Tag Archives for " leveraging leadership "

Affectus’ Leadership Leverage

Leveraging your leadership goals can be challenging. How do you leverage your leadership? What effort does it take?

Here are the Affectus Seven Steps to Leadership Leverage that we have found most effective.

Step 1 - Understanding Effort

What do you want to change? And how do you use the lever?

Step 2 - Clarity

Get clarity about effort. Talk about it and test your thinking.

Step 3 - Understanding Effort... Again

Understand the personal effort required to lever for change.

Step 4 - Group Effort

Bring other people in: people who understand the change you are aiming for.

Step 5 - Build the Fulcrum

Build your fulcrum with the pivot point using all the people as your fulcrum.

Step 6 - Position the Fulcrum

Position the people in a way that will maximise the effort you will all apply.

Step 7 - Effort Applied

And now push. Gently, quickly and with all the force you can muster. Push.

For more information on leveraging leadership, read our other articles here.

What does leverage look like?

What does leverage look like? Sound Like? Feel Like?

And how can you lever so that things move rather than becoming immovable objects.

You know that recent spat about the Sydney Opera House sails being used for advertising? Leaving aside that I was a little surprised that the decision was made, it was an interesting case of leverage don’t you think?

  • Who moved whom?
  • What levers were pulled?
  • What did it sound like?
  • And I wonder, for the people close to the action, how did it feel?

I am not going to side-up here. But some of the levering was pretty loud and aggressive and driven by a big personality. Some levering was more active and included lots of names and quite a big mob.

So, what could putting pressure on the lever sound like?

How can you press on the lever without alienating those who might assist you press on the lever?

It has to sound like an honest conversation doesn’t it?

If it is an attempt to manipulate someone, then using this form of leverage there will eventually be a recoiling. And golly, when that happens…when that happens…

Well, we saw what happened. The big personality had to (again) apologise.

It sounds like trusting your idea with others. But knowing that you have done the thinking that if the sharing isn’t received well then you share again. Perhaps you revise, but you continue to understand the need for a shift to happen.

It sounds like you listening and adding, don’t you think?

How does leverage feel?

Remember the power of the fulcrum in levering.

Remember that, initially, you need to build a fulcrum and then you position your idea in a way that makes the most of the pressure you will apply.

It feels like understanding why and feeling the future.

It feels like you are clear and focused. You can see where you are headed and you want to go there.

But, I believe the pivot needs others who will assist in the movement you are determined to make. And all of that feels like understanding and shared knowledge.

That feeling happens through communication.

How can you be empathetic during the pressing of the lever?

Why is this important?

I have done a lot of thinking about leverage and change.

I have a weed that grows in my garden. It is called marshmallow (nice name but a rotten weed). It is useful to assist with nettle stings (which also grow in my garden and yes, I am not much of a gardener). And if I don’t get the levering right, the marshmallow just breaks off and grows a deeper tap root that is twice as difficult to lever out!

Yep thinking about how others are going to respond to the change is really important. Why? To ensure you don’t simply entrench what you are trying to move. That, in your effort to level, you snap it off and the entrenched thinking/doing becomes further entrenched.

Does it always have to be about the talking?

Can’t the pressure be about the doing also?

Well of course. After all, it is all about getting something done. A group to a new place or a great project started and finished. But yep it does have to start with and continue to be about the talking. And, the bigger the shift the more and the smarter the talking required.

Leverage – get on with it.

What levers are you pulling?

Are you conscious of what levers you are pulling? The levers around you? What lever have you put pressure on today?

We have previously discussed a process to maximise your Affectus Leadership Leverage (download the Leadership Leverage Process Checklist here)

This week, we discuss why to use leverage.

I have been doing some volunteer work for many months to help me make further sense of the theoretical. Doing this always helps me when I am trying to get my head around something new. I hope it will help you too.

Leveraging – how it really works.

Nearly a year ago a smart, connected person in my local community asked me to meet her for a coffee in my town, Rutherglen. This was such a pleasure on so many levels:

  • to pause
  • to re-appreciate the main street
  • to get to have a chat with someone I had admired from a distance for a while

Starting the conversation

We started the standard how are you and what are you up to conversation.

We knew each other, but it is always important to know a little more.

This was all very pleasant. The beverages were good,  the ambience was comfortable – tick, tick.

We soon moved onto "what have you been thinking about for your next stretch"?

Those of you who know me know that I can never resist this topic. I love being asked it and figure it is a safe enough question to ask everyone (never assume Jill).

By asking that question the conversation moved to the next level.

