POWER PERSUASION: How to Get People on Your Side When it Really Counts by William D. & Michael K. O'Leary with Carol Gould Coplin

POWER PERSUASION: How to Get People on Your Side When it Really Counts

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Aimed at members of hierarchic organizations intent on expanding their influence, this somewhat pretentious brief offers by-the-numbers guidance to coalition building, which still depends as much on judgment calls and intuition as on artless application of the authors' formulaic system. Coplin and O'Leary (co-directors of a political-risk consultancy) take a seven-step approach to gaining clout. It involves assigning numerical values (on a 10-point scale ranging from 0 to Ñ 5) to other participants in the decision-making process in three key areas--the positions they've taken, the power they wield, and the priority they accord the decision at issue. (Identifying the players can be a job in itself, as the authors concede in their injunction to check for inconspicuous participants.) Having quantified their best guesses as to support levels, authority, and other relevant factors, would-be power persuaders construct a matrix that, hopefully, permits them to make accurate calculations of probable outcomes. Much of the text is devoted to case studies illustrating means that can be employed to reach desired ends, using power persuasion techniques. In forming alliances, for example, the authors advise focusing on players with position scores of 3, leaving non-neutrals for later. They also recommend divide-and-conquer tactics--under the stately banner of ""selective player separation."" In many instances, though, common sense prevails over mathematic bafflegab, e.g., ""In the face of stiff opposition, stall."" The Coplin/O'Leary construct is vulnerable to criticism on a number of counts, including spurious precision and oversimplification that fails to take into adequate account the typically complex relationships among its three variables. As a framework within which to impose order on invariably amorphous data, however, the model has a measure of utility, albeit mainly for gamesmen seeking arithmetic wrinkles.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1985
Publisher: Addison-Wesley