Published by David Lapin under Uncategorized
February 12, 2012
Klout, measure your social media influence with complex algorithms based on your virtual reach. The algorithms take into account things like the Likes you get on Facebook and the number of Retweets you get on Twitter. Bloggers and authors have figured that a simple recipe of 3, 5, 7 or 10 steps, secrets, or actions to instant success, increase the number of readers you attract and the extent of your virtual reach. History however, will not measure our influence by the number of Twitter followers we have and the retweets we get. History will more likely measure our influence by the extent to which we changed people’s thinking. With their changed thinking people in turn, act differently towards others and can change the lives of many.
Slightly changing the paradigm of one influential person means more to me than being retweeted by well-meaning followers who liked, but will not follow my 3-step recipe to happiness. Recipes tell people what to do, but seldom change the way people think. Thought-pieces show people new ways to think about things and, in turn, sets up a chain reaction of influence much more than 10,000 followers who retweet our 3 steps to greatness. I bet the research advocating the #-step recipe template as a way to get read, takes no account of the real-life influence of our readers. For real impact, let’s rather influence the real experiences of people than tally our social-media followers and the number of times they retweet us.
Dr. Bob Smith and Bill Wilson, founders of Alcoholics Anonymous’ 12-step plan started the style of enumerated steps to success in the 1930s. Dr. Stephen Covey popularized the style in 1989 with his The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. In fact it was probably God who first created this template with His Ten Commandments. Research claims that this template, over-used ad nauseam in the last few years, assures maximum readership and viral distribution. I question the value of its indiscriminate use.
Firstly, as many of us are writing on leadership one assumes that our audience is made up primarily of leaders. Now think about it: Are leaders really likely to read my 3, 5, 7 or 10 trite steps to success, and say, Yes! I’ll start doing that immediately? If they do, are they leaders or followers? How authentic are leaders who, after every time they read someone else’s recipe for success, adopt it into their own styles? Shouldn’t leaders have their own formulas and habits for success? By writing in this very predictable #-step recipe template, we build followings of followers, not of leaders.
Secondly, if achieving success, wealth, happiness, effectiveness or greatness could be reduced to a few steps, would so many people still be struggling to achieve these aspirations? So why fool the public into believing it is as simple as a few easy steps when it isn’t really?
Thirdly, I have read a few good blog posts today. Each of them had a list of 3, 5, 7 or 10 steps, secrets, or actions to assure my success. In total I was given well over 100 crucial steps. They all made good sense when I read them but I don’t remember any of them now. In fact I saw two lists of 10 essential things to do each morning — that’s twenty different actions altogether. I added up the time it would take me to do them: six hours each day and none of them directly affected my work! This is not to say that we cannot learn a fortune from tips from successful people – but give me one tip at a time so that I can absorb it, integrate it into my life-routine, and only then give me another tip.
Rather than give me a few success secrets that work for you and possibly others, give me a piece of stimulating writing that encourages me to see things from a different perspective or to consider an idea I have never before thought of. From my changed perspective I will design different actions myself; actions that are authentic to me and to my lifestyle and values, and I will make changes. I try to retweet posts with original content and artistic construction because to me they are of so much more lasting value than instant recipes for success.
Lead By Greatness (now available on Amazon) will disappoint seekers of instant recipes for greatness. I do promise you though that the book will take you on a journey to new vistas of your life, your work and of your own greatness that you will never have seen before. Lead By Greatness is written for people who lead and influence, not for those seeking a short-list of new actions and attitudes that will make them feel great. I admire, love and follow the many authors and bloggers who defy the recipe-book trend and rather than give me an instant To Do List, stimulate and expand my thinking in a sustainable way. Because, as Oliver Wendall Holmes said, “Once the mind has been stretched by a new idea, it will never again return to its original size.”
If, however, you do want three steps to writing blogs worthy of followers who are themselves leaders, rather than tell me what others have done;
- ENGAGE me with your own authentic STORIES
- PERSUADE me with your own clarity and LOGIC
- INSPIRE me with your own PASSION.
A neat set of actions might get you retweeted. But a new idea can change the course of history.