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Influence Without Authority: Introduction

Influence Without Authority: Introduction

We’ve all experienced it: a sense of frustration when you’re accountable for delivering value without having any authority over the people that are critical to delivering that value. Whether it’s stakeholders, customers, developers, designers, there’s only so much we can do to influence and create the level of buy-in or cooperation required to create successful products.

In Influence without Authority, the authors explore ways in which we can influence others without having authority over them.


5.3K reads

The IWA Model

The IWA Model

The IWA model outlines the concept of Influence without Authority.

It highlights the key components: 

  • The currencies of exchange – The aforementioned IWA model is based on exchange and reciprocity – making trades for what you desire in return for what the other person desires.
  • Gaining clarity on your objectives – For the IWA model to work effectively, it’s important that you figure out exactly what you want, and prioritise your goals accordingly.
  • Deciding with whom to attempt exchanges – The ability to consider and decide potential allies to exchange is a critical part of the IWA model.


2.6K reads

Types Of Currencies Of Exchange

Types Of Currencies Of Exchange

  • Inspiration related currencies like vision, moral or ethical correctness and the need for excellence.
  • Task-related currencies like certain give and take of resources, challenges and assistance. It can also mean organisational support, rapid response to future problems and exchange of information.
  • Position related currencies like recognition, visibility with the CEO, reputation, importance and insider information/perks. A chance to network with the coveted people can also provide leverage.
  • Relationship related currencies like understanding, sympathy, personal support and inclusion.


2.15K reads

Personal Currencies

Personal Currencies

  • Gratitude – While gratitude may be another form of recognition or support, it is not necessarily a job-related one that can be valued highly by some people who make a point of being helpful to others.
  • Ownership/Involvement – The chance that they feel that they are partly in control of something important or have a chance to make a major contribution.
  • Self-related – These currencies cover those that are consistent with a person’s image of himself or herself.
  • Comfort – Some individuals place a high value on personal comfort.


1.52K reads

Negative Currencies

Negative Currencies

Currencies are what people value. But it is also possible to think of negative currencies, things that people do not value and wish to avoid:

  • Not giving recognition
  • Not offering support
  • Not providing challenge
  • Threatening to quit the situation
  • Raising voice, yelling
  • Refusing to cooperate when asked
  • Escalating issue upwards to common boss
  • Going public with issue, making lack of cooperation visible
  • Attacking a person’s reputation, integration
  • Retribution.


1.69K reads

Gain Clarity On Your Objectives

Gain Clarity On Your Objectives

  • What are your primary goals?
  • What personal factors get in the way?
  • Be flexible about achieving goals.
  • Adjust expectations of your role and your ally’s role.


2.32K reads

Deciding With Whom To Attempt Exchanges

Deciding With Whom To Attempt Exchanges

  • Centrality of the ally – How powerful is the other person? What resources does he or she control? How exclusive is the person’s control of those resources? How dependent are you on that person for success?
  • Amount of effort/credits needed – Do you already have a relationship with the person, or will you be starting from scratch? Is the person likely to insist on trading in currencies you do not command or cannot gain access to?
  • Alternatives available – Do you know anyone whose support will help gain the support of the potential ally?


1.43K reads



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