342 The Seven Influence Traits – Dr. Karen Keller

What you will hear in our discussion with Dr. Karen Keller:

  • How to Develop True Influence
  • 7 Traits of True Influence
  • The Art of True Influence
  • How to be an Influential Leader

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More about our featured guest Dr. Karen Keller

Karen Keller, Ph.D., CEO of Karen Keller International, Inc., is author/creator of the Keller Influence Indicator® (KII®). She is a clinical psychologist and Master Certified Coach specializing in influence and human behavior.

Dr. Keller develops programs, materials and resources relating to the Art of Influence.

Her latest influence report, SOCR®, incorporates a person’s Seven Influence Traits® as related to 5 Organizational Competencies.
She is passionate at helping people and companies develop their influence potential and an influence culture. Dr. Keller speaks about the impact of influence in business and relationships.

Full Transcript

[00:00] Joel: Dr. Keller, you are on the right show today because most of our listeners, they're podcasters, they're authors, they're content creators, and they are hungry to develop their influence so that they can been seen, heard, and recognized. And since you're the driving force behind the development of the Influence Indicator, well you are the go-to person that we need to hear from today. So Dr. Keller, Karen, welcome, welcome to ReLaunch.

[00:30] Dr. Karen Keller: Thank you.

[00:31] Joel: So good to have you here.

[00:32] Dr. Karen Keller: It's great to be here, thanks Joel.

[00:34] Joel: Absolutely. This show is highly practical because it is all about the relaunch and, specifically, how you did it. And what we generally do here on the show is we generally ask our guests to zero in on the relaunch that has been the most significant for them, or the most transformational, and then we just kind of unfold the story from there. And that can be either a personal relaunch, or a professional relaunch and we'll do that with you here, Karen, in just a few minutes, but if it's okay with you, I'd like to start the show off with a little quick piece of takeaway gold, if you will. Now, you have a lot of experience standing in front a diverse group of audience and different people that you're working with, sharing with them the need-to-knows and the tips and the techniques that will help them to become more influential. So I'm curious about this, what would you say, based on your experience, is the number one hesitation or fear that people have when it comes to growing into their influence potential, what do you think?

[01:42] Dr. Karen Keller: Well there's two answers to that. The first one, overwhelmingly, is the fear that they won't get it right. There's the mindset, “I gotta do it perfectly, it's gotta be exact, it has to be right on.” And when you're stuck in that mindset, it makes it more difficult.


[02:01] Joel: Okay.

[02:02] Dr. Karen Keller: And the next thing that I would say that is a barrier for people moving into their influence is really understanding where that influence comes from naturally. People are looking outside themselves for the answer, and what I am telling people… And you're right, I am in front of a diverse group of people with all kinds of different experiences, the cultures, backgrounds, and different industries and so on, and they're looking outside themselves for, “What do I have to do to meet somebody else's expectations?” If you will. So those are the things that kind of limit your ability to become truly influential.

[02:48] Joel: Now, Pei's already waving her hands around the studio.

[02:50] Pei: Yeah, I truly agree with that. So Dr. Karen, could you give us an example of people, instead of seeking, look at their own gifts and passions. I assume that's some of the factors people can develop influence from, but if they look outside themselves, give us an example, if you don't mind, if something comes to your mind?

[03:16] Dr. Karen Keller: Well an example that… As you're asking that question, I'm thinking in my head, something that I've really run across within my years of coaching and working with executives and so on is the whole thing around performance appraisal. So you're at work, your supervisor, your manager, the CEO is looking at how you perform, and so the individual truly is beginning to base on other expectations. Now of course, you do need to meet certain organizational quotas, sales marks, leadership advancements, so on and so on, however, but how you do that, a person can easily fall into the trap of doing it according to what someone else thinks is the correct way to do it. So doing it that way, it takes them out of their natural state. What I am saying is, if people back up, and I am working with people to do this and have been for a long time, that when you back up and you apply your natural tendencies, your natural state of being to how you perform, you become a better performer and you're a lot happier doing it, and it sticks. That's kinda the difference between a change and a shift.

[04:36] Dr. Karen Keller: I can change my behavior based on what my boss says, or my spouse would like, or a child would want from me as a parent, or somebody in the community. I can change that, I can change my clothes, I can change the language I use, the words I use, but it's easy to change back, back and forth. But once you make a shift, and that shift… And what I'm asking people to do is to trust that they can call on their natural self to make a shift and to stay in that state of being influential, which then affects everything you do, your performance, your relationships and so on, so that's one example that I really… I do come across in particular. Now, I did think of a gentleman that I worked with constantly trying to please everybody.

[05:25] Joel: Okay, tell us about that…


[05:28] Dr. Karen Keller: Pardon me?

