One of the more difficult things facing youth leaders today is the challenge to create influence within a community for the sake of the Gospel. When I watch this trailer for a forth coming film on how trends and creativity are birthed I can’t help but think about youth workers and the future of both youth advocacy and ministry. No matter what your interest is in the Stash or your spiritual standing I think we can all agree that the way we think about reaching broken students requires us to build influence. I like how it’s put by the trailer.
Think differently. They express themselves and filter what is before them through a lens that others don’t possess.
Are early adopters. The panorama of interests that fuel them place them in paths of every single cultural medium.
See the next thing. If there is a line where the majority feels they have reached all possibilities the influencer stands on the other side and is amazed that nobody has erased the line and moved ahead.
Are comfortable in their thinking and mode of creativity. The way they shape their thinking and movement comes natural to them and is as much a part of them as their own skin.
They are visionary. They can take just about anything and create energy for need and understanding that the masses can buy into and own for themselves.
They care about the next generation. Influencers want to see that their influence carries on through those around them that have the hunger.
Recently, Seth Godin posted thoughts on his blog about how you speak to your employees. When I read it I recognize that when it comes to the influencers on your team or in your group of students a good portion of the things Seth conveys have the same translation for your influencers.
“Don’t talk to all your employees, all your users or all your prospects the same way, because they’re not the same.
The Dreyfus model of skill acquisition posits that there are five stages people go through:
–wants to be given a manual, told what to do, with no decisions possible
2. Advanced beginner
–needs a bit of freedom, but is unable to quickly describe a hierarchy of which parts are more important than others
–wants the ability to make plans, create routines and choose among activities
–the more freedom you offer, the more you expect, the more you’ll get
–writes the manual, doesn’t follow it.
If you treat an expert like a novice, you’ll fail.”
That edge where the difference between someone with no influence and those who have it is somewhere between number three and number four.
Those who take zero initiative, have to be told what to do, and need their hand held at every step may some day become an influencer but it is highly unlikely. There in that group you will spend way too much time and way too much energy creating movement.
If you want to maximize influence look for those who have a history of creating buzz and following through un-manufactured means. Those people move in organic ways. They seldom keep a schedule, seldom stay focused, and usually express themselves in ways that stand apart from their contemporaries. Don’t give them the directive. Ask them questions and extract what they see as possible and ahead of you. The ideas that come from them and their ability to sell them requires their buy in. The biggest mistake you can make however is to expect them to execute the details and maintain the follow up. The ones who need to come behind them taking care of the details and the grunt work are the ones who need to be told what to do. Those are the 1’2, 2’s, and 3’s in Seth’s post.