Blog · Nov 4, 2015

Who are the Biggest Influencers in your Business?

This week’s guest  blog…

What influences how you do business?

There is no point going fast if you are rowing in the wrong direction!

After spending a day with Ben talking about making the boat go faster, at a recent Will It Make The Boat Go Faster? workshop,  I finally managed to point mine in the right direction.

One of my favourite quotes of all time is from the late, great Jim Rohn, who said,

“If someone is going down the wrong road, he doesn’t need motivation to speed him up. What he needs is education to turn him around.”

Well despite the fact that I’ve loved that line for years it still hadn’t quite hit home…


Understanding your strengths

So there I was listening to Ben’s inspiring story about preparing for the Olympic final. The challenges, the failures, the pain and the glimmers of hope. I enjoyed hearing about the courage to turn away from the ‘accepted wisdom’ because it didn’t work for them. The habit of reviewing after every activity to identify the good and the bad made perfect sense. And the genius of having an over-riding, over-ruling and overtly-singular goal underpinning every decision really hit the spot. Then it hit me!

I thought I knew how to row before I’d even been taught…

You see, I had already read Ben’s book, so I had a pretty clear idea what, ‘Will it make the boat go faster?’ was all about. In fact, I turned up on the day with work on my mind and a whole lot of other stuff jostling for position just beneath it. You could say I was distracted, but it might be more accurate to say that I had already started rowing on the wrong lake.

Actually, if I’m honest (and I do try to be), I spend most of my time being distracted. Whether it is fighting dragons in the land at the back of my head, or just staring out of the window wondering what it would be like to be a Green Woodpecker… there I go again.

Then the game-changer hit me…


Discovering the influencers

I had enjoyed the book and I always love talking to successful people, so I wanted to go on the course anyway and that was essentially why I was there. So the day was going well and the more I engaged with what was turning out to be a thoroughly enjoyable event the more I let my other thoughts drift gently down the stream. Then the game-changer hit me and I realised what had been stopping my boat for so long.

We did this little exercise where you wrote the names of everyone who affects your business on a piece of paper, and number them to determine how much. (10 being positively and 1 being negatively.) Being a freelance writer I mostly work alone, so I had just three names. My wife, my business coach and myself. Emma, I gave an ‘eight’ because she is super-supportive (wife and best pal), but works in the public sector and has no idea what being an entrepreneur even means. Chris, I gave a ‘ten’ because he is amazing, and when I do follow his guide, everything works brilliantly. I got a ‘three’ because while I always ‘seem to be’ busy, I’d realised by then that I only spend minimal time in the right boat.

We were then asked to arrange our bits of paper on the table as a visual representation of who is the closest (and therefore) the biggest influencers in the business. Chris was the furthest away (about 50 miles), Emma came second and, of course, I could hardly escape the inevitable truth that I am the problem.


Going for gold

So on the way home I called Chris and asked him to become a full partner in my business. And he said ‘yes’. To be fair to Chris, he didn’t say ‘yes’ straight away, he went and applied careful, structured time and business wisdom to the suggestion then came back to me a week later. We are now creating a bigger plan which means I am not on my own and my responsibility involves commitment to someone else as well as me. It feels great.

So my two big learns from the day were:

Make sure you are in the right lake at the right time

Invite people into your boat who can help you keep on track.



Martin Gladdish is a specialist business storyteller and published author. He ghostwrites blogs for business leaders from across a variety of markets (not that you’d know…) and has even been known to pen a business book (in disguise) from time to time. An amateur magician in his spare time, Martin has a knack for using his magic dust to help his clients’ thoughts materialise in the written word. Visit to apply for your FREE sample blog.

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