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

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Chapter 16. Hardball: Escalating to Tougher Strategies When You Can No Longer Catch Flies with Honey

Throughout this book, we have stressed the value of working toward a win-win outcome. In today's organizations, there is always a future, and the colleague whom you defeat today could be out to get you tomorrow. Better to have that person walk away satisfied.

However, there are times when an (implied) threat or "cost" might be necessary to achieve such a win-win outcome. It is usually a good strategy to approach the other in terms of the benefit in your proposal, but that might not be enough. It is true that behind even positive offers there is an implied downside. It may be no more than the simple reality that without acceptance of the exchange, the other person will miss out on the benefits. But there are times when it might be necessary to up the ante and talk about the negative exchange that could occur if the other person or group doesn't agree. This may involve—by direct statement or implication—a threat to raise costs by direct action or the withholding of something desirable. You may have to get tough to have any chance to move the deeply resistant potential ally.By hardball, we mean how to put "teeth" into your requests when needed and what to do when others might be playing dirty pool with you.

This strategy can be tricky, and it can backfire. Even an implied threat can create resistance—especially if the other party gets upset and focuses on retaliation rather than what ...

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