Chairman's Message: Everyone is an Influencer

Words: Dick Dentinger

Words: Dick Dentinger

My wife and I have two children. Two incredible daughters, now in their thirties, each have cut their own path leaving Sheryl and I proud and confident with the lives they’re building. Because of the careers they are in and the generation they represent, I especially value how they keep us current in the ever-changing modern world in which we live.

Daughter number one (at least chronologically) has always been a very smart, pensive, deep thinker. In both elementary and high school, she would debate her teachers about the heaviest of subjects. Her teachers enjoyed the spirited volley and her willingness to dive deep into any subject to challenge a belief or convince anyone of why her beliefs were valid. She was an influencer.

Not surprisingly, she was a psychology major in college and now works for a publishing company which sells personality tests. The DISC program separates our personalities into four different categories on their pie graph. Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Compliance. Think of your own personality traits and where you may land on such a pie graph. The important reality is that there isn’t a wrong test result. We are who we are. Most of us are a blend of the categories. Businesses pay to have their employees take the assessment to get a better understanding of how and why we do well or struggle in our interactions with certain personalities. We can learn to identify both our own personality traits and tendencies as well as an awareness of where our coworkers sit on the same graph. A simple example would be when we hear someone described as an introvert versus an extrovert and the obvious challenges that one type of personality may have in a specific setting or with specific contradicting personalities.

Daughter number two (at least chronologically) is a natural born project manager. As a child she always had order in whatever she did. She would lay out her clothes each morning before selecting the outfit of the day. She made lists and organized the adventures of the gaggle of kids in the neighborhood. Like her sister, her clever wit and communication skills helped to convince people of the importance of whatever her agenda was. She was an influencer.

Not surprisingly, she ended up with a career in marketing. She now works for a major retail chain and is a manager charged with working with influencers. Recall that the above referenced personality assessment has a personality category named for INFLUENCERS. She is charged with advising these influencers of strict guidelines to follow when promoting the products and vendors of the retailer she represents. I find the whole thing amazing. Our society is obsessed with all things digital. We crave it like a drug. Videos, reels, podcasts, and social media posts. So now, savvy advertisers have moved from traditional commercial advertising, to using influencers of all ages and interests in an effort to influence our daily decisions on what products and services we need or want. These influencers are effective and the marketing works.

Two daughters. Two very different personalities and interests. Yet they both ended up on the same chain of this battle to better understand how we interact with each other and sell our influence in our daily lives. It matters as Influencing others is a form of selling. Sometimes, it’s to sell our ideas, sell our position in a disagreement, or to motivate someone in our lives. We are peddling influence in everything we do.

Even in managing our masonry operations, we all struggle with how we can be a more effective influencer. If we learn to consider our individual personality traits and the traits of those with whom we work, we are better equipped to positively influence our coworkers in the office, at the jobsite and throughout our business. Our business is our livelihood, so it matters. We increase our chances of success if we limit the amount of time we spend in conflict. Conflict is a drag on our efforts and creates a negative culture within our teams at the office or on the jobsite. So, we need to influence others in the most effective and positive way.

It’s similar to the role of a basketball coach. There are more than a dozen players on the team, and each has their own personality traits. One player may thrive from being called out and pushed hard, another may need encouragement and coaching-up or they’ll regress. A great coach assesses the personality of each and then influences each differently. Mastering that ability makes them not just a coach, but an effective influencer; and it equates to more success.

In our offices we should cultivate a team atmosphere where we create positive energy and a culture of encouragement. We can do that by having effective influencing skills. In the management of our field crews, we should be trying to cultivate a sense of trust and teamwork that encourages a sense of respect and honorable work and the best production possible on a wall. I struggle to keep this in mind throughout the week. But when I do, I am much more effective at having a positive influence on the day.

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