Creating Portable Personal Power

– – part of the Creating PPP series – –

Inspired by various conversations and observations, the Creating Portable Personal Power blog series has been a few months in the making.  Not least because I knew why I wanted to do it and what I was trying to achieve but… I’ve been struggling to put this, the first part, into words!  You gotta chuckle 🙂

So what do I mean by

Portable Personal Power (PPP)

… an individual’s ability or capacity to be their best; to positively influence the behaviour of others or the course of events; regardless of the situation

At its core, PPP is how we see, learn from, navigate and interact with the world around us.

Why It Matters

All Change:  Change is a natural and important part of all our lives.  It may be planned; it may be unexpected.  It may be gradual; it may be sudden.  Without change we stagnate, we can become complacent and we can become fearful of change itself.  The ability to deal with change, to initiate it and make the best of what may appear to be a bad situation is what PPP is all about.  Strength and resilience today and tomorrow regardless of what’s round the corner.

Smoke and Mirrors:  Once upon a time (well, still today actually) the ‘powers-that-be’ decreed, “thou shalt be seen to have abundant power by your position in an organisation and by your job title.  Status and structure is your route to power”.  In his book, ‘Power at Work‘, Jo Owen refers to this as Formal Power and it is the one which most of us will have experienced and understand.

Interestingly, having Formal Power doesn’t necessarily mean you have PPP.  Being able to navigate the hierarchy and politics of organisations are important skills but on their own can lead to building a career and apparent success on a foundation of sand.  Status and a flashy job title without PPP result in weak leadership, toxic cultures and personal anxiety.

Guru in a Box:  While reading Jo Owen’s book  I also happened upon his term Guru in a Box and it struck a chord.  Especially in relation to my own work and my dim-n-distant past.  Oh, how hard I worked not to become a Guru in a Box!  And succeeded by the way 🙂

What he is referring to is Expert Power.  This is power based on specialist knowledge or functional expertise.  Although this may be how many of us start our careers or what we use to start a business, it is not enough.  If we let it, striving for Expert Power alone can limit us and potentially reduce our PPP.  Career opportunities and the ability to embrace change come for those who use their technical expertise as a spring board to develop from not a safety blanket to hide behind.

Tips on Creating PPP

Not wanting to sound too wishy-washy about it, we all find our own path to creating Portable Personal Power.  Everyone’s different after all.  There are, however, general areas we can focus on to help us on our way.  My approach to learning and development, The Diamond Effect®, supports and enables PPP by recognising 4 key areas:

Creativity:  Adopting a creative mindset, understanding the nature of creativity plus appreciating and extending our own creative abilities help build PPP.

Caring:  Understanding ourselves better, appreciating everyone is different and then caring enough to do something about it; all help create PPP.

Communities:  It is rare we work in complete isolation.  Whether we’re working in formal structures, virtual teams, transient project groups or our own venture, being aware of how situations differ and the ‘rules of engagement’ are fundamental to PPP.

Communication:  Investing in and improving our communication skills help us create and sustain PPP.  Influence, reach, engagement and credibility in a multitude of situations require the ability to communicate on many levels and via multiple media.

4 Top Tips

  1. Decide to invest in your own professional development
  2. Remember change is inevitable and you are allowed to initiate it
  3. Moving into action once you have decided to do something helps build confidence
  4. There’s no such thing as failure; it’s an experiment that gave unexpected results; it’s a chance to learn

Portable Personal Power enables us to be our best whatever we do, wherever we go.  Nurture it, value it and help others to invest in theirs too.  In the words of Abdul-Rehman Malik, “becoming better versions of ourselves makes us better able to navigate the challenges thrown at us”

The Rest of the Series

I am delighted to have coming up, as part of this series, blog posts from two brilliant guest bloggers.  Both are shining examples of PPP in action.  I know you will find their honest insights into personal experiences of changing careers, building businesses and shifting sectors valuable and thought-provoking.

Over the next three days, please watch out for

Inspiring Voices #1:  Career change and business insights from Michelle Ramsey

Inspiring Voices #2:  Career change and business insights from Alison Persson

Tips for Creating PPP:  Collection of tips to help you invest in your PPP

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