Creating Connections

May 20

Vivienne's 5 C's to become a Person of Influence

Posted by Jeremy Harris at Sunday, May 20, 2012

A couple of weeks ago I attended the second annual Alumni Awards Breakfast for past students of St John's Anglican College, Forest Lake (until 2010 known as Forest Lake College). I am involved in the school as a parent and volunteer.

The guest speaker was Mrs Vivienne Anthon, who is currently CEO of the Australian Institute of Management Queensland and Northern Territory, and is a past Head of College of St John's.

I think Vivienne could have been a stand-up comic. Her presentation style is relaxed, and she makes her points with humour. She really connects with the audience.

She gave us Vivienne's 5 C's to become a person of influence - very relevant, since the College motto is "Creating People of Influence". Here are her 5 C's, plus a bit of poetic licence (with Vivienne's approval) via a sprinkling of thoughts from Simon Sinek (Start With WHY).


Be good at what you do - both technically and tactically. Tactically means getting along with people.

Keep learning. Read widely, not just technical books. Take painting or dancing classes to allow your mind to think differently and to observe how others solve problems.


This is who you are when no-one is looking. The real you. To earn trust, and to be influential, you must be authentic in what you say and what you do.

Trust is different to reliability. It comes from shared values and beliefs.


Networking is critical to advancement. Networking becomes collaboration when we offer help and are open to receiving it from others.

Human beings are generally socially focussed creatures, relying on community for survival. It's possible, and rewarding, to advance others as you advance yourself by working together and watching out for each other. Success is worth striving for together. Instead of I/me/my, think we/us/together.


Be clear, and don't gossip. Realise that remaining silent when something is not right is a form of gossip.

At a simple level, communication means things like keeping people in the loop, being clear on your abilities and limitations, and being aware of non-verbal cues. At a deeper level, learn to talk about why you do what you do to attract people to your cause. People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do what you do.


Life is too short. Stay focussed. Follow through with tasks, and with people. Aim to under-promise and over-deliver. Be careful not to overcommit.

What you do should be tangible proof of what you believe. Commitment is part of being in community.

I think that the common theme of the 5 C's is building trust. If you have earned trust, you can have influence.

Are Vivienne's 5 C's relevant to your life and career? If so, what's your number one?

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