the table of influence

“The right people at the table can change everything for you.”

The Scriptures would say it this way:

“Become wise by walking with the wise; hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces.” Proverbs 13:20 MSG

The bottom line is you become who you hang out with. Successful people know this and are intentional about it. Successful people know how to identify the right people to invite to their table, they are open to their instruction, and they are genuinely willing to adapt. This practical eBook will help you:

  1. Explore the need for a table of influence
  2. Learn how to identify people of influence
  3. Discover eleven types of people to invite to your table
  4. Define the terms of engagement
  5. Know what to do with what you learn along the way

Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with Jason Young and discuss his new book, “The Table of Influence: What Successful People Know That You Should Too” Continue reading below to check out the interview:

Paul: Where did the idea for “The Table of Influence” come from?

Jason: This isn’t just some good concept or great idea. This is my story. I’m a product of people. This is what I’ve been doing for 16 years; I just didn’t know this is what I was doing. But I came across an article that Jim Collins wrote back in 1996 in which he made reference to this idea of leaders having a personal board of directors. But I didn’t resonate with the language. Then I heard him mention this idea again later at a luncheon. And I was intrigued by the idea and started researching it. I discovered that current day significant influencers all believed in this and all used something very similar to this. So I began to think through language that could reframe the idea, make it more accessible and build real replicable steps that others could implement to build this in their own lives.

Paul: Have you consistently had the same people at the table over the years, or have there been seasons of life when that table has looked differently?

Jason: I do think seasons dictate how many people may be there. Seasons of transition, pain, and ambiguity all require a different number of chairs at the table. In this season I may have one, in the next season I may have seven. But the danger is we don’t usually realize who should have been at the table during that particular season until we’re entering the next season and we’re looking backwards. And so, I think we can cut down on remorse by being more intentional about identifying and inviting the right people to our tables in preparation for the next season. Chapter 3 of the book actually identifies different kids of people to invite to your table, and much of that comes from this idea that we need different people in our lives during different seasons of our life, and how to identify and invite those people to our table.

Paul: For the young leader out there who’s building their table of influence, how many people should they invite, is there an ideal number of voices they should be listening to?

Jason: There is a danger in inviting too many people to your table. Having too many people at your table will leave you feeling exhausted maintaining too many relationships and ultimately not getting what you need. Using the “11 Types of People” highlighted in the book as a guide can be a great resource for narrowing the focus regarding who should sit at your table. You see potency doesn’t come from volume. Potency comes from focus. If young leaders can take the time to focus first on where they are and where they are going before they invite people to their table it will pay huge dividends. They will get further faster with 5 people at their table than 25. If you invite more than 5 or so to your table you won’t have the time to drill down deep to get the yield that you’re searching for.

Paul: Any time you’re talking about listening, there are going to be leaders who push back against the idea. What resistance has the concept of having a “Table of Influence” been met with?

Jason: There are three common excuses or points of resistance that I’ve heard come up consistently. The first is simply, “I can do this alone. I can run solo. Why do I need that? I’m doing fine on my own.” And that person may simply not have hurt enough to need this. The second thing is, “This is hard, and I’ve got enough to do.” And to that I’d say, yes, we all have enough to do. The leaders you could potentially ask to sit at your table have enough to do. Yes it takes, time, it takes forethought, it takes effort, it takes discipline but all of those things are essential to remaining on God’s pathway for your life. And the third thing I would say is, “The fear of actually doing what people share with you.” Because if I ask someone to be a voice in my life they might push me or challenge me to change and that is both risky and scary, because now I have to do something.



Jason equips leaders through speaking, consulting, coaching and writing. He has spent the last 15 years working in and alongside the local church, including LifeChurch.tv and First Baptist Church Woodstock. Jason also works with Ford, Chick-fil-A, The Fellowship, WinShape Camps and other like-minded companies. He uses his experience, higher-ed degrees, and training with Disney World to help both leaders and churches to find a healthy leadership rhythm. You will also find him working as a ministry consultant with Tony Morgan. You can connect here with Jason on Twitter or Facebook and follow along at his blog JasonYoungLive.

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