Pfeffer’s book, Sutton says, provides empirically sound steps (often based on his own research) about how people who want power should identify the most powerful people and groups, and try to court them, as well as engaging in a host of other behaviours Sutton says he has rarely seen Pfeffer display.
So Sutton asked his friend why he writes about the many ways to gain power without using most of them in his own life. Pfeffer reply was along the lines of: “You can have influence or you can have freedom, but you can't have both. I prefer freedom, my book is for people who prefer to have a lot of influence in an organization."
“Indeed, a key implication of Jeff's research is that if you want to have power, you need to spend your life around lots of other people, often people you don't necessarily like or would choose to socialize with otherwise, and to constantly be thinking of ways to wield influence over them to your advantage,” Sutton writes.
For many CIOs, of course, the choice is far from simple. A degree of freedom remains a distant dream, but CIOs know that any attempt to be effective as a CIO without having a great deal of influence would be a nonsense. If getting things done means courting people they dislike, that is the price they must pay. Perhaps freedom will have to wait until they retire.
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