Influencing Powerful People : Engage and Command the Attention of the Decision-Makers to Get What You Need to Succeed


Influence the Influencers in Your Life

"I've known Dirk Schlimm for years, and observed with admiration his ability to work effectively with powerful people while sustaining his own core values. His topic is important, and his experience has given him a deep practical wisdom."

—Jim Collins, author, Good to Great

"For every 'powerful person' who has influenced history, there are three or four people behind the ...

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Influencing Powerful People : Engage and Command the Attention of the Decision-Makers to Get What You Need to Succeed

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Influence the Influencers in Your Life

"I've known Dirk Schlimm for years, and observed with admiration his ability to work effectively with powerful people while sustaining his own core values. His topic is important, and his experience has given him a deep practical wisdom."

—Jim Collins, author, Good to Great

"For every 'powerful person' who has influenced history, there are three or four people behind the scenes without whom history would never have changed. Vision and drive for implementation are never enough. Dirk Schlimm's book is about how to accomplish the work of real change in the real world by doing the hard work that rarely gets noticed."

—Governor Howard Dean, Chairman Emeritus, The Democratic National Committee

"Influencing Powerful People provides invaluable insights into this dynamic—insights that will assist anyone to be more effective and successful."

—Peter Jewett, Chair, Corporate Department, Torys LLP

About the Book

Dealing with powerful people can be intimidating. Many of them have reached the height of achievement through a combination of charm, confidence, and rilliance, and they certainly deserve our dmiration and respect. More than likely, owever, they also succeeded as a result of their relentless drive and, in the process, developed reputations for being intense, demanding, and temperamental. How do you keep up with such individuals, gain their confidence, contribute to their enterprise, and ensure that your ideas count?

Influencing Powerful People provides you with the tools you need to connect and get results with key influencers and decision makers—chief executives, department heads, supervisors, and anyone else in a position of authority. Author Dirk Schlimm, who has frontline experience working with "larger-than-life" leaders, provides sixteen proven rules for working successfully with the powerful people in your life—whether your boss, client, partner, associate, or international counterpart. These rules include:

  • Adopt the role of a "helper"
  • Counter ego with humility
  • Appreciate who they are and what they do
  • Do the things they can't
  • Become an effective counterweight

It's not about giving up your values or telling them what they want to hear—in fact, what powerful people need most often is your loyalty and unbiased perspective. It's about learning to build a relationship and communicating in a way that gets their attention. It's about strategically managing and adapting your everyday behavior so that the powerful people in your life gain confidence in you, appreciate your contribution, and listen to you when charting their course.

No matter what your level in an organization, Influencing Powerful People holds the key to ensuring that you make an impact, earn respect, and progress to even greater achievement and responsibility.

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  • Influencing Powerful People
    Influencing Powerful People  

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780071752862
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing
  • Publication date: 3/9/2011
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 1,404,141
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Dirk Schlimm is a corporate director, an executive coach, and the principal of Jenoir Management Consultants. He serves as an adviser to business owners and executives and works with senior leadership teams around the world to increase their alignment and effectiveness. Schlimm, who previously worked as an executive at Husky Injection Molding Systems, has interacted with such powerful leaders as Peter Drucker and Howard Dean.

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Read an Excerpt


Engage and Command the Attention of the Decision Makers to Get What You Need to Succeed


The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Copyright © 2011Dirk Schlimm
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-07-175286-2


<h2>CHAPTER 1</h2> <p><b>Get Ready for a Potent Mix of Brilliance and Drive</p> <br> <p>Tenacity and perseverance are the way to success.</b></p> <p>—Ted rogers, founder and CEO, Rogers communications</p> <br> <p>If you want to learn how to influence powerful people, you must first understand where their power comes from. It is way too simple to assume that power is simply conferred by position. Within any business organization or government, there may be people with impressive-sounding titles who are mere figureheads. Others may hold unassuming positions yet wield great power; you must have them on your side if you want to get anywhere or move ahead with your priorities.</p> <p>In that regard, there is much to learn from larger-than-life characters who did not simply have position bestowed on them, but made it to the top while others—who might have had equal potential—fell by the wayside. When you then deal with the powerful person in your specific circumstance, it will be wise to assume that these qualities are present at least in some measure.</p> <br> <p><b>Brilliance</b></p> <p>A few years back, I worked with a senior political staffer who was incredibly adept at making things happen through influence. His first insight to help him do his job was that his boss, a U.S. governor, was smarter than he was. That assumption served him extremely well. It reflected great humility and unbiased assessment of reality.</p> <p>A review of the accomplishments of larger-than-life characters easily reveals that many of them are indeed brilliant and that this quality has contributed in no small measure to their rise to power. What makes these "geniuses" especially powerful is that they have much more than just technical or subject-matter expertise. From the basis of knowing their business inside and out, they are able to derive unique insight and intuition regarding the development of an entire industry. This insight can even extend further to become a catalyst for change that affects global business, society, and culture at large. The following are but a few examples:</p> <p>>> Ferdinand Piëch, the chairman of auto giant Volkswagen, may not have inherited the last name of his famous grandfather Ferdinand Porsche, but he is nonetheless an exceptionally gifted car designer. From a very early age, his life revolved around automobiles. Piëch can sketch a complete engine or drive system in freehand, and his design innovations on a napkin are reported to be many. Unlike most engineers and designers today, he certainly does not need a CAD (computer-aided design) workstation. Piëch is equally skilled at orchestrating the high-stakes acquisition and turnaround strategies that have propelled Volkswagen to become one of the world's largest car companies with the ongoing ambition to take the top spot from rival Toyota.</p> <p>>> Steve Jobs, cofounder and chief executive of Apple, is, of course, the brilliant inventor of Apple's many computers and gadgets, the latest revelation of which is always a highly anticipated occasion. Jobs is a master at design and has an incredible ability not just to package products but also to reinvent the way they are used—the ultimate fusion of form and function. Beyond that, the business press around the world ascribes huge cultural influence to Steve Jobs, as when <i>Fortune</i> crowned him CEO of the decade. The German weekly <i>Der Spiegel</i> writes that, as the "philosopher of the 21st century," Jobs has convinced humankind that Apple products make their lives (and modern life at large) cool and easy. In fact, he has made us "want to need" his products. We need an iMac desktop for the office, a MacBook for the road, an iPod for jogging, an iPad for education, and an iPhone to stay connected. We couldn't imagine life without these devices.</p> <p>>> In the world of publishing, Rupert Murdoch, the creator, chairman and managing director of media juggernaut News Corporation, perfected the art of tabloid journalism and knows how to make newspapers profitable. While being incredibly hands-on, Murdoch also was the first to develop the vision for expanding news delivery beyond a single medium (in his case, the newspaper) and created a multisource news corporation. The takeover of the venerated <i>Wall Street Journal</i> was probably his most triumphant achievement as a deal maker. Lately, Rupert Murdoch has taken the lead in revisiting the practice of free news content delivery over the Internet.</p> <p>>> Conrad Black, whose media empire once included the <i>Chicago Sun-Times</i>, Britain's <i>Daily Telegraph</i>, and the <i>Jerusalem Post</i> and who remains embroiled in an epic battle with the U.S. judicial system, remains known for his tremendous intellect. His command of the English language is legendary, as is his incrediblle on-the-spot brilliance and encyclopedic knowledge of world history and current affairs. His biographer Richard Siklos wrote of a mmmmeeting with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at which Lord Black was easily able to enlighten the head of the Tories on the nineteenth-century history of her party. He did it without any sort of preparation and simply based on his vast knowledge at hand, all the while conversing in a pleasant and fascinating manner. That was no easy feat at all and left an impression on Thatcher.</p> <p>>> Frank Stronach, the Austrian-Canadian chairman of auto parts powerhouse Magna International, proves that innovation and change leadership can be just as effective in established (some may say old) hardware-oriented industries. A tool-and-die maker by trade, he built his auto parts empire outward from its North American roots and continued to thrive while the former Big Three carmakers found themselves mired in a fight for survival. Most notably, he understood early on that automotive industry leadership was not just a matter of racing to lower costs; rather, the industry needed low cost <i>and</i> innovation. Therefore, Stronach continued to invest in research and development while others only cut costs. His simple yet extremely powerful mantra is to deliver "a better product at a better price."</p> <br> <p>What makes these geniuses so powerful is not ground-level expertise or vision. It is the fact that they have both; they are equally capable of and comfortable with micromanaging and dreaming up a large-scale, big-picture vision.</p> <br> <p><b>Sometimes the Genius Is Alone</b></p> <p>However, the genius's vision is not always obvious to those who are supposed to follow. In fact, powerful people can find themselves alone with the pursuit of an idea yet be unprepared to give it up. An episode involving Ted Rogers illustrates the point. Ted Rogers was the founder, chief executive officer, and controlling shareholder of Rogers Communications, one of Canada's largest media conglomerates and communications companies; he has been described as "Canada's version of Steve Jobs." In the early 1980s, Rogers Cablesystems, the forerunner of Rogers Communicat

Excerpted from INFLUENCING POWERFUL PEOPLE by DIRK SCHLIMM. Copyright © 2011 by Dirk Schlimm. Excerpted by permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Foreword Lawrence Tapp xi

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction xvii

Rule 1 Get Ready for a Potent Mix of Brilliance and Drive 1

Rule 2 Know How to Manage the Supremely Confident 15

Rule 3 Master the Art of First Impressions 33

Rule 4 Know What You Are Doing 47

Rule 5 Save Energy for When It Counts 63

Rule 6 Practice Humility 77

Rule 7 Show Appreciation 89

Rule 8 Sidestep Power with Diplomacy 105

Rule 9 Guard Your Independence 119

Rule 10 Get Results 135

Rule 11 Cover Their Weaknesses 151

Rule 12 Facilitate the Impact of Raw Power 161

Rule 13 Advise Those Who Like to Act 175

Rule 14 Know When (and Whether) to Put On the Brakes-if You Can 187

Rule 15 Coach with Caution 199

Rule 16 Use Your Own Power Well 213

A Final Rule: Powerful People Need People Who Don't Need Them 225

Notes 227

Index 243

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