[05:29] Joel: Oh I'm sorry, go ahead. I was gonna… I'm excited about the next question I want to ask but tell me about this man you're thinking about.

[05:35] Dr. Karen Keller: He, I'll just call him John, he was constantly raised… Through the coaching process and through the influence piece that we were working on, come to realize that he was pretty much raised to be a people pleaser, and that carried over into adulthood. Even though he tried to work with it so he could be his own person and still stay true to how he felt or what his beliefs and values were, he still had that and it just kind of went underground, kind of, subconscious in a way, where he was… He would wanna do things to please other people so he found himself being very agreeable, going through the motions, but there really wasn't the passion or the commitment behind it to carry it into the long term, if you will. And so when he would do this, he thought he was really doing the right thing but he wasn't getting the response that he wanted. Sure, he could go ahead and perform, like the trapeze artist, if you will, but it wasn't quite getting him the results or the feedback from the person he was trying to please. Because it showed itself that this, there was a disconnect in there and once he really could pinpoint, through different examples, and I actually got him to practice in a small environment where the results didn't really matter, but he began to practice staying true to himself and he began to let go of that strong tendency that was really kind of conditioned into him as a young boy to please other people.

[07:19] Dr. Karen Keller: And he started to find that people respected him more. People began to like him more just because they could see the sincerity, that he was really speaking from his heart, he was learning to disagree respectfully and with tact. He was also learning then, and what he did then was he carried those things that he was building in himself, that confidence, then he began to carry it into important decision making in his company and his decisions became better, he was more confident in them, but overall, then he began to relax and he began to enjoy some of the stuff he was doing. But because he was a people pleaser, he was kind of like, like always on eggshells, so to speak. ‘Cause you can't please everybody.

[08:11] Joel: So let me… So what you're basically saying is he and you helped him get in touch with some of his influence traits and you helped him to grow into those traits that were already there, kind of waiting for him to step in to and you helped to usher in that a little bit. Am I hearing you correctly?

[08:32] Dr. Karen Keller: Right. It's one of the things you said, you're exactly right. Every one of us, all your listeners, you and me, Pei, we all have these seven influence traits. Everybody possesses them, but one of the things we do is, sometimes we kind of lose touch with them or we don't really leverage or let them grow and develop and leverage them to our advantage. I mean, I love being around really confident people because I know where they're coming from and then they become a go-to person for me. I can call and ask them for an answer or say, “I've got this issue, can I talk to you?” And they can confidently talk to me about it, not always give me the answer, but there's a confidence and that creates… And it leads into being trustworthy, you know? That type of thing.

[09:19] Joel: Absolutely, and I can appreciate that you wanna jump in and you wanna lay out these seven influence traits for us but before we get into that, and I'm eager to hear about them, too. And gosh, influence, Pei is very keen to wanna learn more about how to build her own influence potential so we're definitely gonna get into that but yeah, if you could spend just a few minutes, Karen, talking about your ReLaunch, if you will, and then you could just take us right into the seven influence traits, if you'd like to.

[10:00] Dr. Karen Keller: Okay. Well when I think of what, how you refer to it and I've seen your programs, they're amazing, I really enjoy the material, and when I listen to other peoples' ReLaunch, it brings me to thinking about my own and I was… I lived in Northern Minnesota, I was born and raised there, and, in 1997, we experienced a massive one in 500-year-flood. Now, during that year, I was away at a psychiatric hospital doing a residency for my… I'm a clinical psychologist and, at that time, I was doing my internship and I was a divorced, single parent of two young girls. They stayed behind with my parents for that year and my intention was to come back, open up my practice or reopen my practice, and continue on, right? Very simple, really good plan, right? Solid, no problem.

[11:02] Joel: Sounds great.

[11:03] Dr. Karen Keller: Except mother nature had different plans. In the spring, in April of 1997, I was gone from the August of '96. That next April, we had a massive flood and I lost my home and everything in it, my parents lost their home, my daughters were carried out of my parents' home by the National Guard. It was a horrific experience. In fact, if you're on The Weather Channel, it's the top five worst natural disasters in the US. So there's a history behind that and I am, mind you, in Indiana. 15, 16 hours away, watching on CNN my town being destroyed and wiped away by this massive flood of water from that river.

[11:57] Pei: I bet it wasn't easy to get in touch with them.

[12:01] Dr. Karen Keller: Well it was awful. There were things that happened; immediately after that happened, my father suffered a massive stroke, my mother was hospitalized for pneumonia and double bronchitis, they flew her via chopper. The hospital closed and they had to relocate and fly all the patients out of the hospital. So during this two to three week period of this massive flooding going on, personally, our family, my family was experiencing horrible hardship. And so I was allowed to take a medical leave for two weeks, went back, and my life was over, basically, or so I thought. I ended up at the hospital where my mother was and about 30 or 40 miles away, my father was at a different hospital, these are all small town community hospitals.

