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Winning the Influence Game: What Every Business Leader Should Know about Government Hardcover – 26 Mar 2001

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More About the Author

Michael D. Watkins is the world's leading expert on accelerating transitions. He is the Chairman of Genesis Advisers (, an executive on-boarding and transition-acceleration company located in Newton, Massachusetts. Previously he was a professor at IMD in Switzerland, INSEAD in France, the Harvard Business School, and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Dr. Watkins is author of the international bestseller THE FIRST 90 DAYS: CRITICAL SUCCESS STRATEGIES FOR NEW LEADERS AT ALL LEVELS, which the Economist recognized as "the on-boarding bible." With more than 500,000 in print, 420,000 copies sold in English, and translations in 27 languages, The First 90 Days has become the enduring classic reference for leaders in transition. Recently it was named one of the best 100 business books of all time.

A prolific writer, Dr. Watkins is the author or coauthor of numerous articles and books on leadership. His most recent publications include "Picking the Right Transition Strategy" (Harvard Business Review, January 2009), "The Three Pillars of Executive On-boarding" (Talent Management, October 2008), and Shaping the Game: The New Leader's Guide to Effective Negotiating and Predictable Surprises: The Disasters You Should Have Seen Coming and How to Avoid Them (Harvard Business School Press).

A native of Canada, Dr. Watkins received a degree in electrical engineering from the University of Waterloo, did graduate work in law and business at the University of Western Ontario, and completed his PhD in decision sciences at Harvard University.


Product Description

From the Inside Flap

In today’s new economy, business leaders are increasingly aware that government laws and regulations can determine the very viability of their businesses. The same Constitution that sets limits on government power and protects individual rights also gives federal, state, and local governments the authority to make the rules under which your business must operate. Make no mistake the key to your business’s survival could depend on your ability to influence the officials who make and enforce the rules of the game.

Winning the Influence Game is your must–have guide to navigating the morass of competing, overlapping jurisdictions and diverse legislators, regulators, and judges so you can help to shape the laws and rules that will affect your success. Here, a crackerjack author team from Harvard Business School and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government who have access to the key players on this issue reveal the latest tools, techniques, and thinking behind influencing government so businesses can take control.

This timely book presents a model that can be applied to influence games at any level of government local, state, national, or international. From diagnosing government’s impact on your business to organizing to influence to building coalitions to leveraging the power of the Internet, the authors provide specific guidelines and real–world strategies that will work for all types of businesses.

Winning the Influence Game also shares actual stories of successes and failures from recognized leaders in the field of government relations, including:

  • Washington representatives of leading companies like Pfizer and International Paper
  • Leading professional lobbyists and consultants
  • CEOs who have been active in government relations such as Vice President Dick Cheney (formerly of Haliburton) and Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill (formerly of Alcoa)
  • Officials in legislative and executive branches, including the lead counsel for the Senate Banking Committee

Don’t be a victim of damaging laws play the game to win. And exercise your rights before someone else changes the rules.

From the Back Cover

Play the game to win

"More and more CEOs are discovering that managing one’s business environment is as important as managing operations, finance, and sales. Winning the Influence Game explains how a strategic government relations program can make a major impact on that environment at the federal, state, and local levels." Douglas G. Pinkham, President, Public Affairs Council

"A useful, detailed handbook that should find itself on the desktop or at the bedside of every business leader. These are the skills that every business leader needs to succeed in the increasingly complex and rapidly changing globalized economy in which they operate and to gain competitive advantage for their company’s future." Ira Jackson, Director, Center for Business and Government, John F. Kennedy School of Government

"Winning the Influence Game provides an excellent overview for the corporate leader of how government can impact the bottom line both positively and negatively. The clear, concise, and practical manner in which the book is organized and information provided makes it an extremely useful resource to those charged with the responsibility of creating an effective government relations program." Margery Kraus, President and CEO, APCO Worldwide

Inside This Book

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 6 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Solid Theory Combined With Practical Application 22 April 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book is essential reading for anyone needing to implement and manage corporate strategy in a rapidly changing economy. The authors provide a well-informed and interesting perspective on how to navigate government relations while maintaining a competitive advantage. This is an important contribution to current management theory that provides ample food for thought, as well as solid recommendations for practical application. Interesting, focused, well written and useful!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
An essential book for anyone who manages a business 3 April 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book does a great job of explaining that why understanding government is key to the strategy of any company. The authors provide concrete, practical advice on how to incorporate good government relations practices into your corporate strategy. As a former CEO I found this book to be well written, clear and very relevant to today's bisiness world.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Superb 3 May 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Too many leaders, focused on starting or expanding businesses, think that markets and competition exist in a vacuum. This very insightful book reminds us that the background of government regulation is also make-or-break. The authors' insights and strategies are intellectually well-grounded, yet oriented to someone who has to apply them in the real world. A must have.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Essential Reading for Success in the New-Economy 23 April 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book is absolutely essential reading for anyone working to develop and sustain business success in a global marketplace that is increasingly subject to governmental regulations. An excellent balance of sound theory and practical application that make this well-written and interesting book a worthwhile investment.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Insightful! 8 Feb. 2002
By Rolf Dobelli - Published on
Format: Hardcover
If you've ever wanted to be part of a special interest group or a corporate lobbying machine, but didn't know where to start, experts Michael Watkins, Mickey Edwards and Usha Thakrar have written a handbook for you. The authors write intelligently and provide information in great detail with no fluff. We [...] recommend this book to those in business and organizations of all sizes who are - or should be - playing the influence game.
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