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Short Vs Long Term Influence

Short Vs Long Term Influence

Quality, Consequences and the Construction Industrial Complex (part 301).

Influence is an exercise in soft power and if used carefully, can be a net benefit.

This post is about different forms of influence. However, it is also in praise of great teachers who shape our lives if we realise it or not.

In an interconnected world with social media influencers exercising disproportional power, soft power can be used for good or bad. If you have influence via status, expertise, money, leadership or community, the question is, do you want to have short term influence i.e. easily forgotten, or long term influence?

Also, do you want to use your soft power for good or bad? To miss quote Spiderman’s uncle, “with great power, comes great responsibility”.

We can all remember the good teachers that impacted our lives. Personally, I remember with clarity the teachers and mentors who really shaped my worldview. Their influence has been a long term net benefit to my life. Great teachers and parents are an excellent example of long term, beneficial influence. They shape minds and attitudes for years into the future.

The flip side to the long term influence of a great teacher is the short term influence from social media trolls. Shallow and frequently anonymous, influencers on social media speak to our emotions and short term needs. Twitter mobs and cancel culture are recent examples of short term influence that damage lives, companies and once trusted institutions.

Short term influence such as social media, TV shows and fashion impact culture but do not impact education or long term thinking IMHO. This brings into question the value of short term influence other than to tip a decision point. Social media can be powerful and dangerous because it can influence short term thinking to tip a decision such as an election or vote on policy.

Short term influence at scale can be a weapon in the certain hands. If you don’t believe me ask the Chinese and Russian intelligence services if they would give up social media as an espionage tool and a low cost weapon with great ROI.

I have been reflecting on influence recently as a user of social media and coach to several people. IMHO, the best form of influence is long term via teaching and thought leadership to shape net beneficial outcomes. With this in mind, I think the tool kit looks like this:

Short Term Influence

  • Social media to message about long term concepts and thought leadership
  • Internet as an educational delivery tool

Long Term Influence

  • Teaching i.e. passing on knowledge and skills
  • Coaching / mentoring i.e. using the Socratic method to help develop mastery
  • Books i.e. memorialising knowledge
  • Video i.e. memorialising and demonstrating knowledge and skills

When the pupil is ready the teacher will appear is a proverb that I am not sure I believe. It is my assertion, that it is on us to seek out our teachers and mentors when things, work, life is not going as we would like. Teachers matter, therefore, when seeking a teacher, judge them on the outcomes they have produced and the people they have influenced.

Twitter: @BLDWhisperer



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