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How and why this volume can serve both as a mirror and as a window to one's humanity, for better or worse
on 2 August 2014
In this book, Sally Hogshead develops several of the concepts and insights she provided in a previously published book, Fascinate, that she characterizes as "the science of fascination." However, there is more - much more - in this later book as she continues to share all that she has learned (thus far) about three separate but related, indeed interdependent dimensions of human interaction: how we may think others see us, how in fact they do, and - if there is a significant difference -- what is needed to achieve the desired perceptions. She is convinced - and I agreed with her - that people can improve and enhance their impact on others, especially in terms of appearance/presence as well as body language and tone of voice.
The key is to identify one's highest value. That is, "The pinnacle of who you already are; what makes you exceptional. How you are different: Your specialized ability to deliver above and beyond what's expected."
The Japanese term "kaizen" usually refers to an organization's continuous improvement but it can also refer to an individual's. Once you identify your highest value (whatever it is, however high it is), you can then focus on increasing it because, Hogshead observes, "When you live according to your highest distinct value, you become your most fascinating -- and most valuable self."
She makes an excellent point about the power of focus: "Ever watch a 3-D movie without 3-D glasses? It's a distorted jumble of information. You're more likely to feel confused than impressed. But then, when you put on those plastic 3-D glasses, your vision whips into focus. Suddenly, the confusing jumble becomes clear. The scene has depth and meaning. You can grasp the information in front of you, and understanding everything that is happening."
Hogshead identifies and examines the Seven Advantages:
1. Power: lead with command and communicate with authority and confidence
2. Passion: connect with emotion (empathy) and build connections with your warmth and enthusiasm
3. Mystique: communicate with substance and impress with your analytical skills and thoughtful communication
4. Prestige: earn respect by setting and meeting higher standards
5. Alert: prevent problems and keep people and projects on track by managing the details
6. Innovation: "change the game" by pushing a company to innovate with creative ideas
7. Trust: build and sustain loyalty with a consistent and familiar presence
Think of each as a primary advantage, a defining advantage. Also, keep in mind that there is always room for improvement of each. Hogshead also identifies 49 Archetypes; seven per Advantage. For example, for Trust: Evolutionary (curious, adaptable, open-minded), Authentic (approachable, dependable, trustworthy), Gravitas (dignified, stable, hardworking), Diplomat (levelheaded, subtle, capable), Old Guard (predictable, safe, unmovable), Anchor (protective, purposeful, analytical), and Good Citizen (principle, prepared, conscientious). These are Hogshead's terms and descriptives. There is an appropriate synonym for each. The point is, that each of us has a primary, defining Advantage and the challenge is to increase its value, to bring it into sharper focus.
These are among the dozens of business subjects and issues in Part I ("How Does the World See You?") that were/are of special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of Hogshead's coverage.
o The Art and Science of Fascination (Pages 7-9)
o The Threat of Distraction (25-29)
o The Threat of Competition (29-33)
o The Threat of Commoditization (33-37)
o Your Dimensional Personality (41-44)
o The Fascination Flow, and, The Science of Fascination (48-53)
o Stand Out, or Don't Bother (67-70)
o The Seven Fascination Advantages (81-91)
o The Power Advantage: Leading Through Authority (93-116)
Hogshead does an especially skillful job of framing key material with crisp but informative mini-introductions and then, later, with brief but inclusive "reviews" of key points. I also commend her on a formula she devised when discussing the 49 Archetypes within the seven categories of Advantages in Chapter 4, Pages 117-339. For example, "How the World Sees the Change Agent," "The Change Agent's Top 5 Adjectives," "'Highest and Best Value' of the Change Agent," "What Is Not the 'Highest and Best Value' of the Change Agent?" "How to Work with a Change Agent," "Archetypes That Can Optimize the Change Agent," "A Lesson That Everyone Can learn from the Change Agent," "One Minute Coaching to My Change Agents," "Famous Change Agents," "Example of an Anthem for the Change Agent," and "How the Change Agent Might Apply This Anthem."
With regard to the anthem, "It is a short phrase that describes how you are different, and what you do best. This makes it easy for people to understand why they should work with you. They can quickly 'get you, because they immediately grasp what you do best." Hogshead devotes Chapter 7 to explaining with which her readers can formulate a high-impact anthem for themselves. While reading this chapter, an interesting exercise occurred to me: Supervisors formulate an anthem for each of their direct reports before completing one for themselves. Hmmm.....
Obviously, no brief commentary such as mine can possibly do full justice to the scope and depth as well as the quality of the information, insights, and counsel that Sally Hogshead provides. However, I hope I have at least indicated why I think so highly of it.
One final point: I think it is ridiculous that a volume of 428 pages (including appendices) has no index. It is imperative that one be added if and when there is a second edition.