Influence Without Authority by Allan R. Cohen and David L. Bradford, book or media cover image.

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Influence Without Authority
by Allan R. Cohen and David L. Bradford

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Review: Effective Collaboration Doesn't Just Happen

If you want to increase your effectiveness as a peer collaborator within a network of entrepreneurial free agents or within a small business network, get a copy of Influence Without Authority and consume it cover to cover. Allan Cohen and David Bradford's 1989 publication is a timeless classic filled with insightful perspective that blends strategy and practice within an engaging case-based presentation.

Influence Without Authority was written just before the epidemic of outsourcing and downsizing in corporate organizations that has led to an explosion in non-hierarchical working relationships. So, while there is an explicit emphasis on collaboration within the corporate context and much content that is geared toward developing an effective collaborative relationship with your 'boss', don't think that this dates or undermines the importance of Cohen and Bradford's analysis and tactical recommendations. Exercising influence without the clout of formal authority is even more important in the collaborative, networking context familiar to free agents, small businesses and community activists.

We especially like the 'how to' perspective that illuminates strategic insight with case study examples. These cases run the gamut from scenario snippets to chapter-length detailed stories. Cohen and Bradford's case examples are effective in helping you to understand how to apply their influence method to practical work situations. We particularly like the sections which show you how to assess and plan your tactics for getting things done based on the metaphorical currencies of your allies and partners.

We also appreciate the lack of cynicism of this most practical book. Too many books and articles on power and management tactics today suggest a near ruthless disregard for subordinates and anyone 'non-alpha' to your position. The 'Just Do It' generation of managers may win a few battles, but never the war. Influence Without Authority, on the other hand, counsels us to approach even the 'tough cookies' with an open and positive attitude. With a proper attitude, Cohen and Bradford show us that some form of effective collaboration can be negotiated even with those we might otherwise see as obstacles or enemies. At its best, exercising effective influence among trusting, respectful peers can be exhilarating and lead to the true 'win-win' scenarios we all long for in our business relations.

If you find yourself feeling that your collaborative efforts have fallen short of your expectations and you wonder if or how things might have worked out better, we encourage you to get a copy of Influence Without Authority. We're sure you will find valuable lessons in this most practical book. And once you've read it, you will know why we are proud to have co-author Allan Cohen as a member of the Sohodojo Advisory Board.

Influence Without Authority Content at Sohodojo

Best Influence Without Authority Web Links

  • Allan Cohen's faculty profile page at Babson College: Allan Cohen, a Sohodojo Advisory Board member, holds the Edward A. Madden Distinguished Professorship in Global Leadership at Babson College. Dr. Cohen recently completed seven years as vice president of academic affairs and dean of faculty.
  • David L. Bradford's Faculty Profile at Stanford Graduate School of Business: David Bradford is a Senior Lecturer in Organizational Behavior and Director of the Executive Program in Leadership. His research interests cover leadership and the characteristics of high-performance teams at the executive level.
  • Allan Cohen's profile page at Ninth House: Learn more about Allan Cohen at Ninth House where Allan is one of the eleven 'Leading Business Minds' serving as content providers for this leading edge on-line training company.
  • David Bradford's profile page at Ninth House: Learn more about David Bradford at his content provider profile at Ninth House where he collaborates with 'Influence Without Authority' co-author Allan Cohen on training for resolving interpersonal issues.
  • 'Resolving Interpersonal Issues' Ninth House course information: Cohen and Bradford's course teaches you fundamental communication skills needed to address interpersonal issues leading to powerful working relationships. Ninth House courses are dynamic, professionally produced, and engaging on-line experiences.
  • Ideas: We're All in This Together: Read Janet Zich's Stanford Business magazine article about David Bradford and his role in developing effective leadership courses at Stanford's renowned Graduate Business School. An excellent and insightful article.

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