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Influence without Authority, Second Edition by David L. Bradford, Allan R. Cohen

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Chapter 4. How To Know What They Want: Understandingtheir Worlds (And Theforces Acting On Them)

Do not do unto others as you would that they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same.

George Bernard Shaw, 1903

You have influence insofar as you can give people what they need. But how do you know what they need? Knowing the concerns, objectives, and styles of the people you want to influence—all your important stakeholders—is fundamental for determining what to offer to gain cooperation. The more you know, the better you can determine valued currencies, the language they speak, and the style in which they prefer to interact. Some of these things you can perceive automatically, and you can just proceed effectively. But if you're unclear about what matters to an important person or group, puzzled by resistance, stymied because "reasonable" approaches aren't working, or angry and beginning to assume the worst about their motives and personality, you may need to do a careful analysis of their world(s). The greater the number of stakeholders you have to influence for a given objective or the greater your anticipated difficulty in figuring out the right approach, the more you should do in advance. This chapter zooms in on the analytical process for determining the world of those whose driving forces are not immediately apparent, so you can figure out how to build present and future win-win relationships.

Continuing to look at a situation only from your own viewpoint makes it easy ...

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