Power & Politics Revisited

I once gave a at the NY Speech Communication Association about the practice of power and politics in small groups. It was not based on The Prince (Machiavelli). My main point was that although the group leader has the organizational power in the small group setting, the leader needs political skills to rein in members who have the power to derail stated group objectives. “Because I said so,” doesn’t work.

I ran though a list of typical counterproductive attitudes that can make a group effort a minefield and tactics a leader can use to discover and disarm objections. Mine was a gentle treatment because I couldn’t stomach the notion that hard-line politics would operate in a “friendly” small group.

Several years later, Robert Greene published his blockbuster book, The 48 Laws of Power. I read reviews, but not the book, because the book seemed to be a rehash of Machiavelli, who I thought was cynical and beyond the pale of everyman’s daily challenges in today’s world.

That was then, when I when I was a goody-goody. I also thought Mark Twain and P.T. Barnum, among others, were edgy.

My perspective has changed. I now think it’s wise to go out into the jungle of civilization armed to the teeth with hard-nosed survival tactics, just in case. I still like to think Greene’s laws are overkill, yet, the places I laughed hardest are the ones I sat back to think about, hardest.

I heartily recommend that The 48 Laws of Power be standard reading. My question: Am I the only one who sees not-so-amusing parallels in U.S. politics today? Knowing how to create the illusions is key to thwarting their ability to influence you.




How do other designers work?

LinkedIn gave members a rare opportunity this week to experience the courses at lynda.com. Timing couldn’t have been better – I needed something to think about while sitting with my husband while his hip replacement mends. I got hooked on listening to designers talk through their thought processes.

My favorite section for intriguing insights is the series of critiques by John McWade, Before and After. He runs right in line with a class I’m watching on creativelive.com right now, Thinking Like A Book Designer, by Jessica Helfand and Michael Beirut.

One that I didn’t realize would interest me is about animation from the perspective of film makers. (A couple of the design courses referred to film techniques as a source of stoy-telling inspiration.)  The Creative Spark: Between Two Worlds, The Hybrid Animation of Tiny Inventions – Film.

Acquire More Customers, Webinar by Neil Patel

Online Marketing:

Neil Patel presents a selection of great information from his Advanced Customer Acquisition program in a free webinar. I don’t know how long it will be available. He discusses tactics for attracting new customers, managing customer relationships and using new online tools to measure your effectiveness. (The full program is a 45-module course on special price for webinar attendees.)

I don’t know Neil Patel. I follow him on LinkedIn and subscribe to his e-mail news. His insights are always fresh and helpful for marketers operating in the current online milieu, which is different than it was even three years ago.

If you haven’t been keeping up systematically since we left off, there is more to learn about the marketing craft.

Go here for the webinar: http://neilpatel.com/

You’re welcome.


P.S. Pay attention to aesthetics and presentation style, too.