Monthly Archives: June 2013

How to Grow Your Influence With LinkedIn

Declaration of Independence2This week we celebrate the 237 anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. The contentious debate in the second Continental Congress over the wording of declaration was as hot as the scorching July1776 heat.  However, final agreement on the document that has become the standard for freedom around the world was achieved through the influence of the Founding Fathers including, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin.

Your Influence

Influence – the power within you to affect other people’s thinking or actions by means of showcasing your expertise, being a hub for information, or as a consistent and effective networker is the key element in getting things done.

With the power to reach over 200 million people worldwide LinkedIn is the perfect platform to show and grow your influence.  In the spirit of July 4th  this blog will examine 4 simple strategies to grow your influence with LinkedIn and beyond.

Growing Your Influence

What are you trying to achieve? Is it:

–        Landing Employment

–        Finding or Sharing Information

–        Growing Your Network

–        Or some other endeavor

Whatever you are trying to achieve you will need influence to make it happen.   LinkedIn is the perfect platform for growing your influence however; it will take more than having a good profile.  Growing your influence is the result of executing a well thought out strategy. In honor of the influence that the 4th of July holds for our nation here are 4 strategies for growing your influence using LinkedIn.

1. Become a Thought Leader

A person who has expertise and fact based opinions that are shared freely; resulting in growing influence and the attraction of followers. 

The members of the Continental Congress gathered in Philadelphia were some of the most learned people in the country.  Franklin, Madison, and Jefferson were Thought Leaders they grew in influence by freely sharing their thinking on the science, history and the issues of the day.

You can grow your influence by becoming a Thought Leader by employing these simple strategies:

–        Sharing content created by yourself or others

–        Leading and taking part in LinkedIn group discussions

–        Informational status updates

Key Point:  Frequent sharing of your knowledge on LinkedIn will make you a Thought Leader   growing your influence for the things you want to get done.

Related Content: Show & Tell

2.  An Intention Networker

A person committed to high quality interactions. Adeptness with these interactions creates a steady stream of people who want to be connected to them.

The 56 delegates to the Continental Congress were a diverse lot of very accomplished people.  Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, John Hancock of Massachusetts, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia.  With all of these luminaries in attendance who was elected to lead the congress? …. Peyton Randolph.  While Peyton Randolph is not as well known in the halls of history, he was well known in the halls of the congress because he was an intentional networker.  Randolph was a master at understanding the needs of his fellow delegates — and delivering on those needs.

Nothing will grow your influence better than networking with intention. Grow your influence with these LinkedIn intentional networking strategies:

–        Select The Right Strategy For Your Connections

Understand the 3 basic type of LinkedIn networkers

–        Discover What You Can Do To Help Your Connections

Use template notes to invite potential contacts, and respond to invites from potential contacts.

–         Daily Activities To Keep In Touch

6 Things LinkedIn Ninjas Should Do Every Day

Key Point: Networking is crucial to building our influence. The influence build through networking can help us find jobs, recruit new talent and build support of our ideas.

3. Connecting In-Person

Influence is not achieved behind a keyboard.  Our level of influence accelerates when we connect In-Person. 

The Second Continental Congress began meeting in May of 1776.  By the time the Declaration of Independence was approved in July, the delegates had spent countless hours in together in official sessions and many more hours in “unofficial sessions” in pubs and boarding houses. The influence of delegates like James Madison, who was generally unknown before the Congress, grew during these meetings. Madison put his influence to great use as a mediator between factions during the deliberations.

The great myth about LinkedIn or any social media site it that fantastic things can be done without ever meeting someone in person. Our online presence should be only the springboard to the true driver of our influence: The In-Person meeting.

Dale Carnegie classic 1936 book How to Win Friends and Influence People remains the gold standard for what to do when we meet people.  Written long before the age of the social media following these 5 principals will grow our influence when we meet people.


This is such a simple, basic rule, yet people just don’t think about it.  People are more likely to warm up to someone who says good morning with a broad smile than they are to someone with a dour countenance.

Ask Relevant Questions

Build your influence by engaging people by asking questions.  Getting the opinion of others shows your interest and is the perfect platform to form our own views or making your thoughts known.


