Jeffrey Pfeffer is the Thomas D. Dee II Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University where he has taught since 1979. He is the author or co-author of 15 books including Leadership B.S.: Fixing Workplaces and Careers One Truth at a Time; Power: Why Some People Have It—and Others Don’t; The Human Equation: Building Profits by Putting People First; Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths, and Total Nonsense: Profiting from Evidence-Based Management. 

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  • “The two fundamental dimensions that distinguish people who rise to great heights and accomplish amazing things are will, the drive to take on big challenges, and skill, the capabilities required to turn ambition into accomplishment. The three personal qualities embodied are ambition, energy, and focus. The four skills useful in acquiring power are self-knowledge and a reflective mindset, confidence and the ability to project self-assurance, the ability to read others and empathize with their point of view, and a capacity to tolerate conflict.”
  • “Being memorable equals getting picked.”
  • “Measuring the wrong thing is often worse than measuring nothing because you do get what you measure.”
  • “People are seduced by and attracted to narcissists and despots and wind up voting for or working for them, frequently with bad outcomes.”
  • Break the rules — in one test, the rule breaker dropped cigarette ashes on the floor and spoke rudely to the waiter. That person was perceived to be 29% more powerful than the person who was more polite.
  • “I completely reject the idea that working adults need to be treated like infants or worse and not told the realities, harsh or not, about the world of work.”
  • Build a powerful brand — in late 2020, Laura Chau was promoted to partner at Canaan Partners, an early-stage venture capital firm. She started a podcast. It gave her the opportunity to ask women who were very senior in their careers to talk for an hour… she expanded her network. Her own status was enhanced through her association with high-status people. Then she started writing and publishing her work. This attracted people to her.
    • A brand needs coherence. Have a narrative and tell it repeatedly.
  • Love: “Kathleen, whom I met at a party in the Green Room of the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco on January 19, 1985, and married on July 23, 1986. As she would say, no algorithm would have matched us.”
    • “To the amazing Kathleen, the love of my life, whose death left a hole in my heart and soul.”
  • The 7 rules of Power are:
    1)     Get out of your own way.
    2)     Break the rules.
    3)     Show up in a powerful fashion.
    4)     Create a powerful brand.
    5)     Network relentlessly.
    6)     Use your power.
    7)     Understand that once you have acquired power, what you did to get it will be forgiven, forgotten, or both.
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