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

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

The previous chapter addressed the organizational side of politics, where organizational structure and situation cause differential power and require careful understanding of the situation to determine how to proceed in a way that preserves the possibility of mutual exchange. But at times the political challenge is more personal, and it is necessary to take a tougher stance, one that is more confrontational and self-protective. Throughout this book, we have stressed the value of working toward a win-win outcome. In today's organizations, there is almost always a future, so any colleague you defeat today could be out to get you tomorrow. Better to have that person walk away satisfied.

However, at times an (implied) threat or “cost” might be necessary to achieve such a win-win outcome. Usually a good strategy is approaching others with the benefit of your proposal first, but that might not be enough. It is true that even positive offers can have an implied downside. It may be no more than the simple reality that when others don't accept the exchange, they miss out on its benefits. But at times it might be necessary to up the ante and talk about a potential negative exchange if the other person or group doesn't agree. This may involve—by direct statement or implication—threatening ...

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