People love to talk about themselves. If you can get people to discuss their experiences and opinions—and listen with sincere interest your influence will grow rapidly.

Exchange Business Cards

Always have your business cards ready for exchange.  Make a practice of sending your new found contact a LinkedIn invite within 24 hours.  Instead of using the default invite message; draft a quick 2-3 sentence invite referring your In- Person discussion.

Say The Person’s Name

Carnegie reveals that a person’s name is the sweetest sound to that person. So when you meet someone, use her name in conversation. Doing so makes the other person feel more comfortable with is one of the basic building blocks in establishing a great relationship.

Key Point:  As a driver of influence In-Person meetings in any phone beats online connections.  Watch your influence grow by striving to have In-Person meetings with all of your LinkedIn connections.

4. Constant Contact

Keep In Touch

Far from home and without 21st century communication advances; delegates to the Second Continental Congress relayed on the letter to connect with love ones back home. Often writing 2 or 3 letters per day the delegates practiced the hallmark of great communications and the bedrock of growing our influence: Constant Contact.

We grow our influence with the consistent uses of the methods discussed in this post: Thought Leadership, Intentional Networking, and In-Person connections.   Practiced sparingly we run the risk of being just another schmoozer without influence.

Key Point: Constant Contact is an apt name for the sponsor of the blog and for deploying the strategy to grow your influence.  Consistency is the key.

The Bottom Line: Influence Me

Humans are built to be influenced; we are influenced all the time by the media, political campaigns and the sales pitch.  The freedoms outlined in the Declaration of Independence recognizes our right to live in a nation where our influence is not controlled by the government. Your right to influence is God given and should be considered as simply a natural part of what is expected of us as humans – we want and need to be influenced …. So go ahead and influence me.

Marben Bland is a Writer, Speaker and Strategist focused on working with emerging biotech and high tech companies. He writes the weekly How to be a LinkedIn Ninja blog, in addition to the Weekly Job Report and the Friday Commentary blog.  A popular speaker at trade shows and seminars Marben is available for strategic consulting engagements or speaking at your next event; give him a call today at 608.358.1309

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The 5 Traits of Mandela Leadership

Nelson MandelaAs I write this post Nelson Mandela is in a hospital: condition serious, outlook not good. Mandela’s selfless devotion to justice and equality has made him a universal patriot for freedom. So on this 4th of July weekend as we celebrate the patriots who declared our freedom; it is apt that we look at the five leadership traits of Nelson Mandela and the freedom that it produced for his people and the people of the world.

1. Forgive and Move Forward

“We don’t have to be victims of our past”

Mandela was imprisoned by the white apartheid government for 27 years. Housed at the notorious Robben Island prison, he was threatened with violence, denied medical treatment, and separated from his family. Enduring these conditions could have easily made Mandela a bitter and vindictive man. However, he knew as a leader especially, when he assumed the mantel of power as the South African President that forgiveness for himself and his country was the only way to move forward.

Leadership Trait: No real progress can be achieved unless forgiveness is present.

2. Embrace Change Again…and Again

“I must be creative enough to find a way to change without comprising my principles”

After his African National Congress (ANC) was banned by the apartheid, South African government in 1960, Mandela advocated that the party abandon its policy of non-violence. It was his activities in support of the party’s new stance for violence that lead to his life sentence. However, while in prison Mandela studied the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and watched the tactics of Martin Luther King, Jr. He began to understand the greatest weapon in the fight for justice was the moral high ground gained though a commitment to non-violence. After coming to this conclusion Mandela faced a dilemma. The government offered to release him if he would renounce violence. While his mind had changed about the usefulness of violence Mandela knew that the key to gaining equal rights for the black majority was the threat of violence over the white minority. Politically savvy Mandela maintained his commitment to violence publicly while privately urging the ANC to fight the struggle with non-violent means.

Leadership Trait: As a leader Mandela learned to have an open mind and embrace change again and again while staying true to his core beliefs.

