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Read the GetAbstract summary page of the book “Power and Influence by Robert L. Dilenschneider” (file is uploaded).
What is this book about?
Why is it related to this week’s readings (file uploaded)?
What did you learn from the GetAbstract Summary page?
Concepts that are discussed?
What is your thought?
How to apply/utilize the concept?
Use sentence like “The GetAbstract Summary of the book explains/introduces/provides ……….”
“What I learned from the GetAbstract Summary of the book is ………”
Robert L. Dilenschneider gives readers an immediately applicable guide to increasing their influence over others.
Not a management handbook per se, this book instead focuses on general principles of human interaction, social
awareness, cultural positioning, perspective and strategy. Dilenschneider shares personal stories about
interactions with highly influential people such as Henry Kissinger, accounts that vividly illustrate his expertise.
That said, even though Dilenschneider claims in his subtitle that “the rules have changed,” many of his rules
sound somewhat old-fashioned. Do 21st century business leaders really need to hear that they must adapt to
changing technology? Nevertheless, Dilenschneider’s insistence on traditional standards of ethics and courtesy is
refreshing. Business interactions would be far more dignified if everyone followed his advice.
Thus, getAbstract recommends this book to up-and-comers and others who are looking for something beyond a
In this summary, you will learn
How to maximize your power and influence;
How to treat other people; and
What you must do to have ongoing versatility and success.
Most people don’t understand power, but you can gain it if you understand its principles.
To gain and exercise power, you must be ready to adapt and start over.
The status quo isn’t enough. If you want power, you must innovate.
Learn from every crisis.
The human touch is essential. Treat everyone with respect.
Cultivate a network of personal connections – and cull it when necessary.
As you gain power, share it. Mentor others.
As you gain power, cultivate humility.
The greatest power players exercise their power according to abiding values.
Take the long view. Study history and plan for lasting influence.
Power in a Changing World
Few people understand that universal principles govern the acquisition, use and keeping of power. Fewer still
know how to apply these principles today, as new technologies transform the business world. In the past, society
placed limits on how high some people could rise or what they could do given its biased beliefs about race and
gender. Today technology limits people.
The new environment has given rise to these 10 new rules for the exercise of power.
“Most people do not understand power and what it can do for them. These individuals, often highly
skilled and talented, are doomed never to live up to their potential.”
1. “Accept, Adapt, and Accelerate – or Atrophy”
Visit an exclusive New York restaurant. There you’ll see executives using technological devices to multitask in
ways that would have been unthinkable even 10 years ago. They’re trying to keep up with the flood of
communication. Rather than a few letters a day, leaders today expect to receive dozens, even hundreds of e-mails
from around the world. They also must keep up with other new modes of communication, such as blogs.
Technology is challenging geographic boundaries that seemed to be immutable. As telecommuting becomes
more and more commonplace, people won’t have to flock to the old economic centers. Internationally, workers
who moved to the United States from India, for example, are moving back, often to start their own companies.
“I want my readers to acquire happiness while they pursue material success.”
The communication revolution is breaking down not only geographic boundaries, but also those of class and
race. (Of course, other forces are at work too; for example, in 50 years, Hispanics will almost be a majority in the
United States.) The “have-nots” can see what the “haves” have – and can get it. As the lower classes move up the
economic ladder, immense new markets open up: 400 million will likely join the middle class in India alone.
Your organization needs a plan to reach this and other new markets.
The world becomes increasingly interconnected; to exercise power you must be aware of what’s going on “out
there.” At the same time, nothing will ever take the place of “mentor technology”: learning from people to help
people. Manners, self-control and ethics will never change.
“You must be ready to fight again, even if you’ve been knocked over or knocked out. Be careful: Power
and influence are transitory and elusive.”
2. “Be Prepared to Start Over – Again and Again”
You may be on top now, but power can slip away quickly. Look at Steve Jobs. He was one of Apple’s founders –
then the company fired him. Like Jobs, you must find a way to bounce back.
Technology can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it changes industries quickly, removing all job security.
On the other, new developments such as job-search Web sites enable you to reach out in unprecedented ways.
“Everything is running at warp speed. You need to get out there and get ahead in your thinking.”
To start over successfully, learn from your mistakes. You will need “nerve.” Losing your job or your company is a
huge blow to the ego. Renew your sense of who you are and what is important to you. Remember that sometimes
losing a position is an opportunity. Bet on yourself and your dreams. Finally, when you are up again and others
are down, remember what that feels like, and extend a helping hand.
3. “Think Innovation – Forget about Just Keeping Up”
The time when you could focus on just your own industry is past. Technological change is coming from
everywhere at “warp speed.” Monitor innovations to see which may help you in your business. This takes some
courage: People have rejected or laughed at many fine ideas at first. Hold to your visions, regardless of external
“I have a threeword
suggestion for power players: Read the blogs.”
At the same time, continually make your organization more competitive. Meeting customers’ unmet needs is a
major innovation engine. Devour information. Develop a system for sifting the good stuff from the falsehoods
and irrelevancies. Find the best sources for your purposes. Don’t read only the business press; also check out
alternative publications. Seek out creative thinkers and try to meet them in person.
As you focus on new developments, remember these two principles:
“Be prepared to deal with a world that’s becoming meaner, fouler and more venal.”
1. Despite the casual social style of the Internet, old-fashioned ethics and manners are always appropriate.
2. Innovate “for the long haul,” not just for the moment.
4. “Seize the Opportunity in Every Crisis”
Crises happen every week. Adversity flattens some people – but not power players. Find personal and political
ways to adapt, from yoga or meditation to creating social change, as the singer Bono did by raising money for
Africa. In a crisis, help others and hope they’ll help you. Plan ahead. To stay in control, anticipate the
consequences of your actions – both good and bad.
