Screen Shot 2012-11-11 at 8.55.53 PM

The Power of Invisible Forces

You can see formal authority on an organizational chart. You can see who has the biggest box at the very top of the page. You can see who has smaller boxes towards the bottom of the page. You can see that the people with the big boxes at the top of the page have more responsibility, and they have the accompanying formal authority to go along with it.

What you can’t see is who has influence. You can’t see whom the people occupying the big boxes trust. You can’t see whom they go to for advice. You can’t see the informal authority. But it exists nonetheless, and you need to know where it resides.

Influence is an invisible force. You don’t have to have formal authority to have influence.

Some people have titles, and titles represent formal authority too. But titles don’t tell you about anything about who the real leaders are within an organization. Organizations have formal leaders and spiritual leaders. The formal leaders may have the formal authority, but the spiritual leaders own the hearts and minds. The real leaders hold the influence, make change, and lead the organization.

You can’t see spiritual leadership. You can’t see who owns the hearts and minds of those around them. But you need to know who the spiritual leaders are.

Leadership is and invisible force. It doesn’t depend on a title.

There are people within your dream client companies who have real problems and challenges. You can guess at who might have those problems and challenges, but you can’t see pain. The people with real dissatisfaction are the people that are most receptive to your message. They’re most likely to lead you into the rest of the organization.

You can’t see pain. You can’t see receptivity either. But you need to know who is dissatisfied and who wants help making positive changes.

Pain is an invisible force. So is receptivity. It could be almost anywhere.

Invisible forces rule your life. Like gravity, magnetism, and radiation. Invisible forces are also at work in the deals that you are pursuing. Even though you can’t see these invisible forces, you can observe them. And you can use them your advantage.


What are the invisible forces at work in your company and client companies?

What invisible forces are at work in the deals you pursue?

How do you observe these invisible forces?

What actions do you take based on the forces you encounter?



  • David A Specht

    John Maxwell says, “Leadership is influence. Nothing more. Nothing Less.” Those with or without titles can learn a lot from this. I have found in client calls that the “boss” is not always the leader. This is why it is so important to build good relationships with everyone in your client’s organization. You never know who the true “leader” is.

  • Jay

    Good post.

    One of the most interesting thing I learned from reading Robert Caro’s great book “The Power Broker” about Robert Moses is that there was a person by the name of Belle Moskowitz who Al Smith, Governor of New York, relied on for all his decisions. She had no title but it was on her recommendation that Al Smith hired Robert Moses.

    You got to know who really wields power both formally and informally. Often the real power rests outside the formal channels.