I have often run an exercise in workshops in which the participants create an emblem that represents what they stand for – what they want the world to know about them. They then meet in small groups and without saying anything about it, show that emblem to the others, in turn. Each person, when they are the focus of the group, shows the emblem but offer no other information at first. The others are to learn as much as possible about the focus person, using the information on the emblem, but may not agree, disagree, or offer feedback. They are specifically asked not to offer either negative or positive evaluation, but they may ask questions and the focus person may answer them.

Kim Barnes, who is, of course, the developer of our Exercising Influence program and author of the book, Exercising Influence: A Guide For Making Things Happen at Work, at Home, and in Your Community (Third Edition) recently engaged in a fascinating dialogue on social media regarding silence and influence.

A few years ago, author Connie Cass cited an Associated Press poll showing that nearly two-thirds of the Americans in their sample had low trust in others – compared to only one-third in a similar poll forty years earlier. It’s easy to blame this on increasing urbanization, on the media’s “if it bleeds, it leads” approach to informing us about the world, on greater use of the internet with fewer face-to-face social interactions, or perhaps the increasing rancor of our politics has “tribalized” our society and set us against one another.

Georgie, Barnes & Conti’s canine mascot of nearly 11 years, peacefully left the world last month after a brief but serious illness. We first introduced Georgie to our Barnes & Conti extended family in our 2012 Holiday Newsletter. At the time, we said: “Georgie began accompanying Barnes & Conti Finance Manager, Heller Rathbone, to the office about a year ago. Since that time Georgie has been brightening our office and lightening our mood on countless occasions.”

…So what are the images of the so-called “new leadership”? According to the article, “…And now, with remote and knowledge work limiting the usefulness of other sources of power, informational influence is becoming an increasingly important power.” The new leadership is founded on informational influence!