Power and Influence: Beyond Formal Authority
John P. Kotter
Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:
In today's complex work world, things no longer get done simply because someone issues an order and someone else follows it.
Most of us work in socially intricate organizations where we need the help not only of subordinates but of colleagues, superiors, and outsiders to accomplish our goals. This often leaves us in a "power gap" because we must depend on people over whom we have little or no explicit control.
This is a book about how to bridge that gap: how to exercise the power and influence you need to get things done through others when your responsibilities exceed your formal authority.
Full of original ideas and expert insights about how organizations—and the people in them—function, Power and Influence goes further, demonstrating that lower-level personnel also need strong leadership skills and interpersonal know-how to perform well.
Kotter shows how you can develop sufficient resources of "unofficial" power and influence to achieve goals, steer clear of conflicts, foster creative team behavior, and gain the cooperation and support you need from subordinates, coworkers, superiors—even people outside your department or organization.
He also shows how you can avoid the twin traps of naivete and cynicism when dealing with power relationships, and how to use your power without abusing it.
Power and Influence is essential for top managers who need to overcome the infighting, foot-dragging, and politicking that can destroy both morale and profits; for middle managers who don't want their careers sidetracked by unproductive power struggles; for professionals hindered by bureaucratic obstacles and deadline delays; and for staff workers who have to "manage the boss."
This is not a book for those who want to "grab" power for their own ends. But if you'd like to create smooth, responsive working relationships and increase your personal effectiveness on the job, Kotter can show you how—and make the dynamics of power work for you instead of against you.
John Kotter does two remarkable things in this book. First, he puts his finger on what has been making many of us so uncomfortable with the popularized notions of excellence: It is not that we lack excellence in our organizations —what we lack is enough managers with the power to mobilize various groups and interests to allow this excellence to shine. Second, he liberates the concept of power from the traditional "anything goes" definition and lays out a brilliantly clear personal strategy for capturing the only legitimate, real power in an organization—the ability to get things done.
—John R. Murphy, Director, Executive and Advanced Management Education, GTE Corporation
"POWER AND INFLUENCE provides brilliant insight into the true nature of the organization. It's about time we all realize that it is people—with all their frailties and foibles—that run organizations. The movers and shakers in this world have all learned that the art of understanding people is the greatest business skill there is.
—Adam Aron, System Director—Marketing, Pan American World Airways
There is the meaning of authority, which we understand pretty well, and the meaning of influence, which we don't. But more important than either is the ability to exercise the power of influence. That's what POWER AND INFLUENCE is about. Anyone who takes to heart the lessons of this penetrating book will be sure to enrich his or her ability in this most important area.
—Allan Cox, President, Allan Cox & Associates, Inc.
I really enjoyed this book! Kotter describes complex issues clearly, but without oversimplification. I will certainly recommend POWER AND INFLUENCE to my colleagues.
—Leslie L. Vadasz, Senior Vice President, Intel Corporation
John Kotter has isolated, defined, and articulated one of the most elusive and misunderstood aspects of management. POWER AND INFLUENCE is must reading for all staff managers.
—B. Lyle Shafer, Vice President—Personnel Resources NCR Corporation
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About the Author
John P. Kotter is Chairman of the Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management Area at the Harvard Business School. The winner of two McKinsey Awards from the Harvard Business Review, he is the author of six books, including Power and Influence (also published by The Free Press).
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