Business Politics Practices – Creating a Power Position Environment
Successfully exercising personal power for political gain requires overcoming those who would oppose you. Winning these engagements, both strategic and tactical, becomes far easier when starting from a position of power. While you may not possess an initial starting position of strength, manipulating the engagement circumstances can tip the balance of power in your favor.[wcm_restrict plans=”52813, 25542, 25653″]
Controllable circumstances that can tip the balance of power in your favor include timing, location, and participation. Optimally, as many of these circumstances should be bent in your favor during each encounter so to maximize your power position.
Engagement timing should be such that it places pressure on those you are seeking to overcome by creating a sense of urgency on their part. This means making yourself and/or resources you control only available near, at, or beyond:
- Action and decision due dates
- Weekends, holidays, and vacation periods
Alternatively, make yourself and/or resources you control available during off hours and during times that conflict with the other business priorities of your adversaries.
In all cases, narrowing the interaction timeframe further stresses your adversaries sense of urgency; transferring to you additional power and control.
Engagement location should be such that it emphasizes your personal power (e.g. award, accomplishment, degree, and certification displays as well as opulent and technological advanced surroundings) and conceals that of those with whom you are interacting. Additionally, the optimal location should provide you with tools (e.g. reference materials and computers) to enhance your negotiations while denying these to others not aligned with you.
In more extreme instances, the ideal location will also make your opponents reliant on you for basic needs (e.g. food and lodging) that you can graciously offer and control thereby further emphasizing your personal power.
Engagement participation seeks to create circumstances where you and your supporters collectively possess greater power than your opponents. The power balance is tipped in your favor during:
- One-on-one engagements with persons possessing lower personal power associated with the particular situation
- One-on-one interactions with persons possessing greater expert and/or referent power associated with the particular situation only if you possess superior legitimate/positional power and are able and willing to use that power to influence the outcomes
- Multi-participant engagements where you and your supporters out-power (number and magnitude of collective personal power) your adversaries
- Multi-participant interactions where you and your supporters don’t out-power your adversaries only if you possess superior legitimate/positional power over all adversarial participants and are able and willing to use that power to influence the outcomes
If circumstances don’t initially place you in a favorable power position, invite others to join the interaction until you achieve the superior power position.
Note too that this rule applies to email correspondence and direct phone call engagements where you are being targeted by a more powerful opponent outside of formal interactions such as meetings. If this occurs, forward the email to a broader group or push to end (make an excuse like “I’ve got to go to another meeting.”) and reschedule the call for a time when your supporters can participate and aligns with the timing principles.[/wcm_restrict][wcm_nonmember plans=”52813, 25542, 25653″]
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