Monday, April 13, 2009

The Charisma Factor

The California governorship of Arnold Schwartzenegger is a prime example of leveraging personality to strengthen one's position. The citizens of California faced an $8 Billion deficit with an astronomical tax base. It was understandable that they needed a change--a drastic one! While it would have seemed prudent to elect a governor with an aggressive and ambitious plan of action based on a proven track record, they did the reverse. Arnold Schwartzenegger with no political experience, proven track record or plan of action was overwhelmingly elected with nearly 49% of the votes. Some analyst attributed Schwartzenegger's win to his charisma and movie screen appeal. If this is true, the whole idea of how the world really operates has to be recognized and reexamined. This is a telling sign of where resources, motivation and focus should be directed. While, competency will always be the essential component for maintaining a position of strength, it is the perceptions one creates that garner the power and influence that people are apt to follow. If you are not considering the impact of the perceptions you create with a firm understanding of human nature, it will be extremely difficult to strengthen your ability to galvanize organizations. This notion goes contrary to most of the tenets we have been taught about acceptability, fair play and humility. Actually, the idea of strategic positioning based on personality is a departure from everything we have been taught. A productive citizen is seen as valuing family, education and equitable public policy. After all, doesn't this lend itself to perpetuating civilization? Are we saying now that civilization takes a backseat to imagery and media manipulation? The answer is yes. The distribution of resources, opportunities and power gets doled out to individuals who captivate and capture the imagination of decision and policy makers.

Enhancing one's charisma begins with first accepting charisma as a way of life in conjunction with the machinations of human nature. Charisma is a skill set that is cultivated like any other learned skill like driving, writing or communicating. The biggest components that make individuals unique are their ability to express themselves verbally and nonverbally. Structurally speaking, we are the same physiologically. As such, self- expression is the only thing that makes us unique and should be cultivated. What does your walk say about you? How do you articulate yourself and what might people draw from your words? Do you slouch or stand erect? Everything you do is a form of expression either making you engaging or repulsive. If you haven't thought about how your self-expression or charisma is being reflected, you should begin to do so to effectively compete on the world stage.

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