By Lou Pineda, Partners for Prosperity Advisor
“The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.”
Here at Partners for Prosperity, we are celebrating the 2018 Investopedia Awards, which recognizes the 100 most influential advisors in the United States. Our founder and fearless leader, Kim D. H. Butler, has once again been honored with the award! As Kim’s colleague, it’s my privilege to highlight the accomplishment of a wonderful individual who has influenced me greatly, along with seven principles that can help you expand your own influence. This is financial planning for millennials at its best.
According to Investopedia, traditional metrics such as “assets under management” (AUM) is not the best measurement of today’s advisors. Rather, the Investopedia 100 “seeks to measure influence… to quantify the impact that our advisors have on their clients and the broader financial community.”
So what exactly IS influence? Why is it important to leaders, business people and change makers? And how might you grow your influence? Since I happen to know a highly influential person (you know, according to Investopedia, and they’re not wrong!) I asked Kim to share some thoughts about influence in this article as well.
Influence is both a noun: the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself, and a verb: to have an influence on… to impact, guide, shape, or transform.
Influence could perhaps be considered a type of capital, although not typically defined as such. In addition to financial capital, other types of wealth and resources such as intellectual capital, social capital, experiential capital, the goodwill of a business or brand, and yes—influence—bring their own value to relationships in the marketplace.
Influence can help you in a business, job, a personal mission, and even in your family and other relationships. It allows you to have a greater impact. Influence gives you the satisfaction of knowing you are making a difference—and, if you are really influential, perhaps helping others to do the same. It can increase your bottom line, and more importantly, it can increase fulfillment and meaning in your life.
7 Ways to Expand Your Influence
How can you grow and use your influence? Here are seven ways—acknowledged by Kim and/or observed by other team members—that make Kim an influential person and can help you, too.
#1: Give First.
This is the last principle Kim named in her “Success Lessons” article, and we’ll make it the first of our principles of influence.
“Give first” was the topic of a Baccalaureate speech Kim gave when she graduated, and a lesson she was taught by her parents. We should go into every situation ready and willing to give first.
Kim tells of the “lean years” of her business, during the Financial Crisis. She made herself available to help others, answer questions, and give of her time to listen to and advise others whether or not people could hire her. In those days, many “clients” were losing their proverbial shirts in the real estate market and had no money to invest. But Kim developed relationships with her willingness to give unconditionally.
Giving our time and talents expands our influence one person at a time… and it’s the perfect place to start.
#2: Provide Value by Helping Others.
Investopedia states in their article on the Investopedia 100, “Influence isn’t about being popular. It’s about helping others (although being popular helps if one’s popularity is tied to the mission of educating investors).” (Editor’s italics.)
We love this! Our over-arching goal at Partners for Prosperity is always to “help more people with their finances.” Influence is earned. You earn it by doing good work for others.
Those who provide the most value to the most people are the most influential. When you think of highly influential people many are best-selling authors, speakers, and leaders who have provided value in the form of ideas and information. And giving value can take many other forms. People with influence can inspire an audience to action, negotiate a peace treaty, or convince a child to stay in school.
#3: Be a Person of Integrity.
When it comes to influence, character counts. Are you known to be honest, reliable, humble, fair and kind? Can people trust you to do what you say you’re going to do? People hear what you say, but they remember what you do.
Kim is too humble to say this about herself—but the MANY clients, advisors, team members and other colleagues can attest to her integrity and character. She’s authentic. She’s inspiring. And she delivers what she markets.
#4: Know What You Stand For.
Investopedia says Investopedia 100 advisors were “rated by our editors on the quality of the information they produced and shared across media channels. While we accounted for the size of their followings, their message needed to be sound, balanced, and truly useful.”
If you want to be influential beyond your friends and family, you need a clear and strong message. Ours is one of “building wealth without Wall Street.” We admit that “financial planning has failed” and we offer alternatives to stocks and big bank products to help investors reduce systemic risk and truly diversify their holdings. This is not the same message shared by a million other advisors, although it is a message now shared by thousands of Prosperity Economics Advisors!
#5: Speak Up!
A message that you journal about privately or share in a small group of friends won’t have much influence. You’ve got to put it out there! Some of the ways that Kim expands her efforts is through her books, this blog, social media, and The Prosperity Podcast.
There’s also nothing like sharing your message to refine it. We continue to refine ours, with help from our clients, co-writers, and colleagues!
#6: Leverage Your Efforts.
Use a team and technology to leverage your efforts and expand your influence. Nobody succeeds alone, and Kim will readily admit that her influence would only reach so far without the help of technology and our P4P team who helps us share our content far and wide.
Investopedia shares part of their process in determining influence: “Data sciences and editorial teams identified advisors across the country who are best able to engage with their audience across platforms. We measured our applicants’ reach, frequency of posting, and amplification.”
Many advisors still try to do things “old school,” relying on face-to-face meetings and one-on-one communication. They may see social media and technology as a nuisance rather than a help. Our company has embraced new platforms and we continue to work towards communicating and educating “one-to-many.”
#7: Collaborate with Like-Minded People.
Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” One of Kim’s mentors, Dan Sullivan, shares this wisdom: “You will be the same person in the future as you are today except for the people you have in your life and the books you read.”
As we publish this, Kim is on her way back from Strategic Coach, an elite coaching organization for entrepreneurs. As an associate coach, Kim has been both a participant and a leader in Strategic Coach. The connections and learning that happens in an environment like Strategic Coach—or the ideas and inspiration from the Abundance 360 program that Kim attends each year—create synergy. By expanding our circles and learning from others, we all rise together and expand our influence.
Investopedia “measured and created a matrix of influence to see which advisors followed one-another across social platforms. The more followers an advisor has within the community, the higher their score. We weighed all of these factors appropriately in order to determine our final ranking.”
Influence is contagious, and so are ideas whose time has come. After building her financial practice on the philosophy and principles of Prosperity Economics, Kim and her husband, Todd Langford of Truth Concepts software, started The Prosperity Economics Movement and started attracting like-minded advisors to help spread the word.
It is this growing movement that caught my attention and inspired me to make a change from commercial banking to P4P’s alternative investment platform. Getting to know Kim (and her husband Todd—another influencer) has literally changed the course of my career. I left everything I knew in the past to learn from these wonderful individuals and find my own place in the Prosperity Economics Movement they started. I can attest to the fact that Kim is an influencer because she has influenced me! To learn more about the strategies Kim uses, check out our Ultimate Guide to Financial Planning Myths.
Who influences you?
Who or what influences your financial decisions: Wall Street trends—or timeless financial principles? “What everyone else is doing”—or what WORKS?
Kim and I would love to talk with you about alternative solutions for cash, income, and investment growth. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment today, or give us a call. There’s no “sales pitch,” just honest advice, answered questions, and solutions you won’t get anywhere else.