Chapter 2 The art of power play

This chapter presents a helicopter view of the book, a perspective that reveals the sweeping landscape around and ahead of us, hovering briefly over each feature. Equipped with this overview, we will go on to land and explore each mode of influence in Part II.

How (so far)

Traditionally, influence has been about hard power (good old command and control), soft power (consulting, connecting, collaborating) and story power (inspiring through storytelling). These are what I call the ‘how (so far)' modes of influence.

Hard power

Hard power describes the kind of influence wielded through systems of command and control, coercion or the carrot-and-stick approach.

Martin Scorsese's 2013 movie The Wolf of Wall Streetshows stockbroker Jordan Belfort (the wolf of the title) ordering his salespeople to ‘get on the phone and don't hang up until the customer buys or dies'. This bullying and intimidation is hard power in its worst garb. It's definitely not the way to create long-lasting, sustainable influence.

We all have an instinctive understanding of pecking orders and hierarchies and other expressions of hard power.

Prestige power is one such expression. When I was growing up in India, family photos were rare. I have a small black-and-white photo of me, my mother, sister and family friends from the 1970s. We are standing in front of a car — unusual in itself, but in this case it was a Hindustan Ambassador, which was a huge status symbol then. Amusingly, ...

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