My friend shared with me that she was thinking of putting her hand up for the State Election. Now that was greeted with much enthusiasm. I had watched her, with admiration, engage thoughtfully and wisely at a “p” (that is a small p) level for a few years now. What a gift she would be to my electorate.

The conversation quickly moved from “woohoo” to let’s think about this seriously. We teased out the concept of disruption and/or systemic change – it was both. Change this up and change them for the better. Another tick.

I was in! Disruption with a purpose, please!

Taking the conversation to the next level

The conversation then moved to leverage.

What did she have, on which she could put downward pressure, to ensure the disruption resulted in systemic change for the better? What were the available levers?

What were the levers within easy grasp? Well, she had:

  • An inner network of family and close friends. They would be able to become her inner team to run the campaign.
  • Extensive local networks and connections: sport, education, career. She would need them to assist her. How could she put pressure on this lever to create a buzz about her candidacy?
  • A reputation – smart and a doer. She would use this lever to create information and communication to share with her extensive network to increase her “electoral presence”
  • Political nous. She would educate her inner network so they could press on the lever to start community conversations about electoral issues.

Did the leveraging work?

My friend had sorted all of the above out before we sat down that morning in Rutherglen. (I told you she was smart.) But, what was exciting was to see that just by having the conversation with me one lever had been pressed and I was moving things for her (in my mind and as I left the café). I had been levered and as a direct result by the end of the day, I had moved three other people.

By the time we said cheerio we had worked our way through the first four steps of Affectus Leadership Leverage and were well on the way to working on the next three steps.

Are you conscious of the levers around you? What lever have you put pressure on today? Which of the seven steps have you worked through?

The power of pressure on the lever – a bit of physics fun

As we move through “graduation season” at Affectus it is a great time to reflect on “what next” for our graduates.

We spend time discussing how to leverage the life-changing, new-direction-setting leadership experiences to courageously alter your world for the better.

Our facilitators ask people to make a commitment and to publicly state what they are going to focus on now. And we remain committed to continuing the conversation about leadership leverage.

I have found it helpful to sometimes blend my first career as a science educator with my passion “leadership learning” and in the case of leadership, I head back to Physics 101.

Leverage is all about the effort and moving a load to a new place.

Now I am not going rabbit on too long with my physics lesson. I wasn’t actually very good at Physics but I did understand the simple seesaw lever concept. But it is valuable to think through the concept of levering within a framework that makes sense. That is, a plank on a fulcrum with pushing on one end to change the position of the opposite end.

What next?

If you have been part of a leadership program or experience perhaps you have had the option to build teams and take action during the program. And reflect on the process you have developed and tested. Perhaps you have also had an opportunity, toward the conclusion, to future-gaze and consider what next – for you and for your passion.

I have often thought when I have completed life-changing activities – so what next and where to now.

This is where leverage comes into its own.

But let’s think it through. It is at that point, that point of “I could do anything”, that point that your effort can be most effectively used. How can you make the most of this moment? There will be more just like it. But there is something extra exciting about the energy we carry with us as we leave a leadership program.

Here is my thinking…I wonder what you think?

Affectus’ Leadership Leverage

Step 1 – Understanding Effort

Work out what it is you are wanting to shift. What do you want to change? We could call this a “change plank”. Then you need to consider how to use the plank to get others to move.

Step 2 – Clarity about Effort

Get clarity about your affect. Talk it out. Test your thinking. Hone it to a refined concept.

Step 3 – Understanding Effort

Understand the personal effort you will need to put in to create the change. What time is required? What skills are needed? What is the necessary knowledge?

Step 4 – Group Effort

Relook at the effort and consider how to increase that effort by bringing other people in. People who understand the change that you are hoping for.

Step 5 – Build the Fulcrum

The fulcrum is the pivot point on which the seesaw sits (a simple lever). I like to imagine the fulcrum as all the additional people who will understand the change needed as we share the need. We need to consider who might these people be and where are they. Then we can share the idea and bring them together.

Step 6 - Position the Fulcrum

I see the people who we share the change with as a coordinated collection putting their combined hands under the “change plank” at just the right point – close to me or a distance away.

Step 7 – Effort Applied

And then our team (from Step 4) begin to put downward pressure on the plank and the opposite end of the change plank is raised to a new height.


I know, I know, it is a bit clunky. But, it is about understanding that when you work with a group on an idea you have a strong combined effort that will overcome the resistance and lift the load. By gaining support from a wider group of others this will assist to raise the load. And this group, in a strategic place, means the lift will be even easier and the load at the opposite end will be raised.

Work on the power of your leverage.