3. Find Things That Unite

“One team, One country”

Springbok jerseyThe country that Mandela became President of in 1994 was anything but united. Whites were afraid and untrusting of majority black rule. Blacks were not totally convinced that the new government would liberate them out of the economic shadows. The situation was tense. So how do you get 42 million people to tolerate one another? The answer: Rugby. Rugby was traditionally a white man’s game in South Africa, and the black majority population would routinely support the teams of opposing nations when the country competed internationally. However, Mandela seized upon the PR opportunity of the 1995 tournament – hosted by South Africa — to rebrand the Springbok team, whose jersey took on the colors of the new national flag. One team, one country, all would walk tall under the new flag. Mandela even demanded that the team learn the words of the new national anthem, ‘Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika’, asking God to bless Africa for all of us. Although the firm underdogs, the national team was able to beat New Zealand in the final – Mandela’s single act of wearing the Springbok jersey united the nation as they all basked in the triumph of their now united South African team.

Leadership Trait: There is more that unites us than divides us. Leaders must find the things that unite us

4. Understand Your Impact

“I’m no angel”

Because he is associated with such high ideals and noble purpose Nelson Mandela has always been aware of the potential dangers of his own personality cult. He learned to talk less about “I” and more about “we,” and was determined “to be looked at as an ordinary human being.” Mandela himself has repeatedly said, “I’m no angel,” and his presidential predecessor F.W. de Klerk concurs: “He was by no means the avuncular, saint-like figure depicted today. As an opponent he could be brutal and quite unfair.” However, while people may have disagreed with the policies Mandela pursued, they don’t question his integrity. And it is his essential integrity more than his superhuman myth which makes him beloved and respected around the world.

Leadership Trait: While leaders are rarely, if ever, are confused with angels; they must know and understand the impact they have on those they lead.

5. Develop More Leaders

“When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace…”

When Mandela became president of South Africa at age 75 he was acutely aware of the need to develop more leaders for the nation. With his charismatic personality and beloved status Mandela could have remained in power for life, however he served only five years. In his farewell address to the nation the president said: “We take leave so that the competent generation of lawyers, computer experts, economists, financiers, doctors, industrialists, engineers and above all ordinary workers and peasants can take our country into the new millennium.”

Leadership Trait: Leaders know that they have a limited shelf life so that they must develop and make way for others to lead.

The Bottom Line: Lead Like Mandela

Inelson-mandela-timelinen the coming days tributes to Nelson Mandela will continue to pour in. As we remember this remarkable man, let’s not make him larger life. Rather let’s pay a true tribute by “Leading Like Mandela,” incorporating his traits so that we can be at our best for those we lead.


Marben Bland is a Writer, Speaker and Strategist focused on working with emerging biotech and high tech companies. He writes the weekly How to be a LinkedIn Ninja blog, in addition to the Weekly Job Report and the Friday Commentary blog.  A popular speaker at trade shows and seminars Marben is available for strategic consulting engagements or speaking at your next event; give him a call today at 608.358.1309

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8 Ways To Find A Mentor

Robert Williams

Robert Williams

At the start of my business career when I was filled with more promise than talent Dr. Bob Williams became my mentor.  He took me under his wing and helped me understand:

–        How to keep my cool in the heat of the office battle

–        How to ask the right question at the right time

–        How business really worked including the people I should befriend and avoid

Dr. Williams freely poured time, effort and priceless knowledge into me, I will be forever grateful for his efforts in turning me into a better-rounded professional.

Regardless if you are focused on growing your career or in job search or we need mentors.  People like Dr. Williams who can provide guidance, information and solve problems as we navigate the good the bad and the ugly of our career and lives.

Looking  For A Mentor?

Good question. But to be brutally honest, chances of finding a mentor like Dr. Williams are slim to none.   Why…I think the problem lies in the definition of mentorship. It’s far too narrow. Let me explain.

When most people use the term mentor, they mean a one-on-one coaching relationship with someone older and more experienced.  While you may be able to settle for an informal or ad hoc relationship instead of the traditional formal arrangement, the supply of mentors far exceeds the available supply.

Mentor – An Expanded View

So, what do you do if you are trying to find a mentor?

