The POWER BLOG explores how power works in human relationships. We examine various analyses of power by famous power experts through the lens of our business experience. We focus on pairing powerful writing to their conclusions to achieve better individual outcomes. We hope that the POWER BLOG provides you with an advantage over your competition in today’s complicated economy.
FIRST LAW OF POWER – TED Talk lecture: “How to understand power”, by Eric Liu, Senior Law Lecturer at the University of Washington School of Law
POWER LAW #1: “power is never static”
FINAL RATIO: Because power is always shifting between people, employees can seize opportunities from their peers and even their bosses by consistently writing with power. Promotions and career success follow.
According to Eric Liu’s November 2014 Ted Talk How to Understand Power, Power is never static. It’s always either accumulating or decaying. If you aren’t taking action, you’re being acted upon.
Translation: in all human interactions, you’re either the cat or the mouse.
The first law of power applies to you whether you object to it or not. Your only choice is whether you’re the cat or the mouse. Always choose cat.
Power’s impact on you
In some relationships, power’s impact is obvious: your boss controls your work duties. In others, power’s role is less clear-cut: you and your brother appear equal, but parental favoritism or your deeper pocketbook ensure that interactions between you are tilted in one sibling’s favor. And it’s that edge that counts: in any relationship, he with the power advantage will consistently profit from the weaker party’s disadvantage.
POWER RATIO #1: in all relationships, one person will always have more power than the other. Over time, the party with more power will achieve better results at the expense of the weaker person. Always try to be the stronger party.
In some relationships, power imbalances are baked into the cake.
Business has codified power into the chain of command. Your boss has power over you, and you have power over your employees. This chain of command is fluid. Promotion, demotion, hiring, and termination all can and do occur on a regular basis (remember: power is never static).
In this fluid chain of command, some do better than others. They accrue more power, faster, than their peers (usually, this increased power takes the form of promotions. But pay raises, title changes, and enhanced responsibility are all aspects of increased employee power).
Even when they’re structurally the mouse, some employees choose to act with power, giving them an advantage over their peers.
Why promotions occur quickly for some but not for others
Promotions occur for a variety of reasons:
Of these, only your employer’s perception of you is controllable. Dressing impeccably, for instance, enhances your superiors’ opinion of your ability and therefore your value to the business. A positive corporate perception is a force multiplier to your other qualities: your ability, likeability, experience, and even the business’s need to have you in a position of responsibility all appear greater than they are.
Your image, then, matters to your success. And you control what that image is.
The science of brand image
Contemporary brand science holds that consumers make product choices unconsciously. They don’t think about their selection, weighing pros and cons. They feel that one product is right and then they buy.
Unconscious feelings triggering decisions occur in human-to-human interactions as well. Though we are not corporations, each of us projects a brand image in the mind of every person we know and interact with. Whether you get a promotion or a raise depends upon that image triggering the right feelings in your boss. Consequently, your boss’s perception of you is everything. Cultivate it carefully.
POWER RATIO #2: employer decisions are often made emotionally, in response to their perception of your controllable brand image.
In business, your brand personal image has three components. Your:
You’re stuck with your personality. But you can and should dress to maximize your success. Consistent quality clothing creates opportunity. The same is true of writing. Grammatically correct writing says you’re employable. Powerful writing announces to the world that you’re formidable, someone worthy of increased responsibility, opportunities, and promotion.
Powerful writing in the digital economy
Like it or not, the global economy is digital. Your business may use email occasionally. Or your company may be fully networked in the cloud, with different offices connecting disparate functional groups by office social media and chat clients. To some degree, we all must contend with technology in the workplace.
The emergence of digital business has inflated the importance of powerful writing. Most business communications are now text-based: email, chat, social media, application. Phone and face-to-face conversations have been systemically devalued. At the same time, the mass adoption of digital technologies has degraded our collective writing skills. We’ve become a nation of bad writers.
At the crossroads of writing’s increased importance and our collective writing-skill decline lies opportunity: powerful writing separates you from your competition. Always. Opportunity and success follow.
POWER RATIO #3: the digital economy prioritizes writing over speech, but bad writing has become the norm. Powerful writing makes you stand out from your competition, breeding opportunity and victory.
The First Law of Power dictates that power is never static. This constant shifting conceals an opportunity that others don’t see: you can seize power and opportunities from your peers by controlling promotion’s key metric, your employer’s perception of you.
FINAL RATIO: Because power is always shifting between people, employees can seize opportunities from their peers and even their bosses by consistently writing with power. Promotions and career success follow. POWER LETTERS is the world’s leading practitioner of POWER WRITING. Our mission is to help our clients accomplish their goals by securing them the Respect they need to win.
4352 Market St
#3200 Philadelphia, PA 19103
6 Split Rock Drive
Cherry Hill, NJ 4563
343 Main St
#232 Singapore, SG 67867
89 Kingstreet St
#3200 London, PObox 19103