“For the true power player, networks are grown by smartly paring back those who no longer matter in
your line of work.”
To solve crises and gain power, don’t focus on power but rather on the root of the crisis. People who are invested
in the old ways will fight change, even change for the better. Instead, publicly support good new ideas – like
Gandhi did. He took risks to achieve an independent India – and he always made sure foreign journalists, who
would publicize his acts widely, were around to multiply their effect. Find ways to seize “the moral high ground”
– ideally, a moral high ground that your opponents or competitors value. That way, they’ll want to support you.
5. “Look beyond the New Rules to Connect”
One thing in the world has not changed: “The importance of treating people with respect and courtesy.” Power
players connect with people, although the connection takes some new forms, such as blogs, podcasts and social
networking Web sites. Although the particular technological tools you use are changing, being a gracious, decent,
caring person is not only virtuous but will also increase your influence.
“There are a lot of people whose egos become bigger than they should be; they often believe their own
Right now about half the people in the U.S. get their news from television. Just over 40% depend on radio, and
more than 33% read newspapers. Only a small percentage read blogs or visit Web sites for news – but this will
soon change profoundly. Get in at the beginning of new trends.
6. “Take the Heat and Never Compromise”
People can attack one another more easily than ever using electronic communication. The Internet is full of
flame wars, negative gossip and plain old-fashioned rudeness.
“The best power players have enduring professional values.”
Don’t allow attacks on you to circulate. Monitor what people are saying about you and your organization online.
When an attack occurs, respond swiftly. Don’t go overboard, or you’ll add fuel to the fire. Instead, correct the
untruths, answer questions and move on. “Accentuate the positive.” Publicize awards. Develop an attractive,
functional Web site, with images and up-to-date information that will deflect attacks.
Some of your values may be unpopular. Remember what is most important – your values, not what others say
“The central question should always be this: What are you prepared to do not just in your own life and
for your company but in adding value to society?”
7. “Keep Focusing on Your Strengths”
Sometimes people may want you to take a particular action. Recognize your strengths and goals rather than
caving in to external pressure.
A. D. “Pete” Correll faced a challenge of this kind at Georgia-Pacific. Despite pressure from many parts of his
company to act quickly to turn around a crisis, Correll knew that as CEO he had to take the time to listen to
everyone and address each concern. He led the company successfully through its tough time, and recognizing his
values and competency, the United Nations recruited him to take part in its 1992 Earth Summit.
“I’ve found that one rule is paramount: doing the right thing and doing it in a way that makes everyone
say it is the right thing.”
Correll demonstrated a key strength of a power player: decisiveness. If this doesn’t come naturally to you, work
on it. In addition, you must be able to do focused research. When you are involved in a deal, find out everything
you can about the other party, so you can frame the interaction and keep it friendly. Assume nothing. Plan and
practice all interactions, down to the way you’ll enter the room.
8. “Keep Growing Your Network by Shaving It”
Success depends on whom you know. Develop a list of contacts, and maintain it by tracking changes in their
personal or job status. Periodically cull your list. Of course, maintain contact with your close friends. However,
when your business contacts are no longer useful, allow yourself to grow distant.
“With respect to technology…information is power.”
Start developing your network early in your career. Seek people who share your interests and ask those whom
you respect, such as your college professors, to introduce you to people. Attend both formal and informal
gatherings to meet people. Evaluate your new acquaintances by examining their character, families and values.
Find mentors, and share your own knowledge and experience with others: This kind of generosity will expand
your network for you. Use symbols to increase your influence. Attaching yourself to a respected institution or
organization will connect you to the others who value it.
9. “Seek Acclaim but Practice Humility”
A lot of people have an “‘I am’ room,” a place where they display trophies, awards and diplomas. However, this
can lead to ego inflation. As a power player, remember that you share fundamental humanity with everyone in
your organization, from top to bottom. Treat everyone with respect.
Help those who are down. It is both humane and practical: You never know who will become a friend or a useful
client. Listen to what others are saying, not what you wish they were saying. To maintain your contacts with
individuals and organizations who have helped you, give back.
10. “Search for Power but Never Forget to Share It”
The people who are best at exercising power are also the best people. They have strong professional values, such
as diligence, but they also exercise something even rarer: “Complete and total honesty.” They reject unethical
proposals politely but firmly. They have “a higher purpose.” They don’t want just a salary; they want to make the
world a better place.
They apply their ethical rules to every situation; doing good comes first; seizing power is a distant second. When
they do obtain power and wealth, they share them. Sharing extends to the realm of information: They educate
others and teach them to think critically. True power players focus on the long term and respect the values of the
people and cultures they deal with whom they interact.
As you design your life path to gain and exercise power, don’t take the first or most obvious offer, such as a job
that pays well. Instead, seek out positions that enable you to act on your values. Stand up for what you believe in,
such as your religious faith, even when it is out of fashion. Study history; it will help you understand the
workings of power. A solid understanding of people and your own unchanging values will enable you to stay
anchored as the waves of change sweep over you. You won’t be swayed by the apparent power of new
One of the most important unchanging values is maintaining relationships, including with a spouse who
supports and understands you. The human touch is another. Listen to people. Don’t interrupt. Remember their
names. Ask them what they think.
About the Author
Robert L. Dilenschneider is founder and CEO of a public-relations company, and the author of On
Power, The Corporate Communications Bible and other business-related books.
This document is intended for the use of Florida Institute of Technology employees.