Competency or Character? How The Age of Influencers Has Shaped Business Relationships

When it comes to business, there is no rulebook with steps for reaching success. 

Although there are a lot of factors to consider when doing business, what works best for you depends on how well you can sway others. The truth is, technical skills may be able to get you in the door, but if you lack soft skills, it’s likely that you won’t go very far. 

In the age of influencers, it’s become clear that personality will take you farther. You’ve heard it once and you’ll hear it again: Skills can be taught, but personality is the key to success. 

Let’s Talk About Robots

I know you’ve heard that in the next 20 or so years robots will eliminate many jobs. On the surface, this may be true, but the truth is that humans have something robots will never have: the ability to feel emotion. Yes, they can drive your cars for you, stock grocery shelves, pack boxes, but they can’t feel. 

Remember the First Industrial Revolution? 

Let’s have a quick history lesson. The First Industrial Revolution was a period of transition to more effective production processes that took place between 1760 and 1840. Workers were scared and upset. This technological advancement was the end of society as they knew it. They were going to be unemployed, broke, and homeless… right? Wrong. An economy that was primarily based on agriculture shifted. Yes, jobs were lost but new jobs were created. Laborers learned new skills and the economy went on. 

The Second Industrial Revolution saw the introduction of mass production. Jobs were again lost, but new jobs created. The Third Industrial Revolution saw advancements in technology. This was the first time people saw their jobs being replaced by computers, but guess what? New jobs were created. So, as we enter this next Industrial Revolution there is a common consensus. Jobs are lost, but jobs are created. Artificial intelligence takes the place of jobs that require skills to be taught, but what about jobs that thrive on human connection? Have you heard of any of those jobs being eliminated? Me either. We can program a robot to learn the skills, but are they establishing meaningful connections? 

Authenticity and the Power of Connections

Tabitha Brown. Following the advice of her daughter, Brown started showcasing her vegan food journey on TikTok. Were there others out there who had been vegan longer? Sure, but it was Tabitha’s loveable, motherly personality that helped her to amass over 4.5 million followers on the app and another 3+ million on Instagram. She was herself; she was authentic in her story and naturally, she attracted a community of loving supporters. Gone are the days of walking into interviews ready to list your technical skills, interviewers want more. They want to know that you can communicate, connect and think critically.  

In the age of influencing, your personality will take you far. Through motivation and storytelling, Brown worked her way into our hearts and minds. Authentic businesses inspire. Sure, competency gets you to the top, but character keeps you there. As we continue to propel into the digital age, people crave genuine connections. If computers are slowly mastering the hard skills, it’s up to us to tap into our emotions and our self-awareness to make meaningful connections. 

In the book, Five Stars: The Communication Secrets to Get from Good to Great, there is one universal theme.

Having a good idea is no longer good enough, emotion, empathy, and persuasion are the defining factors for business success. If you want to be successful in this world, you must be able to tell a compelling story. You must be able to build a conversation brand through authenticity. 

Just as Aristotle once said, “ Without human connection, we have no community. Without community, there can be no happiness. And if we’re not happy, we fail to flourish.” Skills are great, but character will help you to stay standing on top when machines learn to handle the technical parts of your job better than you. 

Millennials and Gen Z have shaped the way we form business relationships, read more about it here.

What’s your take on this topic? We’d love to hear your thoughts. 

Eric Woodson
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