Power and Why It’s Good To Be The King

Caution: If you have no interest in Power….being effective, in managing yourself, or your situations, then you should stop reading right here.  There will be nothing for you here, so don’t waste your time.  

a reassuring lie
“The world is perfect. It’s a mess. It has always been a mess. We are not going to change it. Our job is to straighten out our own lives.” Joseph Campbell

Leadership starts at square one….you.  The first step is to be able to manage and direct yourself  to consistently generate the internal states required to take action in the world effectively.  Taking action in the world requires you  to manage situations and people to get what you need for yourself, and those who you are responsible to first, and the greater good, second. This is how you are wired because you are human. I acknowledge that this is more complicated than it sounds, but for all intents and purposes it is the basis for social interaction.

For Starters, Manage Yourself

The dreaded recorded phone call started, as the salesmen and the general sales manager were assembled around the speaker on the table.

“Hello New Car Sales….this is Frank Closer speaking,”  The salesman had picked up the phone on the second ring.

The slow lisping voice, which sounded laughably like Truman Capote on the other end of the call, said,  “I’m interethted in a new car……I think I want to leathe..but I want to get the betht prithe,” 

I remember thinking to myself, this is great fodder for undermining the manager’s point,. He should have picked a different call to demo. In my world he was setting himself up for a fall, and I would have to be the one to upset the balance.

He was in power and I was on the attack

I hated these training calls and so did every sales person I’ve ever met.  They were a snapshot of a moment in a salesman’s busy day that were a necessary evil, but they were evil nonetheless.

The sales manager paused the call, and asked….“what does this caller sound like he wants?”

BINGO, my straight line served up like a giant slo-mo watermelon for me to take a swing.

“He sounds like he wants a seven year-old boy.” I chimed in.

The sales force went nuts…..people had to leave the room to regain their composure. I had disrupted the solemnity of what to the sales manager was a sacred teaching moment. It took more than ten minutes for order to be restored, and it was clear my cleverness was not appreciated by “Power.”

Needless to say, when it came time to get the benefits of a an easy sale, with a big commission, handed over by the manager, I wasn’t the one at the top of the list. I paid a price. Everything comes with a cost.

This is NOT how you manage yourself to be more effective in your life, unless your goal is to make your life more difficult.

I am describing “POWER.” 

Now a lot of people shrink from the word power, because they think of power as either some kind of brutish coercion, and imposition of might regardless of right. They imagine if there is a demonstration of power, there must be a victim. I’m here to tell you that once you understand power, being powerful or being a victim to a greater extent is a choice.  I mean this in the sense that by taking responsibility for yourself, you can create a power base that can serve your needs well, if you follow a few simple steps.  If you fail to do these things you will become a victim of power.

In the past, I learned some harsh personal lessons about power, that cost me dearly.

I didn’t have the steps that could have saved me, I was like

John Cougar Mellencamp’s in his “Authority” song……

I fight authority, Authority always wins
Well, I fight authority, Authority always wins
Well, I’ve been doing it since I was a young kid
I come out grinnin’
Well, I fight authority, Authority always wins

So I call up my preacher
I say, “Give me strength for Round 5.”
He said , “You don’t need no strength, you need to grow up son.”
I said, “Growing up leads to growing old and then to dying”
“OO and dying to me don’t sound like all that much fun.”
So I said:  I fight authority, Authority always wins…….

I would use my intellect and wit to challenge power, sometimes making them look silly or exposed….guess what?  They hated it, and at the end of the day they had the ‘power’ to make my life more stressful.  It took me a long time to make peace with power, just so I could have some of it. Remember, “power” is simply, ‘taking action in the world….. able to manage situations and people so that you get what you need for yourself, and those who you are responsible to first, and the greater good second.”

Truth be told, surprisingly those with power actually have a lot less stress. It makes sense to me now…

In a recent article in the LA Times by Melissa Healy
“A new study reveals that those who sit atop the nation’s political, military, business and nonprofit organizations are actually pretty chill. Compared with people of similar age, gender and ethnicity who haven’t made it to the top, leaders pronounced themselves less stressed and anxious. And their levels of cortisol, a hormone that circulates at high levels in the chronically stressed, told the same story.
The source of the leaders’ relative serenity was pretty simple: control.”

Read the whole article later:   http://articles.latimes.com/2012/sep/24/science/la-sci-leadership-stress-20120925

“It’s good to be the king” Mel Brooks, History of the World Part 1It's Good To Be The King, Mel Brooks

Studies of cortisol levels in baboons show that alpha males have significantly lower cortisol levels and live longer than lower status males. In fact the alpha baboons spend a good part of the day harassing and provoking the lower status males for what seems to be the purpose of personal entertainment. But which served as an endless reminder of who has the power.
It seems to me, that it’s clearly better to have power than not.

In studies of organizational dynamics, it’s been discovered that people fall into three general characteristics. Where do you fit in?

Achievement-Citing results that are tangible as the primary goal
Affiliation-Putting the team and others first
Power-Noticing and playing to who has the control, and who makes the decisions, and acquiring a power base for yourself.

I have seen situations where individual were absolutely oblivious to the power dynamics around them; who wondered why they could never get ahead, or get support for their perfectly good ideas.  I always knew where the power was… but I was reckless.…I just had to learn to work it so I could have my share.

Step 1-Find the power and make friends with it.

Power exists on myriad levels. You have to come to a realization about where you are in the power dynamic, read….know that you don’t have it.
If you are in an organization, notice who gets paid attention to, if you open your eyes and ears, you will be able to discover where power resides.

First figure out who has direct power over you, find out what the agenda is at that seat of power.  If you choose this mission of discovery you must put any personal judgements aside and find out from the individual. If it’s your boss; find out what he/she believes are the two or three most important things for you to be doing. Get a hierarchy of importance if necessary.  Power loves flattery.

You might find out you’ve been focusing on something he/she doesn’t find so important. You may save for yourself time, energy, or more, and you set yourself apart from the others because you took the time to ask.

Get over the idea that you are pandering to the “dark forces,” the truth is, if you can’t recognize POWER and you don’t know the Steps To Power, you are doomed.

That’s why you have to join me at the October POI-Patterns of Influence Teleseminar

Your investment?   Right Now….just your time….

Get Power as I describe it here, and you can benefit from it

Wealth……Health….Worthwhile Relationships…..people with POWER have it all

Listen to POI-Patterns Of Influence Teleseminar for October. I will give you Four Steps To Power. For your own good….

EVENT: POI-Patterns of Influence-October 2012
DATE & TIME: Thursday, October 25th at 1:00pm Eastern
FORMAT: Simulcast! (Attend via Phone or Webcast — it’s your choice)

Dial in number: (206) 402-0100
or  Skype, add “joinconference”
Guest pin code: 178803#




All the best,


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Leave A Reply (3 comments so far)

  1. Kevin
    9 years ago

    This was a good article..

    • Mark Schwimmer
      Mark Schwimmer
      9 years ago

      Thanks Kevin, I hope you can apply this step to Power, and you listen to the Teleseminar. It will be available for replay right after the live broadcast, ifyou are unable to be there live.


  2. use it
    6 years ago

    Everything is very open with a clear clarification of the issues.
    It was definitely informative. Your website is useful.

    Many thanks for sharing!

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