[12:51] Dr. Karen Keller: But to go from one hospital to the other took about six hours because of the water. All the roads and bridges were washed out, it was horrible. And so dealing with that and it's like, “Oh my gosh.” I did… Literally, I did not have a home to go back to, I lost everything except what I'd brought with me. And so… And that was, that's very devastating. You think of the pictures and the memories and the videos of the kids and things. My daughters were safe and sound.

[13:21] Joel: Thank goodness.

[13:22] Dr. Karen Keller: And… Yep, and they returned with me to Indiana. And I came back to finish my internship, no job, no place to re-open my practice, and I thought, “I have to start over,” and, “What am I gonna do?” And…

[13:41] Joel: Lemme ask you this. Wow, what a story. And I'm so thankful that you and your daughters were fine. Gosh, I can't imagine, and I won't pretend to because I wasn't there. But let me ask you this, kind of fast forwarding a little bit because I wanna respect your time, Dr. Keller, Karen, and I also wanna respect the people who are listening to the show and I wanna respect their time. So if we're talking about influence, I'm curious, what did you discover or recover about your own influential traits or characteristics that helped you through that experience and that relaunch, if you will, that then lead into your work with the Art of Influence and the Seven Influence Traits, the work that you do today with the organizations and leaders?

[14:46] Dr. Karen Keller: Well I think the biggest thing that I took away from that, and I think it may even more… I thought I was pretty solid at that point and then I realized, “Oh my goodness, what else could go wrong?” type thing. And I realized by the grace of God there is nothing that could ever put me down. And once I accepted that…

[15:12] Pei: How did you realize that, by the way?

[15:14] Dr. Karen Keller: Because I had survived, my family survived throughout the last years, 17, 18 years. I picked up the pieces, started completely over, raised my daughters, they're very successful, and I just moved on. And the thing that was interesting, I moved on in a way that was comfortable and I don't spend my time worrying about things. I don't look over my shoulder, I don't continue to have to have everything perfect, I just go with it. And I trust what's going on inside of me, I trust what I want to do. And so, when it came to uncovering and developing all this information around influence, it's very different than what you will find out there from the influence experts or gurus, which I highly respect. There's a handful of them that have tremendous material, they have done years of research, they've very good and very well respected. But the way that I'm approaching this is different, it's not in place of but it's different. And that took a lot of courage to put that out there and make that announcement that there's another place and another way to become influential.

[16:35] Pei: That's interesting, you mentioned that confidence actually came first, before… Yeah, yeah, and I think that's really key because I believe each one of us have a great message, have… If we can trust our instinct, trust our gut and use good discernment, we can launch great things but there's always that doubt, that fear. So…

[17:02] Dr. Karen Keller: Well I think what you're saying is really right on, Pei, because it takes courage which is one of the traits… It takes courage to have confidence and to act on it, so…

[17:16] Joel: Okay, what does that mean, what does that mean exactly, 'cause that's… I understand the words but apply it for me.

[17:22] Dr. Karen Keller: Well, okay. Well for me to go forward… I'll speak to my own personal experience. For me to move forward from losing everything in this massive flood experience and the damage it did to my parents' health. But for me to move forward, it took a lot of courage. I wasn't exactly confident, I didn't know where the heck I was gonna be going or what was gonna be happening next but it took courage to find out, it took a lot of courage. And then, I zoom forward and I look at what I'm doing right now and the buzz and the attention that this assessment is getting, it took a lot of courage to put that out there because it's very different and so I think about that… Courage, by the way, as you can tell, is my favorite trait because, to me, that's where it starts and the more courage I took, the more my confidence grew.

[18:16] Joel: Okay, you say that's your favorite trait, so can you kind of nutshell the seven for us?

[18:23] Dr. Karen Keller: Oh sure.

[18:24] Joel: And then we'll include that… That'll also be included in the transcripts that will accompany this show as well…

[18:30] Dr. Karen Keller: Okay.

[18:30] Joel: But yeah, if you could, that would be very helpful.

[18:33] Pei: Yeah, and I have another question for Dr. Karen, too.

[18:36] Dr. Karen Keller: Okay, well the seven traits that I identified through my research was confidence, commitment, courage, passion, empowering, trustworthiness, and likeability.

[18:50] Joel: Gotcha.

[18:50] Dr. Karen Keller: And…

[18:50] Joel: And of course, we'll include the links to get to your site so people can learn more about those different traits.

