Expand Your Influence

A friend of mine once owned a McDonald’s franchise in Auckland and one day she was telling me about the McDonald’s mantra of controlling the controllables. This mantra is the foundation behind everything that McDonald’s does and was instrumental in the franchises’ global expansion. The idea is simple: if you focus on controlling what you can control, then more often than not, you’ll end up winning more than you lose.
 
Dr Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, also highlights the importance of focusing on what you can control in his Circle of Influence principle. According to Dr Covey, there are things that you can control, there are things that you can influence, and there are things that you just have to accept.
 
Figure 1: Circle of Influence Model 

 
In sales and leadership roles the things that you can control are your actions (what you do) and your attitude (what you think). You can influence the perceptions and the decisions of others. But you often have to accept external conditions (like market forces) and changes outside of your influence or control.
 
By focusing on what you can control, your circle of influence expands and you become more and more effective. The problem is that a lot of people waste huge amounts of energy worrying about things that are way outside their locus of control.
 
Figure 2: Expanding Your Circle of Influence

 

 To apply this idea to your work, here are two great questions to ask yourself:

  1. What areas am I spending energy on which are far outside my locus of control?

  1. What activities within my control would amplify my results if I focused more of my energy and attention on them?

 
By periodically asking yourself these two questions and refocusing your attitude and actions based on your answers, you can amplify your influence and enjoy more success in work and in life.