Power Play in Organization

Power Play

Power Play in Organization


Power Play. I read the Harvard Business Review about the effective organization “Power Play” that write by Jeffrey Pfeffer and then here is my summary about it :

Power Play by Jeffrey Pfeffer

In real life, either in the business, or organization activity, we need the power to push any of our agenda. We should know how to shove our ability to have things in our way (power). We can exercise our power skill by do several things to advance our agenda. But sometimes we have a barrier to not realize that power skill is important to achieve our agenda. So, before know how to shove our power skills, we need to learn about the barriers that maybe make us not think that skill power is important. Here are the three big barriers (“Do you shy away from power” article):

  • Barrier 1: The belief that the world is just a place. 

According to Melvin Lerner, people want to think the world is predictable and comprehensible and therefore potentially controllable. People think if they do a good job and behave, so things will take care of themselves. This belief will make people will powerless in two ways. First, it limits their willingness to learn from all situations and the second is it anesthetizes them to the need proactively build a power-based.

  • Barrier 2: The leadership literature

Different from leadership literature that filled with prescriptions about following our inner compass, being truthful, and make us authentic, most of the leaders in the organization may be not let us follow the literature, but push us to see them as a model of leadership.

  • Barrier 3: Your delicate self-esteem

People want to feel good about themselves and their abilities. But if they do something that diminishes their performance, they assume it as not come from their lack of abilities.

So, according to the Jeffrey Pfeffer article “Spotlight on the effective organization: Power Play”, and every story case in the articles such as Lara Esserman with her agenda to build integrated health care and Zia Yusuf at SAP, I have summarized the important things that we could do to exercise our power skill. 

  1. Mete out resources. Every resource that we have and it important to others, we can use it as our power. Our ability to get support will be self-sustaining. An example is Klaus Schwab who gathered the business leaders in the economic forum and make access to information and influence people as his power.
  2. Shape behavior through rewards and punishment. Ours wield influence effectively makes it clear that people will get rewards if people help us and give difficulty to them if not in line with our agenda. So it pushes people to follow us for their facility.
  3. Advance in multiple fronts. Focus on our strength and advantage chance to make counter “opponent”. Such as make alliances with other parties.
  4. Make the first move. A surprise move can make the opponent off guard and secure victory before the opponent even know what’s happening.
  5. Co-opt antagonists. Make our opponent as our team or giving a stake in the system can make us win over them.
  6. Remove rivals-nicely, if possible. Rewarding the opponent rather than exacting retribution will make solidify our power.
  7. Don’t draw unnecessary fire. A clear understanding of our critical step and not make unnecessary opposition.
  8. Use the personal touch. Make a lobby by direct communication.
  9. Persist. Persistence can make our opponent down, keeps the game open the possibility that the situation will shift to our advantages.
  10. Make important relationship-no matter what. Put aside jealousies, anger, and anything else that might make us get in the way when we make a critical relationship in the career.
  11. Make the vision compelling. If we aligned with a compelling, socially valuable objective, it can make our power exercise easier.

The conclusion is some of the people competing for advancement or standing in the way of our agenda will follow the rule or ignore the rule entirely. Our job is to know how to control political battles.

Read : Big data and Knowledge Management

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