This is one of the volumes in the Harvard Business Essentials series. Each offers authoritative answers to the most important questions concerning its specific subject. The material in this book is drawn from a variety of sources which include the Harvard Business School Press and the Harvard Business Review as well as Harvard ManageMentor®, an online service. I strongly recommend the official Harvard Business Essentials Web site (www.elearning.hbsp.org/businesstools) which offers free interactive versions of tools, checklists, and worksheets cited in this book and other books in the Essentials series. Each volume is indeed “a highly practical resource for readers with all levels of experience.” And each is by intent and in execution solution-oriented. Although I think those who have only recently embarked on a business career will derive the greatest benefit, the material is well-worth a periodic review by senior-level executives.
Credit Richard Luecke with pulling together a wealth of information and counsel from various sources. He is also the author of several other books in the Essentials series. In this instance, he was assisted by a subject advisor, Kathleen K. Reardon, a professor of management and organization at the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business, who is a leading authority on persuasion, negotiation, and workplace politics.
Together, they have carefully organized the material as follows. First, they explain why power is necessary in organizations “even though our society distrusts power and those who seek it.” Next, they examine the sources of power. Then they explain why power is realized only through some form of expression. In Chapter 4, they examine influence in sharper focus, illustrating three specific tactics which any manager can use. Then in the next two chapters, Luecke and Reardon shift their attention to the concept of persuasion. They identify the four elements of persuasion and discuss how various audiences and people with diverse decision-making styles are receptive (“susceptible”) to different forms of persuasion. Then in Chapter 6, they explain how to appeal both to the mind (with logic and/or evidence) and the to heart (by anchoring the given proposition in a human context). Hence the importance of compelling details, vivid images, similes, metaphors, analogies, and especially stories achieve resonance with an audience.
I especially appreciate the three appendices provided. “In Leading When You’re Not the Boss,” Luecke and Reardon offer useful tips on how to be productive and effective in situations in which (usually lower-level managers) are expected to lead but have no formal power or authority to do so. Appendix B includes two forms by which to assess an audience and to assess one’s own ability to persuade others. (Please check out Figures B-1 and B-2 on pages 135-139.) In the third appendix, Luecke and Reardon offer seven “Rules” to follow when preparing visuals for presentations that will have maximum impact.