Fascinate … to lead

Fascination is a state of intense emotional and intellectual focus -Sally Hogshead-

At the last ACMP Change Management conference, held at the end of March in Las Vegas, I had a chance to see a variety of sessions, each rewarding in their own way….

As a reminder, every year the Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP) conference brings together close to 1,100 people who share an interest in implementing change and in the human aspect during periods of change.

While previous years’ conferences were more heavily focused on exposing different approaches and tools used to implement change successfully, the trend this year seemed to be how the change context is evolving and its impact on the practice of change management. All organizations are now in a period of digital transformation, with changes becoming more and more complex and implemented at a faster and faster pace, all the while everyone’s attention span is at its all-time low. Another trend seems to be towards organizations making an intentional shift to a “culture of service” in order to improve the customer experience. This also provides great insight and has implications for all of us who are trying to help organizations transform and create value.

One of the speakers who really caught my attention was the American author and keynote speaker, Sally Hogshead, who recently published her book called FASCINATE – HOW TO MAKE YOUR BRAND IMPOSSIBLE TO RESIST…

During her presentation, Ms. Hogshead states that a leader has to “fascinate” his/her audience within the first 9 seconds in order to captivate listeners and be able to influence or sell an idea, vision or  change project.  It is obvious that our new context is extremely “demanding” for leaders[1] who need to bring forth change in their organizations. So, I wonder, how can we help them succeed?

Ms. Hogshead proposes that the challenge in communicating is not to try to become a guru or prominent orator, but rather, to have a better understanding of how we communicate when we are at our best (know our archetype) and then use these skills with purpose as often as possible when we  need to influence.

How do you find your archetype?

An archetype is not only the way others see us, but it’s also what makes us different from others, it’s our personal brand. In other words, our competitive edge in communication. It represents the “we” that is authentic and confident and lets us fascinate our audience and make our pitch or idea irresistible!

To help identify our archetype, Ms. Hogshead has developed a personality assessment tool based on marketing theory known as: “Fascination Advantage Assessment®”. The assessment identifies a primary and secondary advantage that is then categorized as an archetype. For example, my archetype is the “People’s Champion”, which is the combination of my main advantage, Passion, and my secondary advantage, Power. The 3 characteristics that describe me to a tee, that is, how people see me when I am communicating at my best, are: dynamic, inclusive and engaging. When I communicate using these advantages, I communicate quite effortlessly and give myself the best possible chances to fascinate my audience.


In today’s complex world, the leader has very little time to demonstrate that his suggestion is worthwhile, so it’s comforting to know that to “fascinate” an audience you don’t have to change, you just have to be yourself and exploit your strengths to stay at the top of your game.



[1] The concepts advanced by Ms. Hogshead can also apply to change management professionals.