!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Streamline Training & Documentation: A Model of Influencing Without Authority

Friday, November 07, 2008

A Model of Influencing Without Authority

How can a person influence people over whom the person has no authority?

Allan Cohen, a professor at Babson College, and David Bradford, an emeritus professor at Stanford's Graduate School of Business, answer this question in terms of the Influence Without Authority model illustrated below.1

(click to enlarge)

Application of Cohen and Bradford's model to a variety of work situations is spelled out in their book, Influence Without Authority, originally published in 1989 and updated in 2005.

You can get a taste of Influence Without Authority by reading a summary of the chapter on influencing your boss that is available here. The main theme of the chapter is that your best bet is to develop a relationship with your boss in which you act as a junior partner (i. e., you are not a mere underling).

The do's for a boss's junior partner:
  • Do stay loyal to the partnership's objectives.

  • Do place the good of your organization first, ahead of your own personal druthers.

  • Do value and take advantage of the differences in skills and perspectives between you and your boss.

  • Do tolerate each other's foibles.

  • Do give the boss the benefit of the doubt, i.e., assume that any bad behavior is due to misinformation or misguided views, rather than reflecting bad intentions.
The don'ts for a boss's junior partner:
  • Don't let your boss make big mistakes.

  • Don't let your boss inadvertently look bad.

  • Don't let your boss move along in ignorance of information he or she should know.
In sum: "The idea is to always be on the side of your boss, not an antagonist or critic. You are always seeking to help the boss meet his or her goals."

1 The graphic comes from influencewithoutauthority.com. The website also offers seven case studies illustrating application of the Influence Model.

Note that in the context of the Influence Model, "Currencies are anything that you and your potential ally value, and can exchange to get what you need to do your work."


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