Build Your Team's Circle of Influence

communication meetings Nov 14, 2022

by Aubrey Patterson 


Isn't carrying yesterday on our backs one of the most exhausting exercises in the world?

And how much more tiring is it to carry an entire team's past around each day?

We all have a need for some certainty, so it's quite natural to find ourselves stuck in the past once in a while.

It's better to construct the future than to the varnish the past. - John Maxwell

When times are tough, it can be tempting spend our days lamenting change and instead choose to put a little more polish on what we did in the past.

Circle of Influence

Limitless possibilities await us in the future. Living in the past won't help us unearth exciting experiences, new relationships, and successes.

The past is a dead issue and we can't gain any momentum moving toward tomorrow if we're dragging the past behind us. - Jack Hayford

Dr. Stephen Covey’s circle of influence concept is an exceptional and timeless forward-thinking framework.

Our circle of influence includes things we can do something about today and in the future, while our circle of concern encompasses things beyond our control. The former circle is nested inside the latter, and as it expands, those reactive worries and feelings of helplessness are smothered by our proactive focus. 

3 Steps to Build a Team Circle of Influence

Though this concept is most often associated with our individual thought patterns, Dr. Covey's principle is a highly effective guide for us to use with our teams. Try the following steps with your team.

  1. Use a dry erase board or digital board and draw a large circle with a smaller internal circle.
  2. List all internal and external work concerns, placing those beyond our control in the larger outer circle and those we can influence in the inner circle. 
  3. Build a list of actions that the team and individuals will take to grow the team's circle of influence and shrink their circle of concern.

Impactful teams don't waste time and energy focusing on factors they can't control.

When leaders nurture discussions that surface a collective circle of influence and circle of concern, they empower their teams to focus on tomorrow and avoid getting stuck in the past. 


To learn more, please read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Dr. Stephen Covey.

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