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27 Jan 2011

Some People Have the Influence of Trees

Do you know anyone who has the influence of trees?

The influence of trees can teach us much about our own influence.

When we enact our plans, influence plays a key role in leading our teams. Too often though we mistake control for influence. Looking at the influence of trees on us helps us see how they differ. An attorney’s story begins our trip.

An Attorney’s Story about Influence

An attorney once told me about a client who often included him in their company’s planning sessions. This puzzled him. They did not seem to need his input most of the time.

He began to doubt the value he gave them in this area. I shared with him the two broad types of influence. I did this through a story about little league game. A client had invited me to watch her son play.

Two Broad Types of Influence

During the game her husband and the other fathers were busy shouting tips to their sons. The mothers shouted encouragement. This shows two types of influence.

There is the direct kind. The giving of tips that help the sons do better. There is the indirect kind. The giving of emotional support help them to do better too.

In all, the sons played better. Tips help solve problems. Emotional support motivates them to apply the tips and tackle the problems. I then connected this to the influence of trees on us.

Influence of Trees

When business teams do their planning, they often go on retreats. These tend to be serene settings. They often have trees.

Now, the trees do not offer any real advice. The influence of trees makes for a setting better for planning. This is very much like the moms at the baseball game. Their influence makes for a setting in which their sons can play.

This Attorney Has Influence of Trees

I then connected the influence of trees to the influence of the attorney. I told him that his clients likely just felt better when he was there. They might not be aware of this though.

It is common for people to wrongly peg the source of many influences. It is also common for us to wrongly peg our own influence. That is why the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life is so enduring.

The attorney chuckled. He said he felt better about charging his fees.

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