Power for the Powerless

In industry, whether your ideas get taken seriously depends on more than the quality of your thoughts. If the receptionist shares an idea and the CEO shares the exact same idea, more people will take the idea seriously when it comes from the CEO. Most people intuitively grasp the last sentence to be true but [...]

Overcoming Bias & Prejudice

In every country, industry, and organization, there exist two categories of people. The first category is high-status individuals. The second is low-status. Your status is determined by your ethnicity, gender, educational, achievement, and job title. If you’re in a low-status position, your ideas will automatically be perceived as less valid, less correct, and less influential [...]

Why Brilliant Ideas Aren't Enough

Two people are in the same meeting. Both express the same idea. One gets ignored, while the other is acknowledged as being insightful. Why does this happen? The short answer is the person who got seen, heard, and acknowledged possessed gravitas — an executive presence where others take your ideas seriously merely because the words [...]

Halo Effect

In psychology, the “halo effect” refers to a psychological tendency where the impression of a person in one area carries over to another area. The tendency was first identified and named by psychologist Edward Thorndike in 1920. In his research, he observed that people seen positively in one light tend to be assumed to have [...]

Actual vs. Perceived Competence

In the Olympics and many other sporting events, you don’t need to worry about perceptions. Your performance is measured down to the hundredths of a second. It is objective. After the race ends, your actual competence and perceived competence are one and the same. However, business is different. Ideas and perception of ideas are subjective. [...]

The Importance of Executive Presence

When I was in my first year at McKinsey, one of my Engagement Managers gave me some feedback. He said, “You’re smart, you’ve got the analytics, but you come across like you’re young and inexperienced.” My response was, “Well… that’s because I AM young and inexperienced!” He said, “That’s irrelevant.” “Rather than think of yourself [...]

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