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On Power and Negotiating Like an FBI Agent

In a fascinating interview with economist Hélène Rey, she states that we are able to make eerily accurate predictions about the rise of crises.

However, the signals are ignored because they go against the short-term interests of those who are currently profiting the most from the status quo.

This is a recurring dilemma. The "system" is often set up in such a way that a small group of stakeholders has a disproportionate amount of influence on the situation: Power.

So, even when you propose a change in which you can argue that you are "right", that doesn't have to mean you'll get your way if it clashes with the interests of those in power.

That is why it is important for you as a change agent to not only develop yourself in the content, but also in how you get your message across. It is not enough to come up with the right insights, you also need to understand how the game of implementation works. To do this, it is helpful to:

  • (Somewhat) understand how power works

  • Understand the interests of the other person

  • Master style in addition to substance

As annoying as it is, being right does not equal getting your way. Because of that, we see that many specialists get completely stuck in "political games". This is understandable, but they are still being played for the time being.

Sometimes it can be as simple as ''if you can't beat them, join them...''


Want to learn more about what we have learned about increasing your influence from former FBI agents?

One of the most highly rated learning modules in our transformation programs is Learning to Negotiate Like an FBI Agent! This module was developed in collaboration with, among others, former FBI agents and combines their practical experience with insights from the literature. It holds quite a few surprising outcomes. For example, just about everything you see in the movies is the opposite of what you should do. Interested? Feel free to send us a message!

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