I suggest you expand your view of mentoring, to include any experience, resource, opportunity or person you can learn from.    Michael Hyatt, leadership expert and bestselling author of Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World Offers 8 ways we can find the advice, confidence and information that can come with mentoring in his post How to Find A Mentor.  I am pleased to present Michael’s thoughts:

1. Blogs and Podcasts

If you could wave a magic wand and be mentored by anyone, who would it be? John Maxwell, Seth Godin, Dave Ramsey or someone else? Chances are they have a blog or podcast and are already churning out a tons of content—for free. Are you taking advantage of it?

2. Books

There’s no greater value than a relevant, well-written book. For less than $20, you can get someone’s best thinking on a specific topic. Never before in history has so much knowledge been available to so many, for so little. And if you don’t have the money to buy a book, go to the library.

3. Courses

I’ve spent hundreds of hours with Tony Robbins, Brendon Burchard, David Allen, and numerous others. Not personally, of course, but by taking their courses. This is the next level up from reading a book. The instruction is more in-depth and, as a result, more likely to actually transform my behavior.

4. Conferences

When possible, I prefer live instruction. It provides an opportunity for total immersion, focused learning, and interaction with other students. It occasionally provides direct access to the instructor(s). I make it a priority to attend three to four conferences a year as a student.

5. Masterminds

I didn’t start hearing about these until a few years ago. Now they are all the rage. They are actually a very old idea. Benjamin Franklin, for example, had one. It’s a wonderful opportunity for peer mentoring. My friend Dan Miller has a great audio and PDF on how to create one.

6. Membership Sites

This can be a wonderful hybrid of input from specific mentors plus the input of fellow members. For many people this is the perfect combination. That’s what I do, for example, at Platform University. There’s a monthly fee attached, but it is nominal and enables us to bring high-quality content to our members.

7. Coaches

If you are willing to pay for a mentor, a coach is a great option. I employed one for more than a decade. While you may think you can’t afford one, I would challenge you to investigate it before dismissing it. If a coach helps you seize one opportunity, optimize your productivity, or avoid one fatal mistake, it will pay for itself many times over. I recommend Building Champions.

8. Mentor

Though a true mentor may be difficult to find, it’s not impossible. If you have one in mind, start by building the relationship—just like you would anyone else. Don’t lead with “Will you be my mentor?” (That’s like asking someone to marry you on the first date.) Instead, get to know them. Look

The Bottom Line: The Accountability of the Mentor  

In 1st Corinthians 4:17, Paul sends Timothy to mentor the Corinthian believers and to hold them accountable; for as Jesus said, “He who is faithful in little is faithful also in much” (Luke 16:10).  Dr. Williams was faithful in the little things, mentoring young professionals, tending to the fine points of the school system.  And he was faithful in the large thing as the Bibb County turned to him to lead the school system through its most challenging times.

On Friday, Dr. Robert Williams will be laid to rest.  He was in tune with his times while still ahead of his times. I like many are grateful that this “Timothy” was sent into my life to mentor me then and to keep me accountable long ago and even to this day.

Marben Bland is a Writer, Speaker and Strategist focused on working with emerging biotech and high tech companies. He writes the weekly How to be a LinkedIn Ninja blog, in addition to the Weekly Job Report and the Friday Commentary blog.  A popular speaker at trade shows and seminars Marben is available for strategic consulting engagements or speaking at your next event; give him a call today at 608.358.1309

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6 Tips for Working the Room at a Networking Event

Social Media TagsWhile social media has changed the landscape of personal networking nothing  is better than face to face contact.  Conducting  a job search based exclusively on job boards, LinkedIn and other social media actually
will reduce your chances of finding that job.


Move Beyond The Computer

You can’t hide behind your computer screen anymore. Now is the time to build your network’s size and effectiveness by getting out and meeting new people face to face. According to Harvard Business School, between 65 percent to 85 percent of all jobs are filled because someone knows someone else. Turn off your computer and get “out there.”

Find A Networking Event

Many professional organizations, common interest groups, companies and colleges run events clearly marketed as opportunities for networking. Scan your local newspaper or business journal, LinkedIn groups or to find them. Or simply run this Google search: “‘networking event’ AND ‘[insert your city]'” and tweak it to fit your needs.

Get Comfortable Networking  

Some people feel like a fish out of water in a room filled with strangers. If you are like this, just remember that all those other people are there because they are just like you: they want to meet new people and build new relationships. You might know something that they would value. You might be the answer to another networker’s needs.

