The paths to power: How to grow your influence and advance your career | Jeffrey Pfeffer (Stanford)

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The paths to power: How to grow your influence and advance your career | Jeffrey Pfeffer (Stanford)

Jeffrey’s background (00:00:00)

  • Jeffrey Pfeffer is a professor of organizational behavior at Stanford's Graduate School of Business.
  • He teaches one of the two most popular courses in the MBA program called "The Paths to Power".
  • His recent book, "The Seven Rules of Power", provides practical advice on building power and advancing one's career.
  • Get out of your own way: Don't let your own beliefs or fears prevent you from pursuing power.
  • Break the rules: Don't be afraid to challenge the status quo and do things differently.
  • Show up in a powerful fashion: Dress and act in a way that commands respect and authority.
  • Create a powerful brand: Develop a strong personal brand that reflects your expertise and value.
  • Network relentlessly: Build and maintain relationships with influential people.
  • Use your power: Once you have power, use it wisely and ethically to achieve your goals.
  • Understand that once you've acquired power, what you did to get there will be forgiven or forgotten: Don't worry about the methods you used to gain power, as long as you use it for good.
  • Building power is essential for career advancement and personal success.
  • Power allows you to get things done and achieve your goals.
  • Power can be used for good or for evil, so it's important to use it ethically.
  • Building power is not about being manipulative or ruthless, but about developing the skills and strategies that will help you succeed.
  • Start by identifying your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Develop a plan to build on your strengths and overcome your weaknesses.
  • Network with influential people and build relationships.
  • Be visible and let people know what you're capable of.
  • Be willing to take risks and step outside of your comfort zone.
  • Don't be afraid to ask for what you want.

Understanding discomfort with power (00:02:54)

  • Political skill is associated with positive outcomes such as salary, promotions, happiness in career and job, and reduced stress.
  • The realities of acquiring power differ significantly from moral or ethical teachings.
  • People who have acquired power may use it for negative purposes, but this does not negate the usefulness of power itself.

Power skills for underrepresented groups (00:04:56)

  • Underrepresented groups face challenges in rising up the ranks and need to develop power skills to succeed.
  • The NFL is working to create more opportunities for underrepresented minorities and recognizes the importance of power skills for their success.

The popularity and challenges of Jeffrey’s class at Stanford (00:07:51)

  • The class is extremely popular and has a long waiting list.
  • Some students find the material difficult and uncomfortable.
  • The class is not for everyone, and students should be open to learning the material to benefit from it.
  • Making judgments about others can hinder building positive relationships.
  • It is important to suspend judgment and focus on common goals when working with others.
  • Senior executives have mastered the skill of not revealing their thoughts about others.
  • Leaking negative feelings about someone can damage productivity and collaboration.

The seven rules of power (00:12:21)

  • Get out of your own way.
  • Break the rules.
  • Appear powerful.
  • Build a powerful brand.
  • Network relentlessly.
  • Use your power and success.
  • Excuses almost everything.

Success stories from his course (00:13:03)

  • Students are required to complete assignments called "doing power" to put the principles of the class into practice.
  • One student, Derek Khan, was appointed to be Mitt Romney's head of economic policy for the Romney campaign in 2012.
  • Khan turned down the job and later became number three in the transportation department working for Elaine Chao.
  • At the end of the Trump Administration, Khan was the deputy director of The Office of Management and Budget, essentially running the $6 trillion US budget.

Building a personal brand (00:15:43)

  • To advance your career, it is essential to build a personal brand that differentiates you from others.
  • Building a personal brand involves making yourself known, showcasing your skills, and creating value for others through networking, contributing to your field, and creating content like podcasts or articles.
  • While visibility is important, it must be accompanied by substance to be effective.
  • Strategic self-presentation, such as intentional dressing and speaking, can enhance your personal brand.
  • Amplifying the impact of your team rather than focusing solely on self-promotion can be a successful strategy for career advancement.
  • Sharing knowledge and pointing people to resources can significantly increase your influence and scale your impact.

The paths to power: How to grow your influence and advance your career (00:00:00)

  • Power is the ability to get things done.
  • Power is not the same as authority.
  • Power is not the same as influence.
  • Power is not the same as leadership.
  • Power is not the same as charisma.
  • Power is not the same as popularity.
  • Power is not the same as wealth.
  • Power is not the same as status.
  • Power is not the same as success.
  • Power is not the same as happiness.
  • Personal power:
    • Expertise
    • Experience
    • Education
    • Skills
    • Knowledge
    • Reputation
    • Credibility
    • Trustworthiness
  • Positional power:
    • Title
    • Rank
    • Authority
    • Control over resources
    • Control over information
    • Control over decisions
  • Network power:
    • Connections
    • Relationships
    • Alliances
    • Friendships
    • Mentors
    • Sponsors
  • Coercive power:
    • Force
    • Intimidation
    • Threats
    • Punishment
  • Legitimate power:
    • Laws
    • Regulations
    • Policies
    • Procedures
    • Norms
    • Values
  • Increase your personal power:
    • Develop your expertise.
    • Gain experience.
    • Get a good education.
    • Acquire skills.
    • Build your knowledge.
    • Establish your reputation.
    • Become credible.
    • Be trustworthy.
  • Increase your positional power:
    • Get a higher title.
    • Get a higher rank.
    • Gain more authority.
    • Get control over more resources.
    • Get control over more information.
    • Get control over more decisions.
  • Increase your network power:
    • Build relationships.
    • Make friends.
    • Find mentors.
    • Find sponsors.
    • Join alliances.
  • Increase your coercive power:
    • Use force.
    • Use intimidation.
    • Make threats.
    • Use punishment.
  • Increase your legitimate power:
    • Follow the laws.
    • Follow the regulations.
    • Follow the policies.
    • Follow the procedures.
    • Follow the norms.
    • Follow the values.
  • Use your power to help others.
  • Use your power to make a difference.
  • Use your power to create a better world.
  • Don't use your power for personal gain.
  • Don't use your power to hurt others.
  • Don't use your power to destroy.

Getting out of your own way (00:21:11)

  • People often shy away from power because it makes them uncomfortable.
  • Imposter syndrome can prevent people from achieving their full potential.
  • People should not apologize for their accomplishments or doubt their abilities.
  • Worrying too much about being liked can limit one's power.
  • Prioritize competence and respect over being liked.

Breaking the rules to gain power (00:26:04)

  • Breaking the rules makes you stand out and memorable.
  • Rules are made by those who benefit from them, so breaking them can be disruptive and lead to success.
  • To be successful, do things that play to your strengths and make you stand out.
  • Don't be afraid to ask for help; overestimating how many people you'll need to ask and discomfort are common, but asking for help is often effective.
  • Jason Kakanis is an example of someone who consistently breaks the rules and has achieved great power and wealth.
    • He makes many small bets instead of a few big ones, runs a lean operation, and has no partners.
    • His background in journalism helped him gain knowledge and insight into the internet industry.

Networking relentlessly (00:30:34)

  • Networking is crucial for gaining knowledge, connections, and ideas, which are essential for success and power.
  • The key principle of networking is generosity - focus on helping others rather than seeking personal gain.
  • A broader social network increases the likelihood of knowing helpful individuals.
  • Networking can occur both within and outside one's company.
  • Reach out to senior or successful individuals, as they may be willing to assist.
  • Genuine connections and relationships are more valuable than superficial interactions.
  • To advance your career, build a strong network by identifying key people in your field and connecting them with others who can mutually benefit.
  • The more extensive your network, the greater the opportunities and power you will have.
  • Building a strong network requires time and effort but yields long-term rewards.

Why Jeffrey says to “pursue weak ties” (00:40:10)

  • Building ties with people different from you increases the likelihood of learning non-redundant information and meeting new people.
  • Mark Granovetter's study on job seekers in Massachusetts found that jobs obtained through network referrals were better, especially when referred by people who were not particularly close.
  • These individuals had a unique perspective on the job market that others lacked due to their different positions.

Using your power to build more power (00:42:00)

  • Using power can create a self-perpetuating growth of power.
  • Mobilizing resources and achieving results attracts more resources and opportunities.
  • Demonstrating power can lead others to follow your lead.
  • People are naturally drawn to power, which can influence political outcomes.

The importance of appearance and body language (00:44:34)

  • People respond mostly to how people look, secondarily to how they sound, and least to the content of what they say.
  • Tall people and attractive people (up to an optimal level) earn more money.
  • Tony Hayward of BP and Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs were judged based on their physical appearance alone, and people could correctly predict who would keep their job and who would lose it.
  • Body language and appearance are skills that can be mastered.

Mastering the art of presentation (00:47:15)

  • Networking and showing up are essential skills for increasing power and influence.
  • Certain behaviors can convey power, such as maintaining eye contact, avoiding apologies, using more gestures, adopting an open body posture, and speaking in a louder voice.
  • Invading personal space and appearing knowledgeable and in control can also project power.
  • Humor can be a powerful tool for conveying messages effectively.
  • Practice and coaching are crucial for improvement, and pushing oneself out of one's comfort zone is necessary for growth.
  • Carol Robin's 15% rule suggests pushing oneself 15% beyond one's comfort zone for optimal growth.

Examples of homework assignments that Jeffrey gives students (00:55:12)

  • Asks students to set goals for the class and what they want to achieve.
  • Asks students to read from the book "Power" and rate themselves on seven attributes of power, then create a development plan.
  • Asks students to create resources that will give them leverage, such as creating awards or writing a personal brand statement.
  • Asks students to network and act with power, such as creating a video and getting feedback on it.
  • Asks students to write a personal brand statement and get feedback on it.
  • One student said they got more useful feedback from this class than any other class they took combined.
  • People tend to forget the negative actions or flaws of individuals once they acquire power.
  • Examples:
    • Lindsey Graham's transformation from criticizing Trump to becoming his supporter for political relevance.
    • Bill Gates' success despite accusations of stealing code for Microsoft.
    • Jeffrey Epstein's continued social connections despite sex offense convictions.
    • Martha Stewart's successful brand despite serving time in jail.
  • The belief in homeostasis is a myth; life is actually self-fulfilling.
  • If others perceive you as powerful, you become more powerful.
  • If others perceive you as powerless, you end up with almost no power.
  • Therefore, negative actions or flaws are forgotten and forgiven in the pursuit of power.

More good people need to have power (01:03:58)

  • The author initially intended to write a book about Donald Trump's success but realized people wouldn't want to emulate him.
  • Laura Esman, a highly intelligent and accomplished student, struggled to gain traction in her field due to her unwillingness to engage in certain behaviors discussed in the book.
  • After the author's advice to adapt her approach, Esman reduced friction and went on to win numerous awards and make significant changes in the medical field.
  • The author emphasizes the importance of good people acquiring power to effect positive change, as change often requires challenging entrenched interests.
  • Esman's determination and persistence in pursuing her goals, despite resistance, is highlighted.
  • Jeffrey Pfeffer's seven rules of power include:
    • Removing self-imposed obstacles.
    • Breaking the rules.
    • Making a powerful impression.
    • Creating a strong personal brand.
    • Relentless networking.
    • Utilizing acquired power.
    • Recognizing that past actions are forgiven or forgotten once power is obtained.

The price of power and autonomy (01:10:49)

  • Power and autonomy are inversely related; one can have power or autonomy, but not both.
  • Autonomy allows for more control over one's time and life, while power comes with great visibility and scrutiny.
  • People in positions of power face the trust dilemma, where it becomes difficult to discern whether others are associating with them for genuine reasons or due to their position.
  • The speaker offers a class on the price of power, exploring the potential drawbacks and consequences of seeking power.
  • Rudy Giuliani's former New York Schools Chancellor, Rudy Crew, shared stories about Giuliani's daughter, Lauren, who held various leadership positions.
  • Lauren's response about the impact of her father's career on their family moved the audience to tears, highlighting the personal sacrifices and challenges faced by families of influential individuals.

A homework assignment for you (01:17:13)

  • To enhance your career, step outside your comfort zone and seek guidance from mentors or coaches.
  • Build a personal board of directors or support network for guidance, accountability, and social support.
  • Invest in skill development and education, but ensure you apply what you learn.
  • Visit Jeffrey Pfeffer's website, JeffreyPfeffer.com, for resources like books, articles, and online courses.
  • Focus on building relationships, networks, and expertise to grow your influence and advance your career.
  • Make strategic career choices, take calculated risks, and continuously learn to stay relevant.
  • Seek mentors and sponsors for guidance, support, and growth opportunities.
  • Take ownership of your professional development and proactively manage your career.

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