trusting conversations and drive better team performance, collaboration and innovation. He develops leaders whom people follow because they want to, not because they have to.
Michael is recognized globally as a man of integrity, wisdom and skill, who not only changes a business, but changes people’s lives. His coaching and workshops give leaders many specific tools to create positive juices in simple, practical ways. You can reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.