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The Power of Influence

"Leadership is Influence...nothing more and nothing less."

William Westmoreland served in World War II and the Korean war and was the youngest General appointed to the US Army during the Vietnam War. He arrived one day to speak to a group on a mission with several in the squad being trained paratroopers. He walked up to the first young soldier saluted and asked, "Young man, why are you here?" The young paratrooper responded, "I love to jump sir and I love my country."

He walked up to the next soldier, saluted him, and asked the same question, "Young man, why are you here?" The young paratrooper answered, "I too love to jump sir, and I love my country." Then the general walked up to the third soldier, saluted him, and asked the same questions. "Young man, why are you here?" The young man looked to the right at the first paratrooper and then looked to the left at the second paratrooper and said, "Because Sir, I love to be around brave strong men who love to jump and love their country."

It is so important to align ourselves with those who are moving forward toward success. To surround ourselves with others who are doing what we desire to do or who inspire us to become who we desire to become. It is proven that our lives are greatly influenced by the five people with whom we spend the most time. Depending on the type of influence, it will either strengthen you or weaken you.

The foundation of leadership is simple yet so powerful! Leadership

is INFLUENCE. Whether you are aware of it or not everyone influences someone. Most people don't realize the power of influence that we each have on others just living out our everyday lives. It is said that even the most introverted person will influence ten thousand other people during his or her lifetime. What an amazing thought and alarming all at the same time! We can influence others in a positive way or a negative way, totally dependent upon our position, thought process, and perspective of life and how we see it and how we live it.

Just think, you are either influencing someone else, or you are being influenced by someone. This proves that we are both leaders and followers. So, it would be imperative if we want to grow in our leadership that we learn to follow and we learn to lead ourselves before we lead others.

This foundation principle of leadership and the power of influence has been the catalyst in training leaders in the KPM Leadership Academy. The vision for the incarcerated veterans’ program is to teach, train and equip veteran influencers within the prison system with value-based servant leadership training. To give them their wings to fly again.

The academy requires those who attend to make a serious commitment to change, grow and influence others in a positive manner. Each veteran student commits to a minimum of 36-weeks of intense leadership training. In the program, there are many milestones and incentives along the way to keep them motivated to have a strong successful finish.

The academy training challenges the students to reach out of their comfort zone and do new things that they have not believed in the past to be attainable. Their confidence and self-esteem are being built as they learn, unlearn and re-learn with a new perspective, new knowledge, and new positive influences. The program trains them how to successfully facilitate a mastermind group while exercising their ability to speak publically and share takeaways with others to enhance understanding. The veterans are looked up to in the units and many non-veteran offenders share how they wish that they would have gone into the military and served.

Now that the foundation has been laid in PHASE ONE (training the veterans), we are excited to share with you that we are currently starting PHASE TWO of our program. PHASE TWO is for the veterans to influence the general population (non-veteran offenders) of the prison. Now that we have trained veterans in several units, we have opened the enrollment of the academy to the general population (non-veteran offenders). This is very exciting because the veterans will be facilitating the group sessions and under our direction will be leading the classes as facilitators/coaches.

The veterans have selected and invited those in their sphere of influence (non-veteran offenders) to join the KPM Leadership Academy. They are extremely excited to bring others along on this leadership/personal development journey so they can experience personal growth, mindset shifts along with rehabilitation, and a vision for their future. They also have the opportunity to instill a sense of patriotism as they begin each class with a prayer, the pledge of allegiance (standing and saluting), and a military call to arms.

This new phase expands our demographic tremendously and the classes have gained momentum and exponential growth. The great reputation of the program has spread quickly among the men within the unit and many are waiting to join the class.

Recently, in the new PHASE TWO addition, we have launched two new classes and they are going great! It is wonderful to see the veterans take ownership and rise up to the leader that has been hidden within for so many years. They are now coming up with fresh ideas and creativity to enhance and expand the program and we couldn't be more proud!

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