I like to read autobiographies. It really doesn’t matter too much who the person is, I find reading about the lives of other people to be inspiring. Please notice that I didn’t say I found reading about others to be influential.
To me, there’s a real difference in the words inspire and influence. In fact, I looked them up in the dictionary.
Inspire – to draw forth or bring out
Influence – the power to produce an effect without apparent force or command
Honestly, there’s probably only one person that I’d say can influence me…yep, that’s Mr. B. When you’re partners (both personally and professionally) with someone for as long as we’ve been, they probably influence you (even in a small way.)
But inspire? I get inspired a lot. I’m inspired by art, music, conversation, and reading. Ben Eubanks over at Upstart HR recently tweeted about getting his best ideas on the drive to work…for me, that’s inspiring.
Why am I talking about inspiration and influence today? Well, as I prepare to attend the SHRM Annual Conference, it’s important for me to ‘get inspired’ but not necessarily ‘be influenced.’ Let me explain.
I want to learn about the newest, latest and best of everything in human resources. But HR is not a ‘one size fits all’ occupation. What works for one company in their unique culture might not work somewhere else. And, the answer for one person in their particular circumstance may not fit for someone else. I’ve never understood how organizations such as Southwest or Disney can influence people so greatly. Are they great culture stories? Absolutely. But just try to *toss* something like the Fish! Culture directly into your organization. (Sorry – bad pun.)
The bottom line? Just because a theory, person or culture has high visibility doesn’t mean they should have influence. But, there are many things out there that can inspire us to create positive changes in ourselves and our organizations. As you head out every day to learn new things, consider what you’re doing with the information. Are you using it to inspire you or influence you?
Hey, by the way, if you’re looking for a whole lot of inspiration today, be sure to check out the latest Carnival of HR over at Inflexion Point. There’s definitely something there for everyone!