Education Marketing and Advancement

Objectivity, transparency, and a collaborative spirit

Marketing Therapy

with Mike Connor

The Power of Warmth! (Series 9 of 9)

The ninth and final installment adapted from Mike Connor’s Cornerstone Keynote Address at the Association of Independent Schools Admission Professionals’ (AISAP) Annual Institute in Nashville, July 8, 2013. Connor addressed 200 admission professionals from around the world. Connor's topic: Becoming Your Own Brand and Value Proposition!

One final piece is essential if you want to truly influence others and take on a recognized and affirmed leadership role at your school.  

Influence. The July-August 2013 issue of Harvard Business Review did its cover story on the topic. 

And the research and conclusions in the article may shed a bit more light on what I said in the original blog in this series about, “Charm will take you only so far.”

Influence, according to the HBR article, is a combination of warmth, strength and competence.  But the greatest of these influential qualities isn’t strength OR competence. Think about that.   Strength, even competence, does not guarantee influence!


Potential families, your colleagues, or your friends for that matter, can’t even begin to consider your strengths and competence until they feel your warmth. 

Why is that?  

Because warmth facilitates:

Trust. Communication. Connection. Empathy. Acceptance of your ideas.

Warmth is the greatest factor that affects your ability to influence others.

So let me leave you with this.

Let me offer praise to a fellow humble passenger on the planet from the Admission Cretaceous-era of the late 1980s.  Someone who is a living example of competence, strength, and warmth.

I’m speaking of my old friend, Rick Schubart.  Former admission director at Exeter, history teacher extraordinaire, scholar of Thomas Jefferson.

Rick is often rumpled. Sometimes scattered.  But he is known and beloved, literally around the world.

That’s because Rick is always glad to see you. The Cheers bar, personified.

Get him in front of crowd and he exudes generosity.   If you’re in the audience when Rick speaks, a sense of calm will descend over your soul and a warm glow will well up within you.

When he engages you, you know he understands you.  

In fact, you might even say he’s “charming.”

Your ability to walk in the shoes of those you are trying to lead is critical. Your authentic warmth, exuding empathy, understanding, congruence, and respect, is the most important element that will help you lead – regardless of whether you are leading from the middle or leading from the top of your organization. 

Strength and competence are essential. But warmth needs to be at the core of your personal brand and personal value proposition if you want to influence others.   

Why? Because before people decide what they think of your message, they decide what they think of you.

And that, my friends, is no “accident!”  


To read the entire series, follow the links below:

1. Charm Will Take You Only So Far

2. The Accidental Profession?

3. The Four Dimensions of Educational Value

4. The First Dimension of Value: Return on Investment

5. The Second Dimension of Value: Transformational Teaching and Learning

6. The Third Dimension of Value: Constituent Orientation

7. The Fourth Dimension of Value: Cost-conciousness and Stewardship

8. The 6Ws of Authentic Branding

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