What power do you have?

We are part of our environment, a network of people shaping our daily lives. In this network you have a position. This position impacts what your success, what you can access, who you talk to.

What power do you have?

The figure shows who is influencing whom. Who do you think is more powerful: Amelia, Katerina, Peter, Jona, or Martin?

You and I, we are part of our environment, a network of people shaping our daily lives. Within this network, you have a position. This position is important. It impacts what you can achieve, what information you can access, who you can talk to, and what products and services you adopt. Every position in a network has a certain amount of power.

Power here means having access to knowledge and being able to impact other people's decisions and behavior.

You have an influence on other people's decisions and (life) choices. Don't think so? Watch this small video on the wisdom (madness) of crowds. Whatever you make impacts the people around you.

How powerful do you think you are? There is an easy way to calculate it. Actually, there are many ways to calculate it, depending on how you define power. The most important distinction is between local influence and global influence.

Local influence: Being powerful in your bubble

Local influence is self-centered. It's all about you and your connections. The more people you interact with, the more influence you have. This is your standard influencer measure on social media. It's your follower count on your preferred social media platform.

The important feature of local influence is direct contact between people. Thanks to this direct contact, you can influence others by telling them information (e.g., read this post, use this tool) or making them copy your actions (e.g., invest in bitcoin, buy a product). This is local influence. It's all about you and the people you know.

Global influence: Reaching into other bubbles

If local influence is all about you, global influence is as if your eyes have been opened, and you can see beyond your bubble. Global influence is still about you, but not entirely. If local influence is about your bubble, global influence is how easy you can reach people in other bubbles.

You are only powerful if your connections have many connections. Only by being connected to influential others do you have power. In a way, you don't have to be the person with the most likes or followers. You just have to know that person and get them to say and do what you want.

Which power do you want to have?

You might ask yourself, which one is better? Of course, it depends. Your local influence is limited to your circle of connections, but within this circle, you can accomplish a lot thanks to the trust you have build up. On the other hand, global influence increases your reach, but it can take longer to impact people's lives.

Some examples:

  • If you want to share knowledge across groups/silos, you need to know someone in another group. This means having global influence. If you want that knowledge to have an impact, the person with whom you share the knowledge needs to have local influence. If a powerful person agrees with outside information, the chances are that everyone else will follow suit.
  • To make someone change their behavior, local influence is important. Changing behavior is difficult. A direct relationship symbolizes trust. Trust helps when trying to convince someone to try out something new.
  • If you want to spread information quickly, global influence is more important.
  • If you want to be the first to hear new information, global influence is more important.

Who has the power?

In the picture below, Peter has the highest level of local influence. That’s easy to verify. Count the lines around the red square. But it’s Katerina who has global influence. You can see that she’s has access to four different bubbles. She doesn’t have a direct link to Peter but is connected to three people who are connected to Peter. This is sufficient to get Peter’s attention.

Don't care about how powerful you are? Flip it around: Who shapes your decisions and actions?

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