leadership

Attraction is in the beholder?

Owning our own magnetism

I stand at six-foot-three-inches and find it hard to stretch out. There is never enough room! Given my back problems, I like to get down on the carpet when relaxing in front of the TV in the evening to do a range of stretches. But since we moved house recently, the configuration of our furniture hasn’t allowed this.

So, on the weekend, we did some furniture re-arranging. In doing so, an old side table didn’t fell apart, and was ready for the scrap heap. We left it in place knowing we would look to replace it sometime soon. Then, Jana (my wife) spotted a strong, sturdy small coffee table on the side of the road on her way home from work. She talked to the people who were throwing it out and they were happy for us to take it away.

Our beautiful (old) new table that fits perfectly in the corner of our lounge room. Winning!

Our beautiful (old) new table that fits perfectly in the corner of our lounge room. Winning!

Within a day, we had replaced the side table. What a lucky break!

But, was there something else at play? Rhonda Byrne’s best-seller, The Secret, talks of the Law of Attraction – basically the idea that whatever you ask the universe for is, in fact, what you will get. Is this what happened to us with the side table? We thought it and then got it…?

I am not convinced. Here is a cracking article by Mark Mason (author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck) superbly discounting Byrne’s premise as nonsense.

Another theory at play here may be the Reticular Activation System (RAS) – a neural system in our brain that highlights things in the world that we are thinking about at the time. This explains why we feel there are 100’s of ‘P Plate’ drivers on the road when we are getting our licence, or how there seems to be prams everywhere when we are having a baby. This video explains RAS with a touch of geeky humour.

You’ve gotta love the “2001: A Space Odessey” HAL reference.

I think these are nice ideas, but I am sceptical that merely thinking will bring more of what we are thinking. I feel that we can all be Attractors, as Professionals, Leaders, Teams, and Organisations whereby people gravitate towards us. Talented people and consumers alike want to work with us, consume from us, and even become advocates on our behalf. To achieve this I suggest it takes a little more than just ‘thinking’ or ‘wishing’ it.

There is a lot of groundwork we can all do to increase our ‘Attractor’ status. Robert Cialdini, author of The Six Principals of Persuasion, talks about the power of Social Proof (18 ways to use Social Proof, Buffer). I love Roberta Chinsky Matuson’s work in this area. In her books, The Magnetic Leader and Talent Magnetism, the message is that building relationships through Respect is the best way to form deep loyalty and a reputation that is worth others investing in. Jim Collins mentions similar themes in many of his publications also.

Organisations that have done this well include Google (which has Googlers), Amazon (which has Amazonians), Disneyland (which has Cast Members), and The All Blacks (that have their famous No D*ckheads policy). These entities are loved industry wide. Everyone wants to be them, wants to shop from them, or wants to work for them.

There are whole isles in bookstores dedicated to the strategies these companies use to do what they do. My belief is that they have done the thinking, but also, they have done a lot of doing. They have actively pursued their purpose unapologetically and relentlessly. I would love to know your thoughts on how you. me, and others can increase their Attractor Status.

In the meantime, be sure to do plenty of stretching everyday – I will be.

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