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5.0 out of 5 stars A great roadmap to make ideas and leadership happen!, 20 Aug. 2012
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This review is from: Get Them On Your Side: Win Support, Convert Skeptics, Get Results (Paperback)
Occasionally I come across a very good book that has stayed under the radar. For one reason or another, this book did not become a bestseller while it fully deserves to be one.

We all had good ideas, and we all have seen some of our ideas (or ideas of colleagues) been blocked in organizations. The reason is straightforward as a good idea (or project) is not enough. You need political competence to bring it, to keep it alive and to go to the very end with it.

This "politically competent leadership" process is illustrated in 3 steps: by mapping the political terrain, to get them on your side and to make things happen. This process gets very clearly explained and some "real life" situations have been nicely sandwiched between for further illustration.

The positive element of this book is that it finally covers an important element of leadership: being able to get your ideas across and executed in an efficient and effective way. This is an excellent read for leaders, managers, and certainly project managers (managers leading by influence). It is a down to earth description on how to get people onboard from start to finish. It is written in a very realistic and positive manner as everybody has his own agenda (agendas that might match fully, in parts or not at all with your agenda).

Sure, some topics covered here might come across familiar, still the author covers the strategic, tactical and coalition leadership extremely well from A to Z (including obvious benefits but also the risks and pitfalls for each step of the process).

The negative element of this book is that it uses a classic 2x2 matrix to map agendas (what are the goals of others - tinkering or overhauling, what are the approaches of others - improvising or planning). It is understandable why the author uses this 2x2 matrix as a starting point, still it is assumed here that everybody follows a logic agenda.

It is clear that agendas of certain people can be irrational, with thinking errors or being plain destructive (lose/lose interactions). To illustrate his further: Kessler et al. (1994) claims even that about 30 percent of all adults have a major psychiatric disorder at any given point of time. In organizations these numbers are probably a bit lower, still 30 percent in a population is a very large number to start with.

Although the 2x2 matrix used by the author is a very good starting point (with all its limitations), it can be helpful to include insights like from Patricia Pitchers (The drama of leadership). It is worthwhile to mention that Jeffrey Pfeffer and Manfred Kets De Vries covered similar topics (on power, on irrational individual and organizational behavior).

If you are interested in people, project or change management, effective and efficient leadership (versus wanting to be right) this is an excellent well written roadmap to make ideas happen!

Contents:
Acknowledgements
Introduction

Part I: Map the political terrain
1.Anticipate reaction
2.Analyze goals and approaches
3.Understand agendas
4.Identify allies and resistors

Part II: Get them on your side
5.Create your coalition
6.Establish your credibility
7.Get initial support
8.Justify your action

Part III: Make things happen
9.Get the buy-in
10.Put your ideas in place
11.Lead the coalition

Conclusion - The politically competent leader
Index
Relevant reading
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Location: Belgium

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