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Influence is About Giving Permission

One of the least talked about aspects of “influence,” is that influencers give other people permission to act. For instance, millions of African-Americans dutifully walked to the back of buses throughout the South during the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, but once Rosa Parks refused to move, it gave others permission to do the same. Today, a literal movement has risen up around an airline passenger who told a TSA agent, “If you touch my junk I’ll have you arrested.” Silly as that statement may seem, the fact is we all felt inconvenienced about invasive airport searches, but when one person finally threw down a gauntlet, it gave others the courage to speak out. Now, a national movement is happening.

Most people are waiting for permission to act. Some are too timid, others aren’t sure, and still others don’t have the confidence to step out. And that’s why leadership matters. Real influencers can feel the temperature of the room, understand the issues that matter, and take the first step – giving permission for others to follow.

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Phil Cooke, Ph.D, is a filmmaker, media consultant, and founder of Cooke Media Group in Los Angeles, California. His latest book is “Ideas on a Deadline: How to Be Creative When the Clock is Ticking." Find out more at philcooke.com.