Introduction: why power is important now
Who: the power of many versus the power of one.
No one can do it all themselves. This chapter has three short sections:
a) the power of one and the hero trap: examples of the one versus the many in decision making and outcomes
b) building personal power and the main sources of personal power: skills, effort, resources and results
c) trading personal power into a network power: how ordinary people achieve extraordinary things
Where: the fountains of power.
People need to know where power lies in an organisation. The obvious answer (the CEO) is not always helpful, because the CEO may well not have the time or the interest to become involved with your activities. People need to find out who has the power which is relevant to them. This means that each person has to acquire a unique power network, which is constantly shifting over time as responsibilities change. This section looks at the different roles people can play in both your career network (helping you manage your career) and your performance network (helping you get things done). It describes the relevance of each role and how the manager can engage them, or potentially lose them.
How: the art of persuasion
The right network shows where the levers of power lie in the organisation. It is one thing know where the power levers lie It is another thing knowing how to pull those levers: persuading people over whom you have no formal control to make things happen for you. This section looks at the principles and tools behind making the network work:
- The trust equation: working on values, risk, credibility and honesty
- Making yourself liked: listening, appreciation, recognition, etiquette, contradiction, styles
- Building commitment: incrementalism and the boiled frog
- Partnership principle: scripts, games and the end of hierarchy
- Making yourself useful; building obligations
- The appearance of power: time, space, scarcity and power styles
When: moments of truth
We have all seen those critical events where power flows to or from someone. In a crisis, someone stands up and takes responsibility, has a plan and a way forward: power flows to them. Another person makes a complete mess of a presentation in front of key executives and you can watch the power flow from them.
Although some power moments are unexpected and unplanned, most can be expected and can be planned. This section will look at how managers can anticipate and plan for most power moments, including budgets, assignments, reviews, crises and conflicts, presentations, meetings, first impressions and selling ideas.
What: pulling the levers of power.
Once you have your hands on the levers of power, you need to know how to use them. This is a guide to the major sources of power and how to use them:
- strategy: the art of telling stories
- budgets and the psychological contract
- projects and the four horsemen of the apocalypse
- structural change: pushing the corporate carousel with intent
- culture and the crab
- rewards, measures and Mondeo Man
- if cash is king, the customer is queen: resource management
Why: the art of making things happen
There is little point in acquiring power unless you use it, and use it well. Using power well means different things at different levels of the organisation. This section looks at the universal principles of using power well, and then shows how those principles are applied at different levels of the organisation.