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Influencing Up

ISBN: 978-1-118-03845-1
244 pages
June 2012
Influencing Up (1118038452) cover image
The authors of the classic Influence Without Authority explain the unique challenges of influencing powerful people

Learn to overcome your difficulties with a boss who is uninterested in your concerns, or resistant to giving needed support. Or discover how to win the cooperation of senior managers who are hard to reach, and hard to sell on your ideas, products, or services. In their classic book, Influence Without Authority, Allan Cohen and David Bradford provided a universal model of how to influence someone you don't control. Influencing Up applies those ideas to problematic bosses and other powerful people, with sophisticated tactics for building partnerships with them.

If you're afraid of retaliation or just unclear as to how to change a senior person's behavior, don't stay paralyzed. Influencing Up gives you the tools to bridge the power gap.

  • Offers practical advice about how to turn your relationship with your boss into a partnership in which both parties benefit
  • Explains what powerful people care about
  • Shows how to overcome power gaps by developing more partner-like relationships

Learn what a great partnership with your boss can do for your career—and your mental health!

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Preface vii

Acknowledgments xi

PART I Fundamentals 1

Chapter 1 The World Has Changed: To Be Successful You Need to Influence Up 3

Chapter 2 How Power Differentials Blind Smart People 19

Chapter 3 How Power Differentials Give Smart People Laryngitis 33

Chapter 4 Overview of the Steps Required to Access and Infl uence Powerful People 45

Chapter 5 The Influence Model at Work: Moving a Tough Boss 65

PART II Building a Powerful

Partnership with Your Boss 79

Chapter 6 Partnership: The Critical Mind-Set to Overcome Power Gaps 81

Chapter 7 Building a Partnership

Relationship with Your Boss 97

Chapter 8 The Art—and Responsibility—of Helping Your Boss Succeed 113

Chapter 9 Recovering from Failed Talks with Your Boss 125

PART III Influencing Powerful People 145

Chapter 10 Framing Your Change Strategy: Fitting Your Approach to the Players 147

Chapter 11 What Do the Powerful Care About? 165

Chapter 12 Action Steps for Gaining Access to Powerful People 177

Chapter 13 Clinching the Deal: “Exchanging” to Build Trust with the Powerful 195

Chapter 14 The Contours of Change: Dr. Pomahac and the Challenge of Influencing Multiple Senior Managers and Surgeons to Allow the First Facial Transplant in the United States 211

Chapter 15 Influence across Multiple Organizations 219

Additional Resources 231

Notes 235

Index 239

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ALLAN R. COHEN is the Edward A. Madden

Distinguished Professor of Global Leadership at Babson College. He has consulted on organizational change and leadership at a wide variety of organizations, including GE, Polaroid, IBM, and Fidelity, and holds MBA and DBA degrees from Harvard Business School.

DAVID L. BRADFORD is the Eugene O'Kelly Senior Lecturer in Leadership, Emeritus and Director of the Executive Program in Leadership at Stanford Graduate School of Business. He has consulted for a wide array of companies, including Frito-Lay, Levi Strauss & Co., Raychem, Genentech, and AutoDesk, as well as the Whitney Museum of American Art.

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June 19, 2012
Influence Powerful People You Don't Control

No matter what you're trying to accomplish, influence matters. You need powerful people to cooperate in order to get information, approval, resources, introductions, and support just to get your job done. But how do you win cooperation from a boss who is uninterested in your concerns, resistant to change, or threatened by your potential? How do you secure buy-in from senior managers, inside or outside your organization, who are hard to reach, and hard to sell on your ideas, products, or services?

In their classic book, Influence Without Authority, Allan Cohen and David Bradford provided a universal model of how to influence someone you don't control. Influencing Up applies those ideas to problematic bosses and other powerful people, with sophisticated tactics for building partnerships with them. This book explains the dynamics of power and encourages you to engage in difficult conversations, overcome your fear of "no," let go of your understandable "problems with authority," and become willing to give something valuable in order to get cooperation from a powerful person.

If you're afraid of retaliation or just unclear as to how to change a powerful person's behavior, don't remain paralyzed. Influencing Up gives you the tools to bridge the power gap. You'll get critical advice that will help you achieve your goals and elevate your career, including:

  • How to overcome the common difficulties that arise when building a partnership relationship with your boss
  • How to help your boss succeed
  • How to effectively deal with more distant senior executives—inside and outside of your organization—and understand the power discrepancies that come into play
  • How to identify relevant stakeholders and assess their role in the change process
  • Examples of determined, persistent, and effective influencers who have reached solutions through careful diagnosis or by intuitively sizing up the needs and concerns of others

You can't achieve your objectives without help. If you're trying to make significant contributions at work, you need to learn how to influence powerful people you don't control. Discover what a great partnership with your boss or senior executives can do for your career—and your mental health!

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