What is Influence?

The world’s most influential leaders, business people, and innovators know the one key characteristic to help them reach their goals and effect change. 

They possessed not only the ability to wield influence, but they were influential.

The FIRST requirement for being an influential person is knowing yourself.
Dr. Karen Keller

A review of the last 20 years studying the greatest influencers in the world; Gandhi, Christ, Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, Suu Kyi, Benazir, Bhutto, Margaret Thatcher, Rosa Parks, John Maxwell, M. Scot Peck, Jack Welch and many others -  shows it wasn’t just what these people did that made them influential. It wasn’t because they had money, position or authority. They were influential because of who they were or are, and the traits they possess. 

Read More About Influence

Webster defines influence as the act or power of producing an effect without apparent exertion of force or direct exercise of command. Through this definition, the difference between influence and dictatorial command are delineated.

Command says, “Do this because I said so and there are vile consequences if you don’t.”

Influence says, “I am helping you to see that this is the best course of action in terms of long-term benefits for the both of us.”

Command can initiate change of mind, but it is externally motivated. As soon as the external consequence is lifted, the status quo is quickly resumed. Influence creates an internal shift in a person’s mindset. Internal commitment is gained independent of external consequences. The world’s most influential people don’t merely change other’s behavior; they shift their mindsets.

Suppose you own a retail store and an employee continues to not greet customers in line with your culture. Command says, “Do this or you’ll get fired or written up.” Influence says, “Let me show you why this is important to your success and mine.” The employee who is commanded to greet customers will do so while he or she thinks you are watching. Your customers will see through the veneer, as well. The employee who is influenced will begin to sincerely greet customers regardless of your presence because an internal shift has occurred. 

What the world needs is fewer commanders and more influencers!

YOU can be an influencer. In fact, you already are. AND you can grow your ability to become even more influential once you identify and understand your potential to be influential. 

The Keller Influence Indicator® will help you LEVERAGE and MAXIMIZE positive influence in relation to:

  • Achieving business success.
  • Expanding your leadership impact.
  • Realizing a needed outcome for a worthy cause.
  • Building others as you help them make a significant mark on the world.
  • Gaining admission into a prestigious MBA or graduate program.
  • Attaining your dream in your personal life.

Change is temporary. Shift is permanent. Grow Your Influence. 

Read about the Seven Influence Traits or learn how the Keller Influence Indicator® (KII™) can help you understand how to become more influential – and more importantly how you can expand your influence.

True Influence is Based on an Emotional Connection

A crucial aspect of influence is the emotional connection you make with people. True influence involves building trust and a relationship, getting those people to align their views and values with your own for long-term gain. Short-term change doesn’t rely as much upon emotional connection, instead it uses other tactics like reasoning, manipulation, or coercion.

Influence is the process of two emotional states coming together.
Dr. Karen Keller

You only have to look at your own experiences to see the difference. If someone threatens or coerces you to get you to do something, you might do it at the moment, but long-term resentment means you’ll revert to the previous behavior as soon as you can. On the other hand, if a friend asks you to change your behavior in some way, you’re much more likely to do so – more importantly, you’re much more likely to want to do so. You’re emotionally invested in that person, and want to see him or her succeed to the point that you’ll help them however and wherever you can.

With a rich background in psychology and human behavior, Dr. Karen Keller and Keller Influence International understand that TRUE INFLUENCE happens at a deeper internal level. This sets us apart from other influence “experts” who recommend surface-level tactics to grow influence. We work from the inside out, to maximize the internal emotional influence traits that most determine your influence. This type of personal growth in influence is challenging but accomplishes the best long-term results.

Unless an internal shift occurs change will not last.
Dr. Karen Keller

Become a World Changer, Grow as an Influencer

  • Mother Theresa.-shifted the world’s mindset about the poor.
  • Winston Churchill & FDR –shifted global indifference to engage the Axis aggression. 
  • Gandhi —shifted our mindset about leadership.
  • Archbishop Desmond Tutu-shifted the world’s mindset about what it means to truly forgive. 
  • Jeff Bezos-shifted our mindset about shopping online.
  • Your Mom—hopefully shifted your mindset on how to treat others with love and kindness. 

Whether you are called to shift the world’s mindset on the global stage, through leading your small business, or by parenting your children, your legacy will be seen in those you influenced deeply.  Growing your influence isn’t just important for personal success. Your future depends on it.


How to Get What You Want by Using What You Already Have

From regional manager to international executive with quadruple the pay, Karen Keller's unique blueprint carefully outlined the step-by-step process for creating high impact influence.
Lloyd Moore
Global Director Supplier Quality & Development, Lear Corporation

Read more about influence in the Influence Archive Center.