[18:57] Dr. Karen Keller: Sure.

[18:57] Joel: Pei, what was the question that you had?

[19:00] Pei: Yeah. I love it when you said the courage and confidence and that pushed you to share this message in a much bigger way 'cause otherwise, we see authors and podcasters and sometimes, we all go through the period of time thinking, “do people even care?”

[19:24] Dr. Karen Keller: Right.

[19:24] Pei: So once you get past that stage or allow courage to come in and for you to share this message, if we just talk about business, talk about technical things, how did you leverage? What seemed to be the most helpful for you to grow your message professionally as far as marketing or PR?

[19:54] Dr. Karen Keller: What helped me to do that? I think actually forming what the message really is, the more specific I was about my message, the easier it was for me to talk about it. And it is very simple, it's being influential in your work environment and doing it from a space that starts internally. We're getting great success when people are actually doing it. So for instance, if you're highly committed and very passionate, you will be very good at finding solutions because you don't stop, you keep going, you keep looking at, “Well, wait, what can we do differently? What can we do better? What's missing here?” And you keep asking those very passionate questions and so, when you naturally express your passion which is one of the traits, you will then become better at figuring out and understanding strategy, things like this and you can apply that in different situations in your workplace.

[21:00] Joel: You know what, Pei, what Karen is sharing with us today is very similar to the equation that I shared with one of our elite clients earlier today on the call.

[21:11] Pei: Okay.

[21:11] Joel: And Karen, if you'll just kind of humor me here for a little while, I have an equation that I use. It's a very simple equation and I've seen it played out just time and time again and the equation is C plus C equals D and I just used that on a call today and the first C is clarity and in this case, relating to this conversation, clarity of your passion, for instance. C, and then C plus C, the second C would be confidence, which is what we're talking about. So the clarity on maybe your passion will lead to the confidence, which equals D, C plus C equals D and the D is direction. And I can speak for you because I've seen that played out in the lives of the people that we've worked with time and time again that the clarity plus the confidence for us every time leads to direction.

[22:12] Pei: Well, I also…

[22:13] Dr. Karen Keller: I think that's… That's a really… I like that concept. It really connects well with the idea of these seven traits. They all impact each other…

[22:23] Joel: Yes.

[22:23] Dr. Karen Keller: Tremendously. And people don't realize that and the other, there is a guarantee behind this.

[22:30] Joel: Okay.

[22:30] Dr. Karen Keller: And this is something that I discovered myself after… I had been working with it for over a year, I realized that every issue, every concern, every problem, every reason to celebrate, every success, you can always bring it back to one of these seven traits.

[22:49] Joel: Absolutely. Yeah.

[22:50] Dr. Karen Keller: Every single time, and I think that kind of corresponds to that equation that you're talking about, which is very good by the way.

[22:56] Joel: Yeah, thank you. Feel free to steal that and use it in as many PowerPoint slides as you'd like, I'll give you my website. Make sure you spell it right.


[23:04] Dr. Karen Keller: Yes. I will.

[23:06] Joel: Karen, we're just going to have you back on this show.

[23:09] Dr. Karen Keller: I'd love to.

[23:09] Joel: There's so much material and meat that we need to uncover here and we're just going to have to do it, but coming up for a landing on this one, give us a tip or two on what people need to know today that they can start applying immediately to increase their influence potential, just a couple.

[23:34] Dr. Karen Keller: I would say listen to that voice inside of you. It doesn't steer you wrong. And then, the second piece or tip I would give people is to start. Don't wait for something to happen to force you to start. Don't wait until everything else in your life is perfect. Just start. That's the biggest step that you can and will ever take.

[24:00] Joel: And there you have it right there from Dr. Karen Keller. We will, of course, have all of her social media hotspots on the show notes page that accompanies this episode. Do we have a web address, Pei, for that?

[24:12] Pei: Yes. For the transcripts as well, if you go to joelboggess.com/342, it has all the links to connect with Dr. Karen, social media and her website.

[24:26] Joel: Fantastic. So there you have it, from Karen Keller, “Listen to your inner voice and just get started.” No fluff, not sexy, but very, very practical advice. Karen Keller, this has been a pleasure. We look forward to having you back here on the ReLaunch Show. Have a wonderful, wonderful rest of your day and God Bless you.

[24:51] Dr. Karen Keller: Well thank you. Thanks!

[24:53] Joel: Bye-bye.

Connect with Dr. Karen on Twitter, LinkedIn and her website.

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Joel Boggess

Keynote Speaker | Corporate Trainer | Award-winning podcaster I help teams ignite their courage, take bolder steps, and get greater results. Together, we create possibilities that bring empowerment, meaning, and financial impact.

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