Arnie Fertig is the head coach of JOBHUNTERCOACH.COM.  Annie and her coaches are super at helping mid-career job-hunters land their next job.  She has come up with a list of 6 Tips for “Working”   a room full of other networkers; allowing you to get the most out of your next networking event.

1. Be Your Real Self

Of course you’ve created your perfect branding statement and elevator pitch. You have it down pat, ready to recite at a moment’s notice. And you’re anxious to share it with anyone who will listen. But be careful not to launch into a nonstop monologue lest you come off sounding either robotic or like an MP3 player without a pause button.

Stay in the moment and observe carefully what kind of reception you’re getting. Pay attention to the eyes and body language of the person with whom you are speaking. Does the person you are with want to break in and ask a question or respond? Be prepared to share your story, but also be nimble enough to abbreviate or adapt it to suit the circumstance.

 2. Be Subtle

Most people like to help others. At the same time, you are quite likely to turn people off if you come off as a nonstop commercial touting yourself. Blatant self-promotion makes the networking experience all about selling you, like a TV infomercial, rather than all about building a personal relationship with another person.

3. Be Attentive

Networking is about active listening to learn about other people. Ask about how they got to where they are today, their accomplishments, current situation, challenges and needs. When you pose these kinds of questions, you will likely get strong cues about how you can best relate to your new acquaintance. You will learn what knowledge or experiences you can share that would be appreciated, what connections you can help establish, and how you can be a valuable networking partner. When you make the effort to assist someone else, they will be much more motivated to hear about you and how they can be of assistance.

4. Be Focused and Brief

When you are at an event, focus intently on the person with whom you are speaking rather than letting your eyes wander the room to see other potential targets. At the same time, recognize that networking situations are generally not the right venue for extended conversations. When there is a natural break, make sure to exchange cards and ask when it might be convenient to follow up or go into greater detail. Then go on to the next person. And of course, do follow up.

5. Be Positive

Networking events are not for venting. No matter how jaded or jilted you might feel about a past employer, boss or co-worker, keep your negative thoughts to yourself. Every time you denigrate someone else, you cause your listener to wonder if you did something to bring your woes upon yourself. It is easy to become viewed as someone unable to shake the past, rather than as someone who is potentially a valuable asset for the future. Don’t take time away from establishing a healthy relationship with a new person by burdening them with negativity.

6. Be Well Mannered

Don’t monopolize the conversation. Don’t text or check your phone for email when you should be interacting with others or listening to an event speaker. Be respectful of other people’s precious networking time. Recognize that they too want to work the room. Don’t let yourself become perceived as a desperate hanger on who can’t be brushed off easily.

You can use networking events for multiple purposes: to gain information about what’s going on in your field or industry, to catch up with fellow alumni, to gain new acquaintances and to move your job hunt forward. Rather than being afraid of participating in networking events, it is well worth your time to make them a part of your regular routine. If you attend with a positive, pay it forward attitude, you will surely be viewed as the admirable professional that you are, and you will earn the respect and trust of others.

Happy Networking

Marben Bland is a Writer, Speaker and Strategist focused on working with emerging biotech and high tech companies. He writes the weekly How to be a LinkedIn Ninja blog, in addition to the Weekly Job Report and the Friday Commentary blog.  A popular speaker at trade shows and seminars Marben is available for strategic consulting engagements or speaking at your next event; give him a call today at 608.358.1309

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When Presidents Gather….Legacies Follow

5 Living PresidentsThis April in Dallas, five presidents–four former and one currently in office, gathered as George W. Bush dedicated a library to document his presidency.   The Presidents gather on these extraordinary occasions, not only to share in the pride of a new member of their exclusive club getting a shiny new monument; but because they understand the concept of legacy.  From the moment they leave office, the primary mission of the former commander in chief is to become his legacy guardian in chief.

As mere citizens, we aren’t afforded the opportunity to have a library built in our honor with curators devoted to crafting our legacy.   Actually, we have a much more powerful tool available to spread our legacy, that is, the people we touch and the lives we are able to change.

God has given us many innate traits to build our legacy.  An examination of the intersection of presidential and biblical history reveals three traits that are at the heart of what it means to be human and a leader.


“Personal and professional transparency is freeing it is the key for me to live a better life.”   Dave Kerpen, New York Times Bestselling Author of Likeable Social Media.

 Richard Nixon

Richard NixonThe presidency and legacy of Richard Nixon will be forever stained by Watergate. While what was termed as a “third rate burglary” was not committed by the president, he was held responsible for the cover-up.  Mr. Nixon’s lack of transparency denied him the opportunity to come clean and seek the forgiveness of the American people.  Thus, by becoming the first president to resign the office, marring the brilliant work he accomplished in opening up China and laying the groundwork for the ending the war in Vietnam.

King David

From his humble beginnings as a giant killing shepherd boy to the king of Israel, David was a “friend of God.”  However, David’s strong relationship with the Father did not exempt him from sin and a lack of transparency.  David’s torrid affair with Bathsheba lead to her pregnancy.  To cover up his misdeeds David schemed to have Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, killed in battle.   Thinking he got away from his crime, David made Bathsheba one of his wives.  However, God sent the prophet Nathan to bring transparency back to David’s life.  In a dramatic conversation chronicled in 2nd Samuel 12:1-24, Nathan tells David the story of a rich man with plenty of sheep taking the only sheep of a poor man. Burning with rage, David proclaims that any man who would do such a thing deserves to die. Nathan then says to David…”you are that man!”

To have a legacy of transparency in our lives requires more than just a personal commitment to honest dealings.  It requires having “Nathans” in our lives; family, friends, and customers who will hold us accountable for our actions, allowing us to live free and full lives.


When you’re finished changing, you’re finished   – Benjamin Franklin

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas-JeffersonIn 1803, President Thomas Jefferson was presented with an opportunity to fulfill a dream cloaked in a principled dilemma. The dream: Thomas Jefferson imagined that the land mass of the United States should expand from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.   The opportunity:  Desperate for cash, France wanted to sell its Louisiana territory from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific. The dilemma:  Mr. Jefferson believed in a strict interpretation of the constitution and the constitution said nothing about the purchase of land.     President Jefferson solved this paradox adapting his principles for the good of the country and accomplishing his dream of expanding the United States to the Pacific by purchasing the Louisiana territory.


coat of many colorsThe life of Joseph is a study of a dream and adaptability.  As the favorite son of Jacob, Joseph infuriated his older brothers with his dream that one day they would bow down to him.   Incensed, the brothers threw him into a pit, where he found himself sold into slavery in Egypt and unjustly jailed.   In jail, he was recognized as an interpreter of dreams. The Pharaoh, struggling with the meaning of his dream, asked Joseph for an interpretation.   The interpretation: Egypt will have seven years of record harvest followed by seven years of famine. Impressed with his explanation, the Pharaoh appointed Joseph to lead Egypt during the harvest and the famine.   During the time of famine, Joseph’s brothers, who thought he was dead, came to the Pharaoh’s regent Joseph for help.  Unrecognized by his brothers, Joseph provided food along with a series of challenges that ultimately led to a reunion with his beloved father and the fulfillment of the dream of the brothers bowing down to him.

Many think adaptability is about the ability to change. However, as Jefferson and Joseph have shown, adaptability is truly about the ability to pivot.  In other words, maintain fidelity with our core principles with adaptability to our dreams.


The Buck Stops Here – Harry S. Truman

Harry Truman

Harry TrumanBy his own account, Harry Truman was a simple man.  But, simple does not mean that he was not complicated.  The last president without a college degree was faced with a host of intricate issues including the atomic bomb drop, the rebuilding of Europe and the integration of the Armed Forces.  President Truman governed with a simple motto that reflected his view of his role as a fair player for all: The Buck Stops Here!

 John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

This simple declaration in John 3:16: is God’s powerful promise to take care of the complexities of our lives when we simply give our lives to Him.

In this complex world, humans are drawn to simplicity.  We crave it and need it to make sense out of things.  Presidents are wise to bring issues to the American people in simple terms. God simply wants us to accept His love, protection, and peace.

The Bottom Line:  Leave a Brilliant Legacy

Congratulations, Mr. President!  The library is a brilliant testament to your legacy.  Our brilliant legacy testaments are built when we live our lives in God’s will with Transparency, Adaptability, Simplicity, and the other traits given to us by the Father.   For when the people of God gather…..legacies follow.


5 Ways to Become More Powerful at Work

Woman LeadingPower is the necessary component to be successful in any human endeavor.  How to acquire power, exercise power, and how to keep power is a skillset that successful people in all walks of life have learned how to master.   However, power is not about pushing others down, or using blunt force to advance your own cause.  Rather, power in the modern workplace is about the accumulation of attributes, skills, and savvy that will allow you to get things done, build alliances, and stay employed.

Power Makes The Difference

If you are going to make a difference in the workplace and beyond, you need to have power.   However, power is not given to any one — even if you are the boss daughter.  Power has to be earned and then exercised wisely to keep it.

Working as a strategist with emerging biotech and high tech companies, I advocate the creation of a culture where there is no monopoly on power.  In fact, many of my clients have endorsed the radical idea that everyone in the company should, and must have power — and lots of it.  Working towards that end, these companies have uncovered five fundamental ways in which power is acquired within their cultures. These companies are now actively encouraging employees to seek power.  I urge you to actively seek power as well.   I hope 5 Ways to get and Keep Power at Work becomes a roadmap for your success in the office and beyond.

1. Power is acquired by who you know

Developing strong, active, and deep networks is one of the surest ways to obtain power.  Your network contains people, not a collection of business cards or contacts in LinkedIn.  The people within your network can apprise you of danger, steer you to new opportunities, and provide a wealth of data critical for your success.  However, networking is not about what you take, instead, it is about what you give.  Powerful people proactively give far more than they take from their networks.  Be powerful give to your network.

2. Power is acquired by what you know

In today’s data driven world, knowledge is King.  The most successful companies are knowledge based operations.  Your power is derived chiefly from what you know.  Powerful people develop subject matter expertise and use it smartly to advance the business.  Be powerful spread your knowledge

3. Power is acquired by solving problems

When our jobs are broken down to its most basic elements, the reason for the job in the first place is to solve some problem. Cherryl Harris, diversity and inclusion project manager with the energy company Georgia Power, describes problem solving as “The Secret Sauce of Power.”  She goes on to say; “Our ability to solve problems, proactively, quickly, and correctly — the first time — makes us a valuable and powerful business asset.”    Be powerful solve problems

4. Power is acquired by being politically savvy

Being politically savvy is defined by mastering several actions, chief among them are: (a) correctly reading the tea leaves; (b) anticipating the moves of higher ups; (c) playing well with others in the sandbox; (d) picking the right battles and winning them; and, (e) adapting to change quickly.    Be powerful be politically savvy

5. Power is acquired by communicating well

Mastery of communications in all forms: written and oral, across all platforms –-  digital and analog– is a key way to obtain power.  The ability to promote your projects, agenda, and accomplishments with tact and diplomacy is a skill the truly powerful possess.  Toastmasters International is the perfect platform to enhance your communication skills.  They offer power packed program designed for novice and experienced speakers.  Find and join a Toastmasters club near you at   Be powerful communicate well

The Bottom Line: Power is where Power Goes

LBJLyndon Johnson understood power–how to acquire, exercise, and keep it– better than most politicians of his or any other era.   In volume four of his masterwork on the 36th President, The Passage of Power Robert Caro, tells the story of a massive overreach to obtain power by Johnson when he was elected Vice-President in 1960.  Johnson’s mantra “Power is where power goes” was on full display in his plan to expand the powers of the Vice-Presidency.  However, his power grab was rebuked by both the Senate and the new Kennedy administration. Leaving Johnson who was one of the most power men in Washington ruling the Senate, with an iron fist for nearly a decade to being the least power man in town as John Kennedy’s Vice-President.   The point for us in business is this: Power is vital for the success of our careers.  However, we must strike a balance — on one hand, working to obtain power aggressively, carefully, and deliberately, while on the other hand not overreaching to obtain it.

— Good luck in becoming more powerful at work and beyond.

Marben Bland is a writer, speaker and strategist specializing in building sustained high growth teams for emerging business in the medical and high tech sectors.