The Power of Influence Thinking™

If we have negative thoughts, what comes out in our actions and words likely won’t be constructive. This is why we must examine our mindset with the help of others and make corrections as needed. 

“If you realized how powerful your thoughts were, you’d never think a negative thought again.” – Peace Pilgrim 

Influence Thinking™ is the practice of filling our minds with thoughts that are positive and knowledge that’s intentional, then bouncing these thoughts and ideas off a trusted group of advisors. It requires leaders to have a mindset rooted in common purpose, values, and goals.

Leaders who practice and demonstrate Influence Thinking™ seek the voice of others, perhaps that of a stakeholder impacted by the thinking or a trusted leader.

When it comes to seeking the wise counsel of trusted individuals I like to use the term “grounding board” instead of “sounding board” because a grounding board is a more sought-after result of counsel. It is formed from a collaborative conversation as opposed to simply mirroring what the leader stated.  

Influence Thinking™ is the ability to think in a way that motivates, influences, and enables others to accomplish their goals, dreams, and aspirations. It’s leadership at its best. When leaders practice this mode of thinking, they are constantly gaining insight from others. Knowing how others see problems and even potential solutions improve the innovation process and the outcomes derived from incorporating a blend of views into the final solution.

Being aware of and seeking the voice of others allows for collaborative solutions or results to occur.

Influence Thinking™ Is Not Groupthink

These actions allow leaders to build effective teams that operate on a level of cohesion to manifest positive achievement and performance. When Influence Thinking™ is present at its optimal level, the group operates with the consistency of thought and action. This is not to be confused with Groupthink, where a misguided desire for agreement results in the suppression of others’ differing voices and perspectives.

Unlike Influence Thinking™, Groupthink suggests that team members are not fully vested, rarely challenge the status quo, and do not ask probing questions to stimulate critical thought and discourse.

How To Implement Influence Thinking™ in Your Organization 

  1. Understand that everyone at the table is needed.  Everyone shares an equal voice in contributing to the end product. This is the beginning of forming a collaborative mindset. In team learning, the collaborative mindset is important; as it sets the tone for individuals to be vulnerable and transparent. Team learning is when individuals operate within their tasks and within their responsibility to achieve the outcome of the organization. When we look at leadership behavior, the focus is on outcomes for the individual aligned with the organization. This type of team dynamic requires the sense of belonging, the opportunity for the team to establish a mental identity, and, more specifically, for individuals to understand what the dynamics and the individuality of the group will look like when everyone functions together.
  2. Everyone at the table must give their trust away. Because the concept is presented in a business setting and not a toxic social setting, the act of trust forms the basis of effective communication. The basis of a group’s primary dysfunction will always be vested in trust and when the group operates dysfunctionally, then trust is no longer present. This can lead to fear, which then creates an environment of uncertainty. To avoid distrust, individuals who truly want to function at a high level of Influence Thinking will honor the trust and give it freely. Once the group has established the basis of trust, they are ready to participate in collaborative problem-solving.
  3. Words without action are much like faith without works. It requires both to be effective. The actions of those engaged in Influence Thinking™ are modeling behaviors that support and reflect the seven characteristics of an effective leader, which are Teachable, Compassionate, Grateful, Truth-seeking, Humble, Pure of Heart, and Peace-making. 

Is there Influence Thinking happening within your organization?  How do you facilitate an environment where people feel like they have a mindset rooted in common purpose, values, and goals? 

Share your feedback below and connect with me to discuss how Influence Thinking and Cohesion Culture™ can transform your organization.  

To learn more about the leadership values that can positively impact your team and create a Cohesion Culture™️, connect with Dr. Troy here.


Dr. Troy Hall is the Chief Strategy Officer for South Carolina Federal Credit Union, a $1.8B financial cooperative with over 165,000 members. With a Ph.D. in Global Leadership and Entrepreneurship, Dr. Troy has earned the designation as an International Development Educator. As the author of Cohesion Culture: Proven Principles to Retain Your Top Talent, his book showcases how and why South Carolina Federal Credit Union has been named a “Best Places To Work” by Glassdoor, the Credit Union Industry, and State of South Carolina.

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