Before listing the key items of gaining power, it’s of vital importance to know the “why” – why do you want to learn this knowledge and skill set? There are two distinct groups of people – one group fervently championing the idea of gaining power, regarding Machiavelli as a full-correct guider, the inhuman dictator -Stalin- is one of them; while the other holding nonchalant attitude toward, if not looking down on, those power game players or maneuvers.
I am one of the staunchest members of the latter group because I firmly believe the whole society of human beings are better and better every day because there are great people who really work hard with talent to keep discovering law of nature and producing abundant food, materials, arts – all sorts of concrete products to make our life nowadays less suffered and much happier than in primitive age. Hats off to people like Newton, Einstein, Nicola Tesla, Steve Jobs, Larry Page… What really matters is what do you bring to others, it is not to use the brainpower to manipulate and get ahead of other people, to seize a larger share of a pie, but do nothing to make the whole piece of the pie bigger. That’s why no matter how socially sophisticated primate animals like chimpanzees are able to function in a hierarchy structure, they are still just a bunch of animals today.
Thanks to the internet technology and disrupters such as Uber, Airbnb, Alibaba, the first time in human history, it is possible that individuals can run autonomously and get paid by clients directly. Backed by the fully-automated data and tech infrastructure provided by high-tech, individuals do not have to affiliate with a union-like corporate entity to obtain income. They can work with both Uber and Lyft and maybe more. We all feel the greater service level from these independent drivers and how more motivated they are that they don’t have to report to their supervisors for their performance review. In the future, not only car drivers are decentralized, we can foresee a lot, if not all, of the disciplines, will be disrupted following this footprint. CNBC news hosts will be replaced by self-hosts on social media, authors don’t have to be controlled by the publisher as they can publish their intangible products through e-printing provided by Amazon, or just simply create a self – app, self- blog…
The trend is ongoing and irreversible. The whole world is in a rapid transition period, that people will be paid more on an objective, individual-based contribution rather than on a power game mechanism in corporations and institutions. So we’d better keep honing in hard-core skill set to be able to deliver really-needed products/services. These missions include noble projects by Elon Musk to colonize the Mar, by Google to make human beings live forever, and of course, also include mundane needs stated by Jack Ma at Alibaba to make the trading crossing borderlines of every country…
All being said, we have to face the reality that at current time point in human evolutionary history, this world is still prevailed by the old-fashioned, corporate-based structure, meaning, most likely, you still have to be measured by a few key people – your boss, your boss’s boss regarding your performance, hence how much you get paid or promoted. The essence of working in a company -no matter how many times you are deceived by the “managers” – is NOT that you are working for the clients, the truth is you are working for the people giving you a performance review. And their goal is not to service the end clients either, their goal is to please their supervisors so on and so forth. The end user’s voice hardly gets into the metrics. How can you trust a human being to be able to judge your performance of servicing clients in an objective and fair way?! Human beings are emotional, biased and always trying to aggrandize themselves. True great CEOs are able to line up the goal of employees to service clients. Jack Welch listed this as the core element of leadership. But we have to recognize that there are very few such leaders.
Therefore, It is of vital importance to us – who still live in a corporate structured working place – to learn the method of listing on gaining power.
The steps are simple and pragmatical:
1. Ask for it. You know how many true nice and modest people never ask what they deserve, while greedy and shameless ones rise up quickly just because they asked.
2. Resource providing, this has another less-favored name in politics called ‘rent-seeking’, the official definition of which in Investopedia is “the use of the resources of a company, an organization or an individual to obtain economic gain from others without reciprocating any benefits to society through wealth creation”. We despise this. It’s not right. However, it is human nature that you need to give favor to certain people for a future reimbursement implicitly. It is well educated by the movie “godfather”, in which, even the morgue owner knows he has to pay back “respect” when the time comes.
3. Plan out relationship work as if you plan your other real work. No pay no gain, if you don’t’ spare any time to think and plan how to weave your relationship net, no way you can gain allies to increase your power. There are two types of relationships, weak relationship such as professional friends usually help you upper your business/ rung in the hierarchy ladder, while strong relationship provides you backbone and strength.
4. Practice to always speak in a set stage elevating your status – don’t’ answer other people’s questions right away, don’t’ nod all the time in an obsequious way, do easily interrupt others, challenge the premise of other people’s statement, always take the control of conversational pace on your end.
4. Practice being great at performing and speaking, always carry yourself as confident and in control.
5. Establish reputation extremely intentionally and attentively. Exalt positive feedbacks, reports, press releases; attenuate or wipe out the negative ones. It’s OK to have imperfect spots, even if disadvantageous, so to make others like you more as people all like “imperfect” stars, however, never make the imperfect spots be fatally unacceptable.
6. Prepare jokes, personal stories to have conversations with others easily.