Sunday, February 6, 2011
Power Why Some People Have It And Others Don't by Jeffrey Pfeffer
Jeffrey Pfeffer is a professor of Organizational Behavior at the Graduate School of Business of Stanford University. He is writing about building power or authority inside organizations. His focus is more than politics. It is also about how to succeed at the top levels of companies or organizations.
There is focus on personal success in this book. He describes the process as much more than working hard. In fact, he shows how performance can hinder a persons career. I like his description of how personal networks are the second most important skill after technical ability. People move ahead becausue of who they know.
Parts of this book made me uncomfortable. There are descriptions of how to stand out without angering people.. This is a different approach than what I am used to.
The chapters on How To Make Something Out of Nothing and Overcome Oppositions and Setbacks made me think hard about my own career. He advises people to not look for where it is most prestigious, but look where they will succeed. The writing is quite thoughtful. It is aimed at making relationships with other people work.
I also like his description of the price of power; long hours, hard work, and loss of family and personal time. But, the author correctly points out in these days, you have to often fight just to stay in the middle.
This book describes pattersn and tools to mproave your chances of success in organizations. It is very much a career management book. Jeffrey Pfeffer uses examples from very successful people like Zia Yusuf CEO of Streetline Inc, the California politician Willie Brown, and the venture capitalist and entrepreneur Heidi Roizen. This book is worth reading if you want to understand power inside organizations.