Bacon explains his own model of power and influence: “There are five sources of power that stem from your position and participation in an organization: role power; resource power; information power, network power; and reputation.”
He doesn’t stop there: “Additionally, there are five sources of power that stem from your personal assets: knowledge power; expressiveness power; attraction power; character power; and history power, which derives from your history of familiarity with the people you are trying to lead or influence.” Nor does he stop there: “Finally, there is one meta-source of power, will, which is related to the popular concept of willpower. I use the word ‘will’ as a meta-source of power because it can have substantial magnifying effect on all other sources.” Terry rigorously and eloquently explores each of these power sources in this book.
Of special interest to me is what he has to say in dozens of brief but insightful Profiles in Power of an exceptionally diverse group of people. They include Bill Gates (Pages 26-29), Maya Angelou (34-36), Martin Luther King, Jr. (58-59), Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie (94-96), (63-65), Eleanor Roosevelt (119-121), Richard Cheney (186-190), Warren Buffett (206-209), and Jeff Bezos (231-233). All of them are well-known throughout the world. Those of less renown, at least to the general public in the U.S., include Xu Jinglei (80-82), Ali Al-Naimi (146-147), Peter Pronovost (161-163), and Aung San Suu Kyi (201-203). Bacon explains what can be learned from each of them as well as from each of several others who also possess power in one form or another.
Bacon makes very effective use of checklists of key points. For example:
A summary of some of the majo0r research on physical attractiveness (Pages 92-93)
The ten most attractive qualities (97-98)
Ranking of countries in terms of relative role power (148-149)
Ranking of countries in terms of relative strength of reputation (213)
“How to Build” each element of power (256-273)
He also concludes all chapters with “Key Concepts” and “Challenges for Readers” sections that collectively serve as a comprehensive self-audit or “gut check.” He correctly asks what many readers will consider to be “tough questions”; in fact, they are easy to ask but very difficult to answer with appropriate precision and (yes) candor. One of the book’s greatest benefits will be gained from what a reader learns by answering the questions with the serious consideration they deserve. The power of such increased self-knowledge is incalculable.
If there is another single source that offers more and better information, insights, and advice about power, I am eager to know about it. Congratulations to Terry Bacon on a brilliant achievement. Bravo!
You got it, Kimosabe. Today’s your day.
Here are ten more snappy more quotations that caught my eye. You can use each of them in a variety of different situations (e.g. emails, proposals, formal presentations, reviews, blog posts). If you have others to share, I hope you will do so.
And again, I highly recommend The Yale Book of Quotations, brilliantly edited by Fred R. Shapiro and published by Yale University Press.
1. “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.” Oscar Wilde
2. “Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt
3. “A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him or her.” David Brinkley
4. “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” Anaïs Nin
5. “Aerodynamically the bumblebee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn’t know that so it goes on flying anyway.” Mary Kay Ash
6. “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” Philip K. Dick
7. “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” Albert Einstein
8. “Reality is a collective hunch.” Lilly Tomlin
9. ”Few people have the imagination for reality.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
10. “I’m not crazy about reality, but it’s still the only place to get a decent meal.” Groucho Marx
I was reminded of that scene as I read Lynne Olson’s recently published book, Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in Its Darkest, Finest Hour. In Chapter 4, she focuses on President Roosevelt’s reluctance to explain to the American people how desperate Britain’s situation had become. “The people as a whole simply do not understand that a Hitler control of Europe, Asia, Africa, and the high seas would put us at the mercy of the Nazis for about 25 essential resources, “ Chet Williams, a federal government official and friend of [Edward R.] Murrow’s, wrote to the broadcaster, “Facts like that have not been explained.”
Here’s where it really gets interesting. “Belle Roosevelt, the wife of Eleanor Roosevelt’s cousin Kermit, and a close friend of the president and his wife, confronted FDR about his reluctance to educate the public. ‘Why don’t you tell the American people the facts, no matter how grim they are?’ she demanded. ‘Can’t we take the facts, and if we can’t, isn’t it all the more essential that we, as a nation, should learn to face the actuality? Isn’t it part of your job to teach us to face the truth?’”
This is one of the most common (albeit underestimated) forms of denial, all of which Richard Tedlow examines in his recently published book, Denial: Why Business Leaders Fail to Look at the Facts in the Face – and What to Do About It.
Only when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and then declared war, as Germany did soon thereafter, did President Roosevelt believe that he could speak frankly to the American people about what needed to be done – and what it would require in terms of personal sacrifice – to defeat the Axis powers.
Throughout history, the most effective leaders prepare those for whom they are directly responsible to “handle” the truth, however unpleasant, indeed frightening it may be.
In this series, Bob Morris poses a key question and then responds to it with material from one or more of the business books he has reviewed for Amazon and Borders.
I first became aware of this concept when I began to read several books written by Howard Gardner, including Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, Intelligence Reframed: Multiple Intelligences for the 21st Century, and Leading Minds: An Anatomy of Leadership (Margaret Mead, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Robert Maynard Hutchins, Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., George C. Marshall, Pope John XXIII, Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Jr., Margaret Thatcher, Jean Monnet, and Mahatma Gandhi) co-authored with Emma Laskin. In essence, the concept asserts that all human beings possess a combination of cognitive abilities. Each requires quite different development in order to enable us to complete quite different tasks.
For example, in his latest work, Five Minds for the Future, he identifies and explains five separate but related combinations of cognitive abilities that are needed to “thrive in the world during eras to come…[abilities] which we should develop in the future.” Gardner refers to them as “minds” but they are really mindsets. Mastery of each enables a person:
1. to know how to work steadily over time to improve skill and understanding;
2. to take information from disparate sources and make sense of it by understanding and evaluating that information objectively;
3. by building on discipline and synthesis, to break new ground;
4. by “recognizing that nowadays one can no longer remain within one’s shell or one’s home territory,” to note and welcome differences between human individuals and between human groups so as to understand them and work effectively with them;
5. and finally, by “proceeding on a level more abstract than the respectful mind,” to reflect on the nature of one’s work and the needs and desires of the society in which one lives.
Gardner notes that the five “minds” he examines in this book are different from the eight or nine human intelligences that he examines in his earlier works. “Rather than being distinct computational capabilities, they are better thought of as broad uses of the mind that we can cultivate at school, in professions, or at the workplace.” And they can be nourished simultaneously.
He concludes his book as follows: “Perhaps members of the human species will not be prescient enough to survive, or perhaps it will take far more immediate threats to our survival before we can make common with our fellow human beings. In any event the survival and thriving of our species will depend on our nurturing of potentials that are distinctly human.” Some may view these comments as being naïve but I do not. On the contrary, I view them as an eloquent assertion of what is imperative, yes, but also as a sincere affirmation of what is possible.
Comments, questions, requests, or suggestions? Please share them. They will be most welcome and I thank you for them. Best regards, Bob