I am releasing my fourth book titled, “The Alliance House of Values and Behaviors in late January. In it, I outline what each of The Alliance’s eight core values means and how they pertain to what our company does together and for our clients all over the United States. Previously, I’ve covered Excellence, Service, Integrity, Accountability, Respect and Compassion. This week, I’m going to write about Community.
For each of our eight values, I’m picking a person in history that I believe best represents each value that The Alliance believes in strongly.
The following is from my new book I co-wrote with Jeff Bright:
The Merriam Webster definition of Community is an interacting population of various kinds of individuals (such as species) in a common location.
A little girl named Orpah was born on Jan. 29, 1954 in rural Mississippi to a teenage single mother and was later raised in inner-city Milwaukee. She was named after the biblical figure in the Book of Ruth, but people regularly mispronounced her name because of the unique spelling.
She was molested during her childhood and early teens, became pregnant at 14 and had a son who died in infancy and moved to live with a man she calls her father in Tennessee. Despite her tough upbringing, she landed a job in radio during high school and eventually became a local evening news anchor at the age of 19.
Her style quickly grabbed the attention of viewers and producers, which led her to the daytime talk show format at a local station in Chicago, which led to her launching her own production company and into international syndication.
You probably know Orpah as Oprah … as in Oprah Gail Winfrey, a billionaire influencer who created a multi-billion dollar empire and became known as the “Queen of All Media.”
Oprah’s gift lies in reaching people and making connections that almost anybody can relate to and empathize with, whether it is via her magazine, her TV channel or at speaking engagements.
She has become perhaps the greatest example of how a person can build a community. The Oprah Winfrey Show, which was the highest-rated TV program of its kind from 1986-2011, served as her springboard, which launched her to heights most would have never thought possible. She is frequently at the top of the most influential woman in the world rankings.
Her ability to talk to viewers and guests led to her building a loyal following that listened to her every word, and often adopted her behaviors like reading the books she read and buying the products she used. Her influence is almost immeasurable.
By the mid-1990s, Oprah pivoted toward literature, self-help and spirituality. Her “community” followed her into those arenas and she picked up even more of an audience and following. Oprah endorsed Barack Obama from 2006-08, and some believe it led to delivering him more than a million votes and helped him win the presidency.
How’s that for being influential in your community?
The reach of Winfrey’s opinions and her ability to influence people’s opinions has been called “the Oprah Effect.” It has impacted book sales, beef markets and elections. When she promoted a book, it often shot to No. 1 on best-seller lists.
Oprah became such a trusted voice that she started making guests she liked into their own brands too. Dr. Phil McGraw, Dr. Oz and Rachel Ray all have high-dollar careers based on Oprah endorsing their work.
At her show’s peak she drew 13.1 million viewers daily. It aired in 140 countries and she was named America’s favorite television personality in 1998, 2000, 2002-06 and 2009 by Harris Poll.
Oprah built a community that was wildly popular with women, Democrats, political moderates, Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, etc. Her following was large enough it allowed her to start the Oprah Winfrey Network.
People love how she uses media and her honesty, which helps her build trust from her community. That trust has allowed her to build a media empire and become a global leader in media and philanthropy.
If people like and trust you, then it’s likely they will listen and follow you. What are you doing in your circle of influence to gain people’s trust? Are you meeting people where they are and then seeking to help them get what they want?
If you are nice to people, sincere in your actions and behaviors and take a genuine interest in a person’s life, they are going to want to be part of your community. The people with the biggest following are masters at finding ways to connect with people. Over time, if you keep making connections then your circle of influence will get huge. Oprah is a prime example of how to build an audience, a following and a loyal community.
Can you think of some simple and easy ways that you can start making better connections with people going forward? If you can improve on the way you interact with people then you will be able to grow a larger community.
POSTSCRIPT: The Alliance is a big community. We don’t all live close together, but when we get together for an event like NatCon or Family Reunion, it’s like we live in the same town and see each other daily. It’s very hard to explain that to people who have not experienced it or attended one of our events. We have also built little communities with our weekly HotSpots meetings around the United States. Our goal in 2019 is to grow our community to heights we have never seen before. We believe we have everything in place to make this a reality, but we still have to do the work that it will take to grow and grow some more. If you could find one more person each week to attend a HotSpot meeting, what do you think would happen for The Alliance and you? Oh baby! This thing could get crazy. That’s the kind of explosion that I’m hoping for in 2019 because I know how much The Alliance could change the world if that happens. We could help more families, help more charities and help each other find the financial freedom that most do not get to enjoy.
That’s some of what I wrote to help illustrate Community in my new book. There’s a lot more to help explain what it means to be a person who is able to build a community in the book. I hope that many of you will consider picking up a copy of The Alliance House of Values & Behaviors. I believe this book will help a lot of people start 2019 off with a bang. We’ve spent months putting this book together, and I am so excited to share the final product with the world.