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Influence Without Authority, 3rd Edition by David L. Bradford, Allan R. Cohen

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Chapter 11Influencing Organizational Groups, Departments, and Divisions

In many ways, influencing a whole group in your organization is parallel to influencing individuals:

  • First, you must not demonize them; don't characterize them with negative stereotypes, tempting as it might be.
  • Second, you need to understand their world: what they value, how they are rewarded, what pressures they face, and so forth.
  • With that information, you now have a sense of what currencies you could trade for what you want from others.
  • But, even more than when you are dealing interpersonally, it is important to pay attention to the nature of your relationship. Just as you may have stereotyped other people, they have probably done the same in return.

Any good diagnosis has many facets, but it is important to pay attention to some particular issues when dealing across groups, departments, and divisions. Are the dominant currencies of the group valued by all members? How much latitude will individuals have to trade for different currencies? Do you need everybody in the unit to comply with your request or just some people?

As organizations grow more complex, there is hardly any group that doesn't need cooperation from other units. Furthermore, often the other group does not have to follow your requests. If you work in a central staff function (purchasing, legal, information technology, quality control, ...

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