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Get Them on Your Side

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Get Them on Your Side

Win Support. Convert Skeptics. Get Results.

Platinum Press,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Politically savvy leaders don`t go it alone. Build coalitions when you`re trying to implement organizational change.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative


Political savvy can shape your career in any organization. Most "politically competent" people developed their talent through extensive experience. Such competence is a difficult skill to transmit through book learning. That sums up the major shortcoming of Samuel B. Bacharach’s book. On the plus side, he provides matrices and enumerates the characteristics you need to build coalitions. He also provides extensive examples, accounting for nearly half the book, to illustrate politically wise tactics. Yet, Bacharach’s tone is occasionally professorial. His ideas about coalition building are certainly applicable, but people who are truly politically savvy will not need this book. recommends it primarily for novices - those who want to be wise corporate politicians, but aren’t yet. If you are higher up the ladder, you should already have developed your political competence - although you may appreciate the refresher course.


It’s Not the Idea; It’s the Person

Great organizations do not necessarily thrive on great ideas. Often, no one ever hears the best ideas, which may be too controversial to win broad acceptance - in contrast to mediocre ideas that have a political base. Whether people warm to an idea may depend less on the idea’s worth than on the political aptitude of its advocates. "Politically competent" advocates are realistic about the opposition and take the time to convert people to their point of view.

Political competence requires a big-picture approach. For starters, you must become aware of others’ political agendas, goals, interests and issues. Then determine the following factors:

  • Which events and actions you can control.
  • Who will resist your ideas.
  • Who will become an ally.

Politically competent leaders have the ability to develop consensus and build coalitions. In fact, regardless of an organization’s size, purpose or industry, its leaders require these skills, especially if they want to make any degree of organizational change or to introduce new ideas.

When you propose a new idea, you will invariably encounter charges that...

About the Author

Samuel B. Bacharach is a professor of organizational behavior at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. He directs Cornell’s Institute for Workplace Studies and the Smithers Institute. He is the author and editor of more than 20 books and numerous journal articles.

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