Book review: Influence without Authority by David L. Bradford; Allan R. Cohen

Every person in any organization has a need to influence people – peers, boss, other department. This is just a part of human nature. We prefer to participate in reciprocity process rather than to follow marching orders. Even with direct reports it is much easier to achieve better performance with influence than authority.

This book provides guidance into how to create influence using pretty straightforward process. In the context of the book, influence is an ability to establish trustful relationships and make “win-win” exchanges to achieve the one’s goals.

One of the key ideas of the book – everybody is your potential ally. This idea is very simple, but in practice we tend to mark individuals or groups of people as “bad persons”, if they don’t cooperate or help us right after the first request. Thus, we remove them from list of potential allies and killing the possibility for influence.

The book explains how to avoid this bias, how to understand other side values and goals (currencies in the book’s language) and how to build mutually benefitial reciprocity process in professional environment. The process how to do that explained early in the book and the rest of it concenrates on various situations where and how this process applies – with your boss, cross-functional team or other departmernt.

The key weakness of the book from my point of view – too much speculation and hypothetical thinking in some of examples.

Overall rating